LOCKDOWN: Police brutality threat to global order

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The world was touched by the death of George Floyd, a black American died on May 20 while a police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck for over 8 minutes, while Floyd kept say he couldn’t breathe because of the pressure. His death sparked angry protests first in Minneapolis, then to other parts of the US. Within few weeks, “Black Life Matters” solidarity protest spread across the world.

In Nigeria, there have been series of police brutality especially perpetrated by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force. According to a survey conducted early this year by NOIPolls, 40% of Nigerian reported that they have either been brutalized by the Nigeria police or know someone who has been brutalized.

The survey was conducted after the death of a Remo Stars Football Clubs’s player, Tiyamu Kazeem. He was allegedly killed when police officers fired gunshots at him.

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As the world authorities tried to contain the spread of the covid-19 various countries adopted various measures to contain the spread. The common measure is the restriction of movement and gathering. However, considering the inconveniences the restrictions caused, police in most countries had to impose movement restrictions. The operations of most police have increased state brutality during this pandemic.

Officers of the Nigerian Army in Lagos state, during the lockdown apprehended over 50 Lagosians involved in street work-out, for violating the lockdown order imposed by the Federal Government. The culprits were made to squat for several hours and detained before they were arraigned before a mobile court.

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In Kenya, while enforcing a covid-19 curfew in Nairobi, police bullet hit and killed a 13-year old boy, Yasin Moyo, on his balcony as the police moved across the neighborhood. According to the father of Yasin, Hussein Moyo said “They come in screaming and beating us like cows, and we are law-abiding citizens.”

Recently, police fired teargas at ferry commuters in Mombasa, causing hundreds of people crowded together to cough and wipe tears from their eyes. Officers were also filmed hitting people with batons.

Elsewhere in India, people accused of breaking quarantine rules were made to do squats while chanting: “We are enemies of society. We cannot sit at home.” A similar occurrence also happened in Paraguay where restriction rule violators were forced to do star jumps and are threatened with weapons.

In the Philippines, violators were locked in dogs’ cages for hours while others were made to sit in the scorching sun for hours as punishment.

But United Nations human rights experts urged countries to ensure their responses by to the pandemic were “proportionate, necessary and non-discriminatory”.

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