Assessment of COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown and Problems of Security Agents' Brutality in Southeastern Nigeria

Assessment of COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown and Problems of Security Agents' Brutality in Southeastern Nigeria

Author: 
Ugwu , Chukwuka E.
Place: 
London
Publisher: 
Adonis & Abbey Publishers
Date published: 
2021
Record type: 
Responsibility: 
Ikeanyibe , Okechukwu Marcellus, jt. author
Edwin , Izueke, jt. author
Attama , Paulinus I. , jt. author
Journal Title: 
African Renaissance
Source: 
African Renaissance, Vol. 18, No. 3, 2021, pp. 11–35
Abstract: 

The emergence of COVID-19 pandemic and the Nigerian state's attempt to enforce lockdown to prevent further spread of the virus using the security agents exposed citizens to brutalisation. This study was conducted to determine the lawfulness, necessity and proportionality of the security agents' intervention in the enforcement of lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic in southeastern Nigeria. The main objective of the study was to determine the human rights violations and health problems experienced by citizens at the hands of security agents. The study utilised a descriptive cross-sectional online survey poll. Data were collected using a structured interview-questionnaire and analysed with the aid of STATA 12.1 software. The analysis utilised descriptive and inferential statistics with a level of significance of 5%. The results of the study showed that a total of 600 respondents participated in the survey with a mean age of 32.3±4.6 years with 408(68%) being males. Further results indicated that, on lawfulness and necessity of security agents' involvement in the enforcement of lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic containment, 482(94.5%) reported that it was lawful and necessary. On proportionality of the use of force, 449(74.8%) reported not proportional. Reported human rights violations by security agents included unjustifiable arrest and detention 275(53.9%), seizure/confiscation of properties 464(77.4%), briberies and extortion 470 (78.4%), sexual molestation 217(36.2%) and tear-gassing of human gatherings 194(32.4%). There was an association between security agents' arbitrary detention and health challenges of victims. Reported health challenges were: paralysis (94.6%), arthritis (85.7%) and mental health challenges (86.2%). Significant associations were established in in-the-cell fight with injury (p<0.01) and paralysis (p<0.04). Similar significant associations were established between the use of tear-gas and chest-tightness (p<0.02) and choking sensation/shortness of breath (p<0.04). The use of pernicious force by the security agents in the COVID-19 lockdown control was excessive. The paper recommended that efforts should be made by the government of Nigeria and stakeholders to apply least intrusive means of public health management such as social marketing, education and facilitation engagement.

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CITATION: Ugwu , Chukwuka E.. Assessment of COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown and Problems of Security Agents' Brutality in Southeastern Nigeria . London : Adonis & Abbey Publishers , 2021. African Renaissance, Vol. 18, No. 3, 2021, pp. 11–35 - Available at: http://library.au.int/assessment-covid-19-pandemic-lockdown-and-problems-security-agents-brutality-southeastern-nigeria