Lockdown directives, hand washing campaigns and mandatory use of facemasks in public spaces are some of the efforts the Nigerian governments applied in an attempt to flatten the curve of the transmission rate of COVID-19. In spite of this, there have been a regular increase in the number of confirmed cases and deaths, signifying a rise in community level transmission as most individuals have refused observing precautionary measures towards preventing the disease. This article aims to illuminate the study carried out by CLEEN Foundation in the South Eastern part of the country on the level of adherence to the government orders towards curbing the spread of COVID-19.
SOUTH-EAST CASE PATIENT ANALYSIS
An analysis of persons infected with COVID-19 in the South-East geopolitical zone as of 30 June 2020, shows 310 confirmed cases, 207 Discharged and 3 deaths in Abia state. Enugu State documented 261 confirmed cases, 73 discharged and deaths. 73 confirmed cases, 53 discharged and 9 deaths were recorded in Anambra State. Ebonyi State documented 438 confirmed cases, 357 discharged and 3 deaths while 332 confirmed cases, 40 discharged and 6 deaths were recorded in Imo State. Cumulatively, the record reveal 1,414 confirmed cases, 677 discharged and 18 deaths.
CONDUCTS OF SECURITY FORCES IN ENSURING ADHERENCE TO GOVERNMENTS ORDER IN THE SOUTH EAST REGION
A total of 12 reported cases of deaths were confirmed during the period of lock down, with Abia State accounting for 6 deaths, 4 deaths in Anambra, 2 deaths in Imo state. Though public outcry has brought the incident to limelight, but as at the time of writing the officers involved have not been brought to book.
Reports from drivers and road users over cases of bribery and extortion by security officials rapidly increased during the lock down, all of which were noted by the CLEEN Foundation observers.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) throughout the COVID-19 lockdown critically observed various forms of human rights abuse which was later made available to the public. In the South-East zone, Enugu State had 13 reported cases of human right violation which was the highest on the record, Imo State was the next with a total 12 reported cases.
LEVEL OF ADHERENCE TO GOVERNMENT ORDERS BY INHABITANTS OF THE SOUTH-EASTERN REGION
Stay at Home Order
Observers of CLEEN Foundation noted partial compliance with the stay at home order by the members of the public leading to states including a curfew time to keep human movement in check. Crippling economic effect, poverty and pressure from religious bodies were few of the reasons the Stay at Home order was lifted despite increasing number of confirmed cases.
Physical Distancing and Face Masks
Lethargy by public on the issue of physical distancing and the use of facemasks were reported by observers even at busy spots like banks, worship centres and markets. People were observed to only use the face mask where there are security officials to avoid being reprimanded.
Prior to lifting of the Stay at Home order, reasonable level of compliance to the order on social gatherings was noted, though there were few reported cases of non-compliance and people involved were punished by the law. Following the Stay at Home order being lifted there have been several social gatherings and rule on social distancing and use of face mask were reported to be ignored.
Ban on inter-state movement were reported to be disregarded majorly due to economic reasons which led to an upsurge in the number of confirmed cases in commercial cities within the region.
INCIDENTS OF SOCIAL VICES
An increase in reported cases of domestic and sexual violence was observed during the period, though most of the offenders are yet to be prosecuted. Armed robbery, kidnapping and murder were some of the immoralities that reported a rise during the lockdown period.
Reorientation of security forces on the enforcement of violence on civilians, provision of hotlines to make reporting cases of sexual and domestic violence easy, continuous sensitization of public on COVID-19, Provision of Protective wears for security officials and prioritization of public security in the region were part of the suggestions provided by the foundation.