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Rights group bemoans Covid-19 lockdown casualty toll

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NIGERIA’S National Human Rights Commission says, police crackdown has killed 18 people in two weeks, more than the 12 deaths so far recorded from COVID-19 pandemic.

The warning came following reports of police brutality while enforcing coronavirus lockdowns in several African countries, a situation that has actually killed more people than the virus itself.

According to its report, there are a good number of such incidents in Nigeria, “although you won’t read about it on the front pages of the dailies.”

Critiquing suppressed media reportage of the situation, it flays today’s Daily Trust report, “the paper does say that security forces have taken over the streets in Kano, the latest state in the country to enter lockdown.

It is actually the paper’s cartoon that sends a much clearer message about the violence. We see the virus puzzled by and angered over the dead bodies lying in the streets. “Obviously we’re facing competition from security agents,” it says.

In another vein, it stated that in South Africa, the Sowetan has a front-page message for security forces there which clearly reads, “Stop the brutality.” The paper talks about a “reign of terror” mostly taking place in townships.

It applauded the Sowetan reporter for being able to speak to victims’ family members and victims themselves, including one man who was shot in the leg for leaving his house to go to the outdoor toilet.

Citing Washington Post, it says, there are horrific stories coming out of Kenya as well. “A pregnant woman died along with her unborn baby when she went into labour during an overnight curfew. Her midwife was too afraid to break curfew to come and her neighbours were too scared to drive her to the hospital. By the time she got there in the morning it was too late.” The report says.

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