COVID-19: Rivers Lock Down Human Rights Report
Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC) has been monitoring Human Rights Violations within the periods of the corona virus disease (COVID-19) in the Niger Delta. Advocacy Centre does this through its network of One Million Youth Volunteers Network of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters in the Niger Delta launched in 2019. Our general reports from other parts of the Niger Delta are published along side others by our partners on Free Civic Space in Nigeria on the website www.closingspaces.org. Below are briefs on the Rivers State lock down.
RIVERS LOCK DOWN: DAY ONE
As the Rivers State total lock down of Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt City Local Government Areas began today, May 7, 2020; Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre’s (YEAC) team under the auspices of One Million Youth Volunteers Network of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters in the Niger Delta, Rivers State Chapter is monitoring developments across the affected areas in particular and across the State while other members of the team continue monitoring and reporting from across the Niger Delta region.
Day One of the #RiversLockDown in the affected areas, over 200 persons were reportedly arrested as also aired on radio with 20 vehicles confiscated for violating the lock down orders. The arrested persons have been scheduled to be charged to court while the Governor had ordered that the vehicles be auctioned to young people in the State who does not have cars. Meanwhile, our Volunteers are reporting from Gokana Local Government Area that two youths from Bodo community who became hungry following the stay at home order earlier put in place and subsisting in the area over #COVID-19 went fishing and got drowned yesterday, May 6.
#RIVERSLOCKDOWN: DAY 2 EXPECTATIONS!
Today, May 8, 2020 is day two of the indefinite lock down of Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt City LGAs as part of measures to “stop the spread of #COVID-19″ in Rivers State. Day 1 ended with the arrest of 214 persons (including the 14 later arrested in two trucks with unspecified number of Cows at Rumuigbo area); impounding of 22 vehicles and pardon of a pregnant woman by Governor Nyesom Wike on ‘compassionate grounds’ for violating lock down orders.
Our expectations today is that the Governor briefs the State or issues a statement before 3PM on the resolution of the Emergency State Security Council Meeting that he summoned by 3PM yesterday after he said a Deputy Commissioner of Police challenged his powers by ‘unlocking’ the State he locked down by granting “illegal movement permits” and that there cannot be two Governors in Rivers State.
The new information expected from Government House today is likely going to shape the direction of the lock down, warn members of the public, talk about Police/Federal sabotage of the fight against #COVID-19 in the State as well as what would further happen to the cars and cows already set aside for auctioning. We also expect more people to be arrested today but the number of arrested persons would likely drop from that of yesterday. Those arrested yesterday (Advocacy Centre hopes they were kept at Delta Hotels like Caverton Helicopters and ExxonMobil Staff) are expected to be tried today and likely granted bail. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, continue monitoring and reporting both lock down and human rights violations while those who want to buy the confiscated vehicles and cows from Rivers State Government prepare money that they kept at home as banks are locked down! Updates on these issues would be available in our next report of May 9, 2020