The House of Representatives yesterday condemned the abuse of the fundamental rights, especially brutalisation, extortion and killing of innocent Nigerians by security operatives in the guise of enforcing the COVID-19 lockdown directives across the country.

Adopting a motion jointly sponsored by Nkeiruka Onyejeocha and Dachung Musa Bagos at plenary presided by Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, the House urged President Muhammad Buhari to direct heads of security agencies indicted in the act to be prosecuted.

The lawmakers mandated the committees on Police Affairs, Defence, Interior and Human Rights to investigate the abuses and killings and ensure the implementation of its resolution.

Onyegeocha, who is House Deputy Whip, claimed that Abia State was one of the states at the receiving end of rights abuses by security personnel responsible for the untimely deaths of 18 persons in Abia, Delta, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Katsina and Niger states.

“Apart from the killings, extortions and brutalisation, security operatives have assaulted innocent Nigerians in the name of enforcing COVID-19 lockdown directives, as evident in the case of one Tola Azeez who was assaulted by Inspector Ikuesan Taiwo and Constable Abass Ibrahim at Iwo, Osun State last month,” she said.

Besides, the House resolved to sue the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) over allegation of $10 million bribe to pass the Infectious Disease Control Bill.

Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, who raised the issue under matters of personal explanation at the plenary presided by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, preempted the matter on the floor of the House.

The House thereby constituted an Ad-hoc committee led by Henry Nwauba to investigate the matter the issue with a view to ascertaining the veracity of the claim.

Also, about 41 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have cautioned warned the House of Representatives against the passage of the Control Infectious Diseases Act (CIDA) Bill without consultation and inputs from relevant stakeholders and members of the public.

The coalition said the attempt by the national assembly to give accelerated passage to such critical legislation runs contrary to the principles of effective and inclusive lawmaking.

This was contained in a statement issued by the Centre for Democracy and Development, Amnesty International (AI), Yiaga Africa, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, International Press Centre (IPC) and Global Rights, among others.

They noted that the bill was a threat to human rights, an abuse of power devoid of clarity and may trigger inter-agency conflicts and jurisdictional rivalries.

Action Group on Free Civic Space has urged the House of Representatives to review the CIDA Bill, which it passed recently.

The bill was considered a strategic legal framework for repositioning and strengthening the national disease control body and health officials to prevent and manage infectious diseases, such as COVID-19.

Having extensively examined provisions of the draft bill, the civil society group, in a statement jointly signed by Victoria Ohaeri (Spaces For Change), Emmanuel Acha (Youth Forum for Social Change), Okechukwu Nwanguma (Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre), among others, requested immediate adjustment.


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