SERAP to provide legal aid to victims of COVID-19 human rights violation

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP says it plans to assist in taking legal action against human rights violations linked to COVID-19 lockdown. 

Most states of the federation on lockdown has witnessed an increase in brutality on citizens by security agents and the taskforce enforcing the lockdown.

In some states, there have been recorded cases of death resulting from the shooting of unarmed civilians.

There have also been issues of extortion within the states and at different borders.

Speaking on the development, the SERAP deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare said they are compiling such cases and will soon commence legal action against the perpetrators, who mainly are state actors. 

According to him, a major reason why people violate the lockdown directive is that they need to survive.

“We have the government who decided to shut down the system without making adequate provisions for how the people will survive. When you tell an average motor mechanic or vulcanizer to stay at home for two weeks without going out, the question is, how will he get what he and his family will eat for two weeks?” he asked.

Oluwadare explained that the legal aid is to ensure that those who cannot fend for themselves, are not denied justice.

“We have offered to take up the case of anyone whose rights have been infringed upon in Nigeria, free of charge, as long as the citizen comes forward. The right fend for themselves is what we are protecting and of course, that is allied to them not being harassed by the security agents enforcing the lockdown,” the SERAP Deputy Director pointed out.

He encouraged victims not to die in silence but to report such cases for onward legal assistance. 

On the use of TV and radio to teach students amid coronavirus school closure, the SERAP deputy director said such measures are not enough. 

Some state governments have introduced the use of TV to teach students at home shortly after the lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

Others had even launched a Learn-At-Home Media Program for students. 

The TV and Radio programs were to prepare the students for their external exams. 

But according to Oluwadare, issues around epileptic power supply and lack of other essential logistics make the initiative unproductive.

In his words, “In a lockdown, children at home need the power to watch all the teaching programmes on TV. Even online learning programmes on phones need power for phones to be charged. How many households have electricity supply the way they should? How many parents can afford to buy fuel to power their generators in the afternoon so their children can watch these things? These are systemic failures in the country that makes most initiatives unrealistic,” he added.

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