Nigeria charges scores over virus lockdown unrest

2020-04-18 14:45

Nigerian authorities have laid charges including murder, robbery and street violence against 142 people over unrest during the coronavirus lockdown, police said on Friday.

The suspects were arraigned at a magistrate court on Thursday for alleged incidents in Ogun state, which abuts the country's economic hub, Lagos.

"They were 142 in number and were accused of murder, robbery, illegal possession of arms and disturbance of public peace," police spokesperson Abimbola Oyeyemi told AFP.

He said the accused had terrorised residents and motorists by robbing them at gunpoint.

Oyeyemi accused the suspects of belonging to illegal street gangs.

"They have also disobeyed the lockdown order of the government by moving about without authorisation," he said.

He said the suspects had been remanded in police custody pending another hearing.

Nigeria has imposed a total lockdown in megacity Lagos, Ogun and the capital Abuja and set restrictions in other regions in a bid to contain the virus.

There have been growing fears of a rise in crime and unrest as the measures have cut millions of people living in poverty off from vital income.

In recent days, inhabitants in a string of districts across Lagos and Ogun have taken to the streets to defend themselves after reports swirled over a spate of attacks.

According to Nigeria's official figures, the coronavirus has infected 442 people, 13 of them fatally.

Nigeria's human rights commission said in a report on Wednesday that security forces around the country had killed 18 people in their enforcement of restrictions against the pandemic.

Read more on:    nigeria  |  west africa  |  coronavirus
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