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Nigeria

    February 17, 2015
    Nigerian soldiers arrive in Yola, Nigeria, 20 May 2013. (c) EPA

    As Nigerians prepare to go to the polling stations to elect their President on March 28, we take a look at some of the main human rights issues facing people living in Africa’s most populous, oil-rich country.

    How bad is the human rights situation in Nigeria?

    Pretty shocking. Boko Haram’s bloody onslaught in north-east Nigeria and the military’s heavy-handed response has killed thousands of civilians and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Women, men and children live in constant fear of murder and abduction by Boko Haram and of arbitrary arrest, unlawful detention, torture and even execution at the hands of the military.

    But it is not just the violence in the north-east of the country that is extremely worrying. The problems within Nigeria’s justice system, for example, are deeply entrenched.

    January 29, 2015

    The protection of civilians must be central to today’s discussions at the African Union summit on how to tackle the growing threat of Boko Haram, said Amnesty International.

    The situation in north-east Nigeria, including the possibility of the deployment of a regional force against Boko Haram, is expected to be part of the AU’s Peace and Security Council talks this evening, and Amnesty International is calling for African leaders to ensure that the protection of civilian in north east Nigeria is at the top of the agenda.
    “In the face of Boko Haram’s bloody onslaught the protection of civilians is the key priority. Ultimately it is the responsibility of Nigeria’s authorities to take all feasible measures to protect the civilian population including by assisting with an evacuation of those who wish to flee and transporting them to safer areas,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa director.  

    January 28, 2015

    New evidence shows that the Nigerian military were repeatedly warned of impending Boko Haram attacks on Baga and Monguno which claimed hundreds of lives, and failed to take adequate action to protect civilians, said Amnesty International.

    According to a senior military source and other evidence gathered by Amnesty International, commanders at the military base in Baga regularly informed military headquarters in November and December 2014 of the threat of a Boko Haram attack and repeatedly requested reinforcements. Other military sources and witnesses have told Amnesty International that the military in Monguno had an advanced warning of the Boko Haram attack on 25 January.

    “It is clear from this evidence that Nigeria’s military leadership woefully and repeatedly failed in their duty to protect civilians of Baga and Monguno despite repeated warnings about an impending threat posed by Boko Haram,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa director.  

    January 25, 2015

    A failure to protect hundreds of thousands of civilians could lead to a disastrous humanitarian crisis said Amnesty International with reports of two large scale attacks in Nigeria on the major north-eastern city of Maiduguri as well as the nearby town of Monguno.

    “These ongoing attacks by Boko Haram are significant and grim news. We believe hundreds of thousands of civilians are now at grave risk,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa Director.

    “People in and around Maiduguri need immediate protection. If the military doesn't succeed in stopping Boko Haram's advance they may be trapped with nowhere else to turn.”

    Amnesty International has received reports that at 6am on Sunday, gunmen attacked the base of 33 Artillery brigade at Jintilo village, just 6km outside Maiduguri.  There are reports of ongoing fighting at the air force base closer to Maiduguri.

    The Nigerian military has responded with air strikes and moved tanks and troops to the area.

    Civilians have reportedly fled the areas near to Jintilo towards central Maiduguri. However, not all civilians have been able to leave.

    January 21, 2015

    Legal action in the UK has driven Shell to make an out-of-court settlement of £55 million (CAD$83 million) to compensate the Bodo community of Nigeria after the livelihoods of thousands were destroyed by oil spills. The £55 million will be split between £35 million for 15,600 individuals and £20 million for the community.

    Shell’s long-overdue compensation payout is an important victory for the victims of corporate negligence.

    What happened?

    On August 28, 2008, a fault in the Trans-Niger pipeline caused a significant oil spill into Bodo Creek in Ogoniland, Nigeria. The pipeline is the responsibility of Shell. The spill, which was due to equipment failure, resulted in tens of thousands of barrels of oil polluting the land and creek surrounding Bodo, killing the fish that people depend on for food and livelihood. A second major spill began on December 7, 2008.

    How did Amnesty supporters make a difference?

    Amnesty International and the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) have worked on the Bodo spills case since 2008, supporting the community to secure compensation and clean up.

    January 14, 2015

    Satellite images released by Amnesty International today provide indisputable and shocking evidence of the scale of last week’s attack on the towns of Baga and Doron Baga by Boko Haram militants. 

    Before and after images of two neighbouring towns, Baga (160 kilometres from Maiduguri) and Doron Baga (also known as Doro Gowon, 2.5 km from Baga), taken on 2 and 7 January show the devastating effect of the attacks which left over 3,700 structures damaged or completely destroyed. Other nearby towns and villages were also attacked over this period. 

    January 09, 2015

    Following reports of the massacre of large numbers of civilians by armed group Boko Haram in north east Nigeria, Amnesty International has expert spokespeople available to comment.

    “The attack on Baga and surrounding towns, looks as if it could be Boko Haram’s deadliest act in a catalogue of increasingly heinous attacks carried out by the group. If reports that the town was largely razed to the ground and that hundreds or even as many as two thousand civilians were killed are true, this marks a disturbing and bloody escalation of Boko Haram’s ongoing onslaught against the civilian population,” said Daniel Eyre, Nigeria researcher for Amnesty International.

    “We are currently working to find out more details of what happened during the attack on Baga and the surrounding area. This attack reiterates the urgent need for Boko Haram to stop the senseless killing of civilians and for the Nigerian government to take measures to protect a population who live in constant fear of such attacks,” said Daniel Eyre.
     

    January 06, 2015

    Released  00.01 GMT 7 January 2015

    Oil giant Shell’s long-overdue compensation pay out to a community devastated by oil spills in the Niger Delta is an important victory for the victims of corporate negligence, said Amnesty International and the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development today.

    Six years after two oil spills destroyed thousands of livelihoods in the Bodo area, legal action in the UK has driven Shell to make an out-of-court settlement of £55m to compensate the affected community. The £55m will be split between £35m for 15,600 individuals and £20m for the community.

    “While the pay-out is a long awaited victory for the thousands of people who lost their livelihoods in Bodo, it shouldn’t have taken six years to get anything close to fair compensation,” said Audrey Gaughran, Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International.

    November 12, 2014

    Court documents revealed by Amnesty International today expose the fact that Shell has repeatedly made false claims about the size and impact of two major oil spills at Bodo in Nigeria in an attempt to minimize its compensation payments. The documents also show that Shell has known for years that its pipelines in the Niger Delta were old and faulty.

    The potential repercussions are that hundreds of thousands of people may have been denied or underpaid compensation based on similar underestimates of other spills.
    The irrefutable evidence that Shell underestimated the Bodo spills emerged in a UK legal action brought by 15,000 people whose livelihoods were devastated by oil pollution in 2008. The court action has forced Shell to finally admit the company has underplayed the true magnitude of at least two spills and the extent of damage caused.

    “Amnesty International firmly believes Shell knew the Bodo data were wrong. If it did not it was scandalously negligent – we repeatedly gave them evidence showing they had dramatically underestimated the spills,” said Audrey Gaughran, Director for Global Issues at Amnesty International.

    October 27, 2014

    The release of a man who spent 19 years on death row in Nigeria and was seconds away from execution last year painfully illustrates the inherent brutality and unfairness of the death penalty, said Amnesty International today.

    ThankGod Ebhos was released under an order issued by the governor of Kaduna State based on his age. He had been tried and sentenced to death by a military tribunal in Kaduna in May 1995, accused of an armed robbery that had taken place in 1988.

    Amnesty International raised questions about the fairness of military tribunals in Nigeria at the time.

    “The release of ThankGod Ebhos brings great hope to the many hundreds who are languishing on death row across Nigeria,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa Director, Research and Advocacy.

    September 18, 2014

    By Jacqueline Hansen, Major Campaigns and Women’s Rights Campaigner

    The disappearance of more than 270 Nigerian schoolgirls in April 2014 led to a worldwide social media campaign to #BringBackOurGirls. Tens of thousands of Amnesty International supporters signed our petition targeted at the Nigerian authorities. The world watched, and waited. Then the social media campaign faded and the issue disappeared from the headlines. Five months later the girls are still missing. And in the intervening months many more girls, boys, women, and men have been kidnapped by Boko Haram fighters.

    September 18, 2014

    Nigeria’s police and military routinely torture women, men, and children – some as young as 12 – using a wide range of methods including beatings, shootings and rape, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.

    “Welcome to hell fire”: Torture and other ill-treatment in Nigeria details how people are often detained in large dragnet operations and tortured as punishment, to extort money or to extract “confessions” as a shortcut to “solve” cases.

    “This goes far beyond the appalling torture and killing of suspected Boko Haram members. Across the country, the scope and severity of torture inflicted on Nigeria’s women, men and children by the authorities supposed to protect them is shocking to even the most hardened human rights observer,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director.

    “Torture is not even a criminal offence in Nigeria. The country’s parliament must immediately take this long overdue step and pass a law criminalizing torture. There is no excuse for further delay.”

    September 17, 2014

    "I was given a thorough beating. They took me to a place they called ‘theatre’… They tied my hands behind my back and tied me with a rope while I was left hanging on a rod. They were pulling the ropes from both sides” –Statement made by a former detainee in SARS Awkuzu.

    We know where torture is happening in Nigeria—and with your help we are going to try to stop it.

    Torture is common and routine in Nigeria. Suspects in military and police custody across the country are subjected to torture as punishment or to extract “confessions” as a shortcut to “solve” cases. The reliance on “confessions” together with rampant incommunicado detention and a system riddled with corruption provides the ideal setting for torture and other ill-treatment.

    A wide range of torture methods are used including beatings, shootings, nail and teeth extractions, and rape and other sexual violence. Many detention facilities have “torture chambers.” Officials are able to torture and get away with it because most complaints about torture don’t lead to an investigation, and rarely to prosecution.

    August 18, 2014

    The World Bank endorsed the Lagos state government’s inadequate compensation package for thousands of people forcibly evicted from an informal settlement, Amnesty International said in a report published today.

    The report, At the mercy of the government, finds that the residents of Badia East whose homes were bulldozed on 23 February 2013, were not adequately compensated by the government for their losses and that the World Bank wrongly endorsed a compensation process that was not consistent with international human rights standards or the Bank's own policy.

    “It is an outrage that a community, left destitute by the actions of the Lagos state government, has been denied an effective remedy by the same government and that the World Bank has been complicit in this matter,” said Audrey Gaughran, director of Global Issues at Amnesty International.

    August 04, 2014

    Posted at 0001 GMT 5 August 2014

    Gruesome video footage, images and testimonies gathered by Amnesty International provide fresh evidence of extrajudicial executions and other serious human rights violations being carried out in north-eastern Nigeria as the fight by the military against Boko Haram and other armed groups intensifies.

    The footage, obtained from numerous sources during a recent trip to Borno state, reveals graphic evidence of multiple war crimes being carried out in Nigeria.

    Take Action to #BringBackOurGirls

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