The U.S. 2020 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Nigeria indicates there are thousands of deaths and injuries, widespread destruction, as well as the internal displacement of more than two million persons, and the external displacement of more than an estimated 300,000 Nigerian refugees to neighbouring countries as at December 14, 2020.
The report, released, Wednesday, noted that though the Nigeria Police Force is the primary law enforcement agency, Nigerian government has continued to turn to the armed forces to address internal security concerns, due to insufficient capacity and staffing of domestic law enforcement agencies.
The report said: “There were reports that members of the security forces committed human rights abuses. Civilian authorities did not always maintain effective control over the security services.
“The insurgency in the North-east by the militant terrorist groups Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa continued.
“The groups conducted numerous attacks on government and civilian targets, resulting in unlawful and arbitrary killings by both government and non-state 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.”
The report further noted that significant human rights abuses in the country included: “Harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary detention by government and non-state actors; political prisoners; serious problems with the independence of the judiciary; arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy; serious abuses in an internal conflict, including killing and torture of civilians.”
It also listed others to include “serious restrictions on free expression, the press, and the internet, including the existence of criminal libel laws; substantial interference with the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association, in particular for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex persons; and severe restrictions on religious freedom; serious acts of corruption.
“Trafficking in persons; inadequate investigation and accountability for violence against women; the existence or use of laws criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults; and the worst forms of child labour.”
However, the report said: “The government took some steps to investigate alleged abuses by police, including the Special Anti-Robbery Squad and military forces, but impunity remained a significant problem.
“There were reports of further progress in formally separating and reintegrating child soldiers previously associated with the Civilian Joint Task Force, a non-governmental self-defense militia, which received limited state government funding.”
The report said Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa continued attacks on civilians, military, and police; recruited and forcefully conscripted child soldiers; and carried out scores of person-borne improvised explosive device attacks–many by coerced young women and girls–and other attacks on population centres in the North-east and in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. “Abductions by Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa continued. Both groups subjected many women and girls to sexual and gender-based violence, including forced marriages, sexual slavery, and rape.
“The government investigated attacks by Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa and took steps to prosecute their members,” the report further stated.