By Oluwafunke Ishola
An NGO, African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development (Centre LSD), says it will collaborate with the National Assembly, to formulate a bill that will enable security agencies to effectively manage national health emergencies.
Mr Itia Otabor, Director of Strategy, Centre LSD, disclosed this during a Citizen’s Forum on ‘Strengthening Pan-African Citizens Voices for Security Sector Accountability (SPaCVOSSA)’ on Thursday in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Centre LSD with support from TrustAfrica under its Governance Programme, initiated the SPaCVOSSA project.
The project which would be conducted in four African countries namely: Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Kenya; would seek to analyse how citizens were affected by activities of security services during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Otabor, who is also the Project Coordinator, SPaCVOSSA, said that the project would look at the modalities and constraints of security forces during the implementation of the COVID-19 lockdown.
He said that the COVID-19 pandemic raised a lot of challenges that affected different aspects of lives of citizens across the globe, including Africa.
“At least 42 African governments implemented partial or full lockdown measures and movement restrictions, to contain the spread of the disease following recommendations by local health experts and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“In Nigeria, the approach was supported and reinforced by a high-level securitisation by the Nigerian security forces,” he said.
Otabor said that there were lots of alleged cases of human rights violations and outcry of citizens against high-handedness of security agencies during the COVID-19 lockdown.
According to him, Centre LSD in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) was engaging citizens and security agencies on how security measures could be effectively implemented with minimal encroachment on the rights of citizens.
He said that the outcome of the engagement would enable Centre LSD push for institutionalisation of the findings as a bill to serve as the country’s protocol in dealing with national health emergencies.
“We also hope that it will help to reshape the security architecture in dealing with future pandemics and other national emergencies,” he said.
He added that the project would also strengthen citizens’ voices and make security agencies to be accountable for their actions, during national health emergencies.
Also, Mr Waheed Ishola, State Director, NOA, said that the forum was not to cast aspersions on stakeholders or security agencies, but to strengthen harmonious relationships.
Ishola said that harmonious relationships between citizens and security agencies would engender trust and promote citizens’ wellbeing.
He advised security agencies to restrategise and overhaul their communication channels to be more responsive to breed trust.
Also, the Commissioner for Police in Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu, said that the forum would assist the police to effectively respond to future pandemic and other crises.
Odumosu, represented by the ACP in charge of Operations, Oladotun Odubona, said that the police faced challenges during COVID-19 palliative distribution, and escorting vaccines to various locations.
He said that the police were working assiduously to surmount the challenges and would also enforce all COVID-19 protocols to reduce the spread of the virus and safeguard the citizens.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health,Prof. Akin Abayomi, in his comment said that the outcome of the forum would form a template for the state’s response to future pandemic.
Abayomi was represented by Mr Oluwatoyin Tiamiyu, a director in the ministry. (NAN) (nannews.ng)