U.S. report indicts Nigeria for rights abuse, killings

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The 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices has indicted the Nigerian government for serious abuse and extrajudicial killings, among other infractions.

The report released by the U.S. Department of State and made available to The Guardian yesterday, however, noted that the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari in February 2019 was generally credible “despite logistical challenges, localised violence and some irregularities.”

It noted that the insurgency in the northeast by Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa (ISIS-WA) continued and that the groups conducted numerous attacks on government and civilian targets, resulting in thousands of deaths and injuries, widespread destruction, internal displacement of more than two million persons, and external displacement of an estimated 243,875 Nigerian refugees to neighbouring countries as at September 30.

The report specifically listed significant human rights issues by state and non-state actors as unlawful and arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, torture, and arbitrary detention. It also frowned on harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; unlawful infringement on citizens’ privacy rights; criminal libel; violence against and unjustified arrests of journalists; substantial interference with the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association in particular for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons and religious minorities; widespread and pervasive corruption; crimes involving violence targeting LGBTI persons; criminalisation of same-sex sexual conduct between adults; and forced and bonded labour.

The report by the U.S. Department of State observed: “Government took some steps to investigate alleged abuses but there were few public reports of prosecutions of officials who committed violations, whether in the security forces or elsewhere in the government.”

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