The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN), has condemned the killing of a 28-year old man, Joseph Pessu, in Delta State for allegedly violating a lockdown order.

The state government had previously ordered a shutdown of social and economic activities in the state, effective Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in a bid to slow down and contain the spread of coronavirus that is ravaging the country and the rest of the world.

Pessu was allegedly shot and killed by a soldier in Warri early on Thursday, April 2 while he was driving along the Ugbuwangue axis of the NPA Expressway.

A report by The Nation said the deceased was flagged down by a team of security operatives but he refused to stop for proper identification. After a chase by officers, he was shot dead.

Joseph Pessu [Daily Trust]
Joseph Pessu [Daily Trust]

In a statement on Thursday, Keyamo, who's from Delta, condemned the killing as well as other reports of high-handedness by security personnel in the enforcement of the lockdown.

"I unreservedly condemn this barbaric act by men of the armed forces who should exercise restraint when dealing with the civilian populace," he said.

Keyamo, a human rights activist, said he'll forward a petition to relevant authorities to thoroughly investigate the incident and bring the offending officer(s) to book.

"In the interim, let us not take the laws into our hands, please. I will also use this medium to sincerely appeal to my brothers and sisters in Delta State to be law-abiding and obey the orders of restrictions imposed by both the Delta State Government and the Federal Government.

"They are lawful orders and they are for our own good," he appealed.

The Delta State government has also called for an immediate investigation of the incident, and sent a delegation to the deceased's family.

"Military authorities have also been contacted to carry out an immediate and thorough investigation into the killing," an official statement read.

Nigeria has recorded a total of 174 coronavirus cases in 12 states and the Federal Capital Territory, as of April 1, but Delta is not currently affected.

The state's lockdown order is a precautionary measure, according to the government.