Nigeria Police

Some lawyers in Lagos on Monday called on the authorities to expand security arrangements to protect the people against attacks by hoodlums taking advantage of the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

The legal practitioners, including Chris Ayiyi, Okechuckwu Nna and Bayo Akinlade, spoke in separate interviews against the backdrop of increasing cases of lockdown related attacks on the people.

They charged agencies responsible for distribution of palliatives to the public to ensure fair distribution, particularly to the most vulnerable and needy members.

Akinlade, who is the Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikorodu chapter, said that the justice system should be reactivated to deal with disputes arising within communities during this period.

He said that the situation in some parts of Lagos had made it obvious that insecurity might claim more lives than coronavirus pandemic if not addressed quickly.

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“I suggest we put more faith in our community leaders to liaise with the police within the community to ensure the safety of lives and property through dialogue and other support structures.

“If we do not consider unique measures, we are setting the state up for a mob reaction to lack of food, ability to earn and support themselves,” Akinlade said.

Similarly, Ayiyi urged the security operatives to do more to curb the activities of the hoodlums who were dispossessing Lagos residents of their possessions.

“The hoodlums enter people’s homes to harass them, steal some electronic gadgets and sell at cheaper rates to make money.

“More policemen should be deployed to fight these hoodlums.

“The stay-at-home order should also be reviewed because if extended without proper distribution of palliatives it would be dangerous.

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“If the way we received stay at home message is used to credit our accounts for at least N3,000 per day, hoodlums will not take to the streets,” Ayiyi said.

For Nna, proper palliatives should be provided and evenly distributed to the people during the lockdown.

“The hoodlums are attacking the citizens as a result of the fall out of government inefficiency to regulate the stay-at-home order.

“Also without increased, commensurate and genuine palliatives from the government, it might be difficult to keep Nigerians at home or stop the activities of the hoodlums,” Nna said.

Nna added that the government should be more decisive in handling the issue of stay-at-home order to ensure that COVID-19 was totally contained.

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He said that the stay-at-home order should be extended and made nationwide to avoid inter-state travelling and infiltration from epicentre states into coronavirus-free states.

President Muhammadu Buhari in a nationwide broadcast extended the lockdown imposed on March 31, by another two weeks.

He also announced that the palliative for the poor and vulnerable would be sustained and extended to an additional one million poor households to the existing net.