Nigerian security agencies
A new report by the United States reveals that terrorists and Nigerian security agencies carried out multiple human right violations and arbitrary killings targeting civilians.
The report stated that corruption, official impunity, gross human rights violations and violent crimes were pervasive across Nigeria.
The report described the human rights violations to include; unlawful and arbitrary killings, rape, torture, mistreatment of detainees, destruction of property, violence against women, vigilante killings, child labour, forced and bonded labour.
Others are discrimination based on sexual orientation, serious restrictions on free expression and media, including violence or threats against journalists and the existence of criminal libel laws.
This assessment of Nigeria is according to the 2021 Country Report on Human Rights. The report, which is now in its 47th year, is sanctioned by the United States Congress. It, amongst other things, helps inform the U.S government policy and foreign assistance.
It further stated that due to the multiple conflict and attacks perpetuated in the North East and other parts of the North by the militant terrorists groups Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West Africa on civilians and government, about 3 million Nigerians were displaced as of the end of 2021, with an estimated 327,000 Nigerian refugees in neighbouring countries.
It added that the situation further resulted in thousands of deaths, injuries, numerous human rights abuses, and widespread destruction.
Exerpts from the report reads, “Significant human rights abuses included credible reports of unlawful and arbitrary killings by both government and nonstate actors; forced disappearances by the government, terrorists, and criminal groups.
“Torture and cases of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by the government and terrorist groups, harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest or detention; political prisoners; serious problems with the independence of the judiciary; arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy.
“Serious abuses in a conflict, including killings, abductions, and torture of civilians; serious restrictions on free expression and media, including violence or threats against journalists and the existence of criminal libel laws; serious restrictions on internet freedom; substantial interference with the freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association; serious government corruption”.
The report further stated that several of these abuses, attacks and killings go unpunished by the federal government, states governors and heads of the security agencies, making particular reference to the ‘#EndSARS protests reports’ by some states, including Lagos, which has not been implemented despite several recommendations, part of which includes; prosecution of members of the army, police, and other security agencies who were alleged to be guilty of harming protesters.
According to the report, the police, army, and other security services sometimes used force to disperse protesters and apprehend criminals and suspects.
“Police forces engaging in crowd-control operations generally attempted to disperse crowds using nonlethal tactics, such as firing tear gas, before escalating their use of force.
“lack of investigation and accountability for gender-based violence, including but not limited to domestic and intimate partner violence, sexual violence, child, early and forced marriage, female genital mutilation/cutting, and other harmful practices; crimes of violence targeting members of national/racial/ethnic minority groups; the existence or use of laws criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults; and the existence of the worst forms of child labor.
“There were reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary, unlawful, or extrajudicial killings. At times authorities investigated and held accountable police, military, or other security force personnel responsible for the use of excessive or deadly force or for the deaths of persons in custody.
“The government regularly utilized disciplinary boards, judicial panels of inquiry, or internal complaint mechanisms to investigate abuses by security forces. When warranted, these bodies made recommendations of proposed disciplinary measures to the state or federal government. State and federal panels of inquiry investigating suspicious deaths did not always make their findings public”, the report added.