The Executive Director of Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), Mr Okechukwu Nwanguma said: “I have read several of the statements and updates issued by the Force PRO and Lagos State Police PRO giving directives to police officers on modalities for the enforcement of the state and federal governments’ directives ordering lockdown of the FCT, Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states as part of measures put in place to curtail the further spread of COVID-19.
Some of these include instructions not to abuse the rights of citizens and we’ve seen one example where the IGP ordered the arrest and investigation of some police officers caught on video engaging in needless violent acts in the pretext of enforcing the lockdown order.
However, we haven’t seen much of plans or arrangements to protect the police officers and their families from the vulnerabilities of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the course of enforcing the law, police officers come physically in contact with people and they are thus prone to getting infected if they come in contact with infected persons who may be persons in suspected crime scenes or people who come or are brought to police stations or even persons in custody.
Law enforcement officers are also entitled and deserve to be protected. They should be provided with protection kits to interact with people who run afoul of the law.