By CHIMA NWAFOR
Members of the Lagos State Task Force on COVID-19 with armed policemen have been indiscriminately arresting people on the streets and homes in high-density areas since the law took effect Monday, July 6, according to reports reaching News Express.
While a caller from Igando said that they are arresting people mainly in the market area and bus-stops, throwing victims into the Black Maria, the caller from Idiagbon in Ijaiye area of Ogba paints a picture of harassment and abuse of the law.
According to our source, the densely populated neighbourhood witnessed an invasion of the street from about 10.30 am to 1 pm Tuesday by the Task Force with four pick-up vans and a Black Maria bus, which broke down with the unfortunate victims inside.
“People who were coming out from their residents were being arrested for not wearing face masks; children on errand and adults who stepped out to neighbouring houses to buy their breakfast found themselves in the iron grips of the Nigerian police,” the source said.
Our source cited an ugly scenario where a young girl of about 12 years, who on hearing the noise and pon pon beeping from the police van came out to their balcony; and was chased by two-armed policemen into the one-storey building, with a police officer yelling, “You’re not wearing your face mask!”
The enforcement officers allegedly climbed up and began banging on doors and screaming threats, unless the small girl was fished out until the elderly landlord came out and intervened.
Some viral video clips on the social media show the Task Force in some areas of Lagos where people are also harassed and bundled into the Black Maria like common criminals.
In one of the videos, a pregnant woman had to wee wee in her pants as men of the Task Force tried to forcibly push her into the waiting Black Maria.
News Express made efforts to reach the Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, RT Hon Obasa, the authority which made the law on wearing of facemasks, but his phone rang out.
In response to a message on the issue sent to the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 2 which takes charge of Lagos and Ogun states, AIG Ahmed Ilyasu, told News Express:
“Noted pls actioned.”
•AIG Ahmed Ilyasu