COVID-19 PANDEMIC: A CASE OF HUMAN RIGHTS UNDER LOCKDOWNS
COVID-19 PANDEMIC: A CASE OF HUMAN RIGHTS UNDER LOCKDOWNS by John Oluwafemi OLLA
We have to align ourself with the reality that our human right is legitimately threatened by the cased of coronavirus giving some leaders around the world the privilege to violate the right of their citizens under the guise of coronavirus necessity.
At this is time of pandemic, most citizens in African countries are experiencing brutality in the hand of their law enforcers armed up with the same tax payers’ money, these law enforcers are not actually take action on their own but the authority given to them by democratically elected political office holders to enforce the partial or total lock-down.
One question that must be asked “do we have to forget our fundamental human rights all because of this pandemic call Corona virus?
In Nigeria, there has been reported cases where police actually perform beyond the order they were given by brutalizing the Citizens of Nigeria; children are maltreated, even Media personnel were not spared in this spree of brutality. There were several cases of Media personnel being beaten while doing their job, while some experience theirs while going to their place of work. One salient thing here is that, African rulers must set a thin line demarcation between being a dictator and making democracy work at all cost. That cost must not include infringement of human rights of their citizen.
Lock-down in the Western World
Lockdowns are also observed in other part of the world like America, Europe and other parts of the world but the issue of human rights were not violated (although freedom of movement is right that all citizens of the world had willingly subjected to the states for the sake of staying alive) therefore African countries needs to work on to enforcing the law without violating fundamental human right of people.
Developing home-grown solution
As much as I believed that Coronavirus is an urgent matter and an urgent measure must be put in place to actually address the situation but I still believed that Africa leaders must not only adopt solution with critically examine the context of the domain and they must ensure that their solution is home-grown and African in nature. For example, from interviews conducted in Nigeria, the result identified the fact that Nigeria citizens are willing to stay at home, the only clause is that a lot of Nigerians are living by the day they spend from what they earn per day. This is a confirmation that poverty is the highest authority in Nigeria.
Africa as a solution to the problem of Hunger and Poverty
This is virus has given African leaders the overwhelming reasons to solve the problem of Hunger and poverty. If SDGs is going to be achieved in Africa, leaders must work to solve these first two (2) goals of the sustainable development goal. We need to look both inward and outward and develop platform that can give room for agriculture to thrive as this is the only viable way of producing what we consume and as well eradicate poverty. Africa, especially Nigeria can lead the way in ensuring Food Security in Africa and around the world.
Effect of Poverty and Hunger
The major function of any government is to protect lives and Property and if these are not a place, it could only mean one thing; failure on their primary assignment. Presently under the lock-down, a lot of crimes and violence are taking place because a lot of people were unable to go to their place of work and this has contributed to a drastic increase in the amount of insecurity in Nigeria as a country. Most of the crimes are not high profile cases but most prevalent cases now are case of money robbery and this is as a result of hunger and inability to earn a living as usual.
Human Rights under lock-downs
African leaders needs to understand that part of the right of human being is their right to earn a living by locking them down in their homes, their livelihood and means of earning a living has been locked down as well and therefore it is paramount that the government provide for their needs in as much their rights fundamental right to movement has been denied and their livelihood has been put on the hold, government needs to provide for the needs of the people, ofcourse, this is the norm in other saner climes like America, Europe and other parts of the world, so the African leaders needs to learn from all these leading countries and provide for their citizens to whom the order of stay at home was locked down into their hope without hope of getting what to keep soul and body.
Coronavirus does not discriminate but his impact is general in nature. It impacts both the rich and the poor but the greater fear of the poor lies in how they are going to survive the Hunger Virus. It is important that government provide palliatives before infect the people with what referred to as Hunger Virus which the government call Lock-down order.
Freeing Accountability from lock-downs
As much as the government is trying to provide for the needs of people, one fundamental thing that government must ensure while fulfilling are obligations to her people is accountability and transparency. Donations are often purpose based the same applies to that of donations during COVID-19. Nigeria federal government has received several donations. It is salient to point out that if donations meant for easing people’s pain as a result for lock-down is used for any other purpose; there is no better definition for corruption than that. To ensure good governance; Transparency and Accountability are both major ingredients that will enable the citizens to truth the government.
Government needs to understand that the virus is actually the threat not the people and the government should not go about treating the people worse than the way the virus would have treated them.
The Federal Government of Nigeria needs to understand that the people are the one they should protect and not the virus and if they must protect the people from the virus the government should need to provide the people with something that will keep them alive before they actually contract the virus itself.
The government must protect the people against the virus and not the virus against the people and therefore we need to do all that is necessary to make the people happy and to keep them healthy in order to be able to fight this invisible war. This is one of the fundamental human right of the we need to understand that under these lockdown people still have their rights.
It will be the greatest disaster if after this Coronavirus pandemic, Nigeria still continues in our downward slope in planning, organization, implementation, accountabilities, transparency, citizen engagement etc. because this virus has exposed our areas of incompetence. For example, it is clear that Nigeria does not have credible data that can drive development as well as accountability as so many sectors of the economy are dire need of intervention. The like of credible data, lack of workable solutions in terms of health, education, agriculture, maybe it’s time the government see deployment of ICT in all sectors as a new norm.
Team Lead: Act Hub Africa
Accountapreneur with Accountability Lab Nigeria