By Chimezie Godfrey
CLEEN Foundation has launched the COVID-19 Public Safety Support Virtual Centre (COVID-PSSC), in order to provide real-time public safety and security information to Nigerians.
According to the Executive Director, Benson Olugbuo, the COVID-PSSC, which was launched on Wednesday in Abuja is the electronic platform using Tella Application, which will be deployed for reporting compliance by citizens of government directives and rights violations by security personnel.
Olugbuo explained that state coordinators and volunteers of COVID-19 Nigeria Security Support Group (CNSSG), will report conditions and needs of vulnerable groups and communities in the society to aid health and security officials and other critical stakeholders in responding effectively to the management of COVID-19 pandemic and related issues in Nigeria.
“We commend the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for its timely dissemination of useful information and indeed numerous corporate organizations and individuals who have contributed funds and other resources to fight COVID-19 in Nigeria.
“CLEEN Foundation also appreciates the efforts of the Nigeria Police Force and other security personnel in enforcing government’s stay-at-home directives to stop the spread of the disease.
“However, we are very concerned with reports showing some personnel of the Nigeria Police destroying businesses of some citizens around the Ikorodu axis of Lagos State who flouted the government’s directives on COVID-19 in the state.
“We call on personnel of the Nigeria Police Force and other security personnel deployed to monitor and enforce compliance of government directives to work within the provisions of the Nigerian constitution and rules of engagement in policing vulnerable groups and communities during this difficult period,” he said.
He said that all Nigerians should be reminded that the task to end COVID-19 is the responsibility of all, adding that CLEEN will continue to work with key stakeholders in observing these responses and the conduct of security actors to ensure responsible policing of the global pandemic.
He noted,” In the light of our concerns and findings on COVID-19 in Nigeria, we make the following recommendations. Federal and State Governments should ensure adequate financial, human and logistic support in the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria through adequate resourcing of testing, isolation and treatment centres.
“Ensure adequate protection for health and security officials especially those at the front lines.
“Embark on massive public enlightenment programs to create awareness of the pandemic in both rural and urban areas and in the major local languages.
“Institute palliative measures to cushion the effect of the pandemic and the resultant effects of the lock-down on households.
“Ensure public buildings have hand-washing bowls and hand sanitizers to curb the transmission of the virus
“Ensure transparency and accountability in the disbursement of funds donated by corporate organizations and philanthropic individuals
“Government’s media regulatory bodies should monitor and apply appropriate sanctions against erring media practitioners and organisations who engage in fake news, misinformation and disinformation.
“State Government of less affected states should put in place stronger preventive measures to curtail the spread of the virus in their various states,” he stated.
Olugbuo said that security agencies and oversight bodies should be professional, in enforcing the government’s orders on lock-down and they should minimise the use of force in securing compliance.
He added they should work with community policing outfits where applicable to engender communal trust in raising awareness and enforcing government’s directives.
“Oversight bodies of the security agencies should monitor the conduct of security personnel during this pandemic and should commit to applying appropriate sanctions in the event of any rights violations.
“The Media should continue with adequate and balanced reporting of the efforts of the government and citizens in the fight against COVID-19 and they should avoid sensationalism.
“Be professional in their conduct and comply with their codes of conduct for transparent media coverage and should avoid fake news, misinformation and disinformation,” he said.
He encouraged Nigerians to comply with all NCDC, WHO and Federal Government’s preventive measures to check the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The CLEEN Executive Director also urged the citizens to observe the government’s directive to stay at home as part of their civic responsibility to curb the spread of the disease in an orderly and peaceful manner.
“Self-isolate if they have embarked on travels in the last 14 days to high-risk countries of the pandemicc) Report any possible case of suspected COVID-19 to NCDC via toll-free line (080097000010).
“Report rights violations by security personnel to the Police Complaints Response Unit, the Police Service Commission and the National Human Rights Commission.
“For more updates on our COVID-19 Public Safety and Security Support Centre and how to become a member of the COVID-19 Nigeria Security Support Group, please follow us on our social media platforms with Hashtag #PSSDCOVID19 or COVID19NSSG, @cleenfoundation on Twitter and Follow us on our Facebook page CLEEN Foundation,” he advised.