Nigerian soldiers in northern Nasarawa state allegedly flogged an elderly food trader to death last week after she was caught violating lockdown measures imposed in response to the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.
The Premium Times reported, citing the CLEEN Foundation, that the incident occurred as the military were patrolling the area, flogging and chasing away traders who had come out to sell their products.
Instead of running away, the woman reportedly stayed, as she said she would die of hunger if she were not allowed to make a living. After refusing to vacate the area, soldiers proceeded to flog her continuously until she dropped dead.
According to CLEEN, the woman became the 36th person in Nigerian to have been murdered by security forces after violating lockdown restrictions. Local law enforcement told the Times they were unaware of the murder, while an army spokesperson did not return their request for comment.
Other human rights organizations, including the country’s National Human Rights Commission, have raised concerns over the widespread extrajudicial killing of citizens at the hands of the military. Last year, a United Nations special rapporteur published a report on extrajudicial killings also alleging that Nigerian security forces have repeatedly excessive lethal force.
Country-wide patterns include police and military excessive use of lethal force in violation of applicable international standards, the lack of effective investigations, the absence of meaningful prosecution, the militarisation of policing – all of which are compounded by the lack of transparency and effective communication strategy over the vast majority of security issues, fuelling further distrust and break down of confidence in the security agencies.
With a population of close to 200 million, Nigeria has so far recorded 12,486 cases of the coronavirus and 354 deaths, well below that of neighboring African countries. Experts say the figures are not particularly reliable due to the poor state of the country’s healthcare system. Many hospital patients have complained of being deprived of food, medicine, and essential care, while doctors have also gone on strike over lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).
In April, a team of Nigerian attorneys also filed a lawsuit against the Chinese communist regime seeking $200 billion in damages for its role in causing and attempting to cover up the ongoing pandemic. They are seeking to bring Beijing to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague.