According to Amnesty International there were over 3,600 cases of rape during the coronavirus pandemic last year. Many states in the country placed restrictions on non-essential activities starting March and started easing them in May in a bid to contain COVID-19 that has infected over 133 million people globally.

The lockdown was noted to have aggravated incidents of gender-based violence and sexual assault, across the world, with women and children the most affected victims.

Amnesty did not elaborate on the over 3,600 rape cases in Nigeria, but quoted ‘official statistics’.

The organisation said in a report, titled Amnesty International Report 2020/21: The State of the World’s Human Rights, published on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 that the pandemic hit those shackled by oppression hardest thanks to decades of inequalities, neglect and abuse.

The human rights watchdog said victims of gender-based and domestic violence faced increased barriers to protection and support due to restrictions on freedom of movement, lack of confidential mechanisms to report violence while isolated with their abusers, and reduced capacity or suspension of services.

“COVID-19 has brutally exposed and deepened inequality across Sub-Saharan Africa. 

“Governments should urgently re-invest in people and ‘repair’ the broken economic and social system which perpetuates poverty and inequality, including leaving too many behind,” Amnesty International’s West and Central Africa Director, Samira Daoud, said.

In its report focusing on Nigeria, Amnesty noted that brutal policing resulted in security forces killing people for protesting for accountability in 2020.

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