In a rather bizarre incident that has sparked outrage in Warri, an oil-rich city in Nigeria's Delta State, three people were killed after local police shot the tyres of a car while chasing the driver of the car for not wearing a face mask.
The development has come just as the Buhari government country geared up to pass a resolution to make not wearing of face mask a criminal offense.
The police were chasing a driver of a white car after they found he was not wearing a face mask, which is now a criminal offense in Nigeria. In their zeal to stop the car, the police officers shot the tyres off the car. The driver of the car lost control and hit another vehicle before mowing down three passersby. The Toyota car then crashed into a side wall at a busy market in Warri.
According to local sources, the driver of the car sustained minor injuries. However, the incident sparked an angry protest among the locals who found the high-handed approach of the police unjustified.
The outraged citizens have asked the government to take stern action against the "illegal" action of the police, local news source Aynaijian reported.
There is an ongoing discussion currently in Nigeria to criminalize the non-use of face mask. The country currently has 22,614 confirmed Coronavirus cases that till now has claimed 549 lives.
According to Dr. Sani Aliyu, the National Coordinator of the Task Force on COVID-19 that is directly answerable to the country's president Muhammadu Buhari, there are serious discussions on criminalizing the non-use of face masks.
"We are now working with the security agencies and state governments to make the use of face masks in the public mandatory.
"There is total non-compliance with the use of face masks and social distancing. It is unfortunate that about 70 per cent of Nigerians still believe that COVID-19 is not an issue," he said reported International Policy Digest.