Year in review: COVID-19, Lekki shootings and the looters


The experience of the year 2020 will remain indelible in the minds of many people around the world and Nigeria is not an exception due to the novice coronavirus pandemic.

In this piece, reports that the COVID-19 pandemic shocked the world and overwhelmed the health systems of even high-income countries.

Nigeria recorded an imported case from Italy on February 27, 202 and the incidence grew steadily, moving from an imported case and elitist pattern to community transmission.

Findings showed that the country recorded an upsurge of 52% of total cases in the transmission of COVID-19 during the short period the lockdown was relaxed.

The World Health Organization (WHO) categorized Nigeria as one of the 13 high-risk African countries with respect to the spread of COVID-19.

The case, which was confirmed on February 27, 2020, was the first to be reported in Nigeria after the outbreak in China in January 2020.

Between March and November, the deadly COVID-19 has sent some notable Nigerians to their graves and everybody is now in panic mode.

The notable Nigeria who died of COVID-19 included the former chief of staff to the president, Abba Kyari, the former governor of Oyo state, Abiola Ajimobi; the senator who represented Lagos East senatorial district, Bayo Osinlowo; and senator Buruji Kashamu.

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On the other hand, the alleged shooting of EndSARS protesters at the Lekki tollgate by soldiers on October 20, also shook the country as conflicting reports emanated from the sad incident.

The Nigerian Army had claimed after the incident that soldiers did not shoot the peaceful Lekki protesters calling for an end to police brutality but the Amnesty International (AI) in its report faulted the claim.

A week after the incident, the Army admitted its soldiers were deployed to restore order but denied they opened fire on the gathered crowd protesting against police brutality.

Amnesty International said that at least 10 protesters were killed in the Lekki plaza shooting on October 20.

The army spokesman, Major Osoba Olaniyi, said soldiers were sent to enforce a curfew, saying that soldiers were deployed on orders from the Lagos state government due to violence which led to several police stations being burnt, policemen killed, suspects in police custody released and weapons carted away.

Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, however, has said the state has no authority over the national army.

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Sanwo-Olu had said:

“It is imperative to explain that no governor controls the rules of engagement of the army. I have nevertheless instructed an investigation into the ordered and the adopted rules of engagement employed by the men of the Nigerian Army deployed to the Lekki tollgate.”

During the year in review, the EndSARS protests which had hitherto been peaceful was later hijacked by mobs who turned to looters.

In Lagos, as the palace of the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akinolu, was attacked and looted, so were the Lagos High Court, Igbosere and retail businesses on the Island and Mainland.

The hoodlums attacked a warehouse where COVID-19 palliatives were kept at Mazamaza community in Amuwo-Odofin local government of the state.

It was gathered that the hoodlums also set a bonfire at a junction not far from the warehouse and later asked residents in the area to move into the warehouse and pick some palliatives.

The branch of Shop Rite in Ilorin, the capital of Kwara state, was not spared either, as hoodlums besieged the store and looted all the items on the shelves.

The miscreants had earlier attacked a warehouse inside the Cargo terminal of Ilorin International Airport where COVID-19 palliatives such as bags of rice, Semovita, and other foodstuff were kept.

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