The Nigeria police would commence screening of criminal suspects for possible traits of coronavirus before sending them into detention, police chief Muhammad Adamu said on Sunday.
Consequently, only hardened criminal suspects would now be recommended for detention in police cells across the country.
The police chief directed that “adequate measures be emplaced to screen persons to be committed into police custody,” police spokesperson Frank Mba said in a statement Sunday evening. “He reiterates that detention of suspects must be reduced to the barest minimum and that only very serious cases such as terrorism, armed robbery, homicide and other non-bailable offences should warrant detention.”
Mr Adamu also said all police colleges and other training facilities have been closed in compliance with federal directive on closure of all public schools.
The directive comes as Nigeria faces an increasing number of COVID-19 infections alongside other countries across the world.
Governments at all levels have been imposing a wide array of measures aimed at slowing down the spread of the highly contagious disease, with the police as the first law enforcement authority saddled with enforcement.
Social distancing, which involves staying home, avoiding large gatherings and abstaining from touching one another, has been strongly recommended towards tacking the virus.
Mr Adamu said the police would enforce existing government advisory and observe all public safety guidelines as enumerated by health institutions and experts across the world.