President of the United Labour Congress of Nigeria, ULC, Joe Ajaero, has said police officers were competing with COVID-19 on who/what will kill more Nigerians.
The labour leader said there was a need for President Muhammadu Buhari to instruct the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, to call his men to order.
Ajaero’s reaction followed several instances and videos of police and other security agents manhandling Nigerians in the name of enforcing the COVID-19 lockdown regulations in some state of the federation, including Abuja.
So far, no fewer than 18 people have been recorded killed by the security agents.
However, lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana(SAN) wrote the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, stating that 21 persons have so far been killed in the first 14 days of the coronavirus lockdown in Nigeria, as against the 18 that was reported.
Meanwhile, Ajaero made his stand known while commiserating with the President over the death of his Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, from coronavirus-related complications.
According to Ajaero, “President Muhammadu Buhari will notice that the security agencies, especially the Police, seem to have engaged in an unhealthy competition with COVID-19 to see who kills Nigerians more.
“Please, instruct the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, to rein in his men to stop the killings all over the nation. It may just be the trigger for social upheaval in our nation, if it continues unabated.
“We urge the President to ensure that all Nigerian workers whether in the private or public sector, are paid their wages and salaries at this period of great distress.
“It is important that the rights of Nigerians are respected to the hilt as battle COVID-19.”
On Kyari’s death, the UCL leader said it has provided an avenue for the nation to reflect on its infrastructure, among others.
In a letter of condolence to President Buhari and the immediate family of late Kyari, he said: “In death, Abba Kyari teaches us as a nation to take a serious look at the various national infrastructure that we have allowed to become decrepit over the years, especially our healthcare delivery system.”
He also spoke on workers’ welfare: “This is why as a nation we must treat our healthcare personnel and those on essential duty fairly.
“It is clear that as we battle COVID-19 pandemic, the people that really matters are the workers who are on the frontline of this battle — the healthcare chain, electricity and energy workers, the food and fruit sellers and those who we erroneously consider inconsequential.
“It has taught us the importance of providing insurance cover for the health workers, electricity and energy workers and, in fact, the journalists who daily keep us informed of the battle while we stay at home.”