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Nigeria

    September 30, 2013

    Authorities in Nigeria must take urgent measures to protect schools and students in the north-east of the country following a fresh attack by unknown gunmen that left dozens dead, Amnesty International said.

    “Since 2012, we have seen an escalation of lethal attacks against students and schools. On top of the tragic loss of life children are being prevented from accessing education. It is high time for the authorities not only to investigate these deplorable incidents and take those responsible to justice but to take measures to prevent them,” said Lucy Freeman, Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    The attack took place at around 1:00 am on Sunday when gunmen entered the compound of the College of Agriculture in Yobe state and opened fire on students.

    Several individuals told Amnesty International the attackers ordered students to assemble and then opened fire on them.

    One resident of Damaturu said that on Sunday they counted 62 bodies at the Sani Abacha General Hospital mortuary in Damaturu, Yobe state.

    September 24, 2013

    By Audrey Gaughran, Director of Global Thematic Issues at Amnesty International

    There are currently two competing narratives about oil pollution in the Niger Delta.

    The first is that oil companies, particularly Shell, are responsible for massive pollution caused by leaks from their operations and for the failure to clean up spills and protect their infrastructure from damage.

    This narrative acknowledges that oil theft and sabotage of oil infrastructure occur and contribute to pollution; however it cautions that theft and sabotage, as causes of pollution, are over-stated by oil companies in a bid to deflect criticism about their environmental impact.

    The second narrative claims that almost all spills are caused by oil theft and sabotage and that companies are doing their best to combat this scourge. It goes on to say that the failure to clean up properly is generally due to the communities not letting the oil companies into the area to do the cleanup.

    August 14, 2013

    Nigeria’s ratification of the landmark global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on Tuesday is a welcome move that should pave the way for more African nations to get behind the treaty, Amnesty International said.

    “By signing and ratifying the lifesaving Arms Trade Treaty, Nigeria has indicated its willingness to join the global society in ensuring strict control of the international trade in conventional arms,” said Lucy Freeman, Deputy Africa Program Director at Amnesty International.

    “As one of the first handful of nations to ratify, we hope that Nigeria will promptly implement the treaty’s provisions at home and play a leading role in encouraging other African states to get behind the treaty.”

    The ATT would prohibit states from transferring conventional weapons to countries when they know those weapons would be used to commit or facilitate genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.

    At least 500,000 people die every year on average and millions more are displaced and abused as result of armed violence and conflict.

    August 12, 2013

    New evidence from satellite images reveals the true extent of a forced eviction in Badia East, Lagos – one of Africa’s two megacities. The pictures, taken before and after demolitions carried out by the Lagos state government on 23 February 2013, clearly show that a densely populated area containing concrete houses and other structures was razed to the ground.

    It is estimated that close to 9,000 residents of Badia East lost their homes or livelihoods. However senior officials in the Lagos state government had claimed that the area was a rubbish dump.

    “The effects of February’s forced eviction have been devastating for the Badia East community where dozens are still sleeping out in the open or under a nearby bridge exposed to rain, mosquitos and at risk of physical attack,” said Oluwatosin Popoola, Amnesty International’s Nigeria researcher.

    A new report by Amnesty International and the Social and Economic Rights Action Centre (SERAC) looks at the impact of the demolitions and documents the failings of the Lagos state government

    July 24, 2013

    Amnesty International has received worrying reports that Nigerian prison authorities on Tuesday moved a group of death row prisoners into cells closer to the gallows, including one man who narrowly escaped execution last month.

    “With these latest reports it appears that the authorities at Nigeria’s Benin prison may be gearing up to continue executing,” said Lucy Freeman, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Africa Program.

    “In a cruel twist, one of the men who have just been moved within the prison was also amongst those brought to the gallows to be hanged last month, before the prison authorities postponed his execution after realizing his death sentence required a firing squad.

    “Many countries in West Africa and most of the world are moving away from the death penalty, but Nigeria insists on bucking this clear international trend – President Goodluck Jonathan must call for an end to all executions in the country and return to the moratorium that was previously in place.”

    July 08, 2013

    The Nigerian government must act to prevent attacks on schools to protect children’s lives and their right to education said Amnesty International after 30 people were reportedly killed in an attack on a boarding school by an armed Islamist group on Saturday.

    Secondary schools have been ordered to close across Nigeria’s north-eastern state of Yobe following the pre-dawn attack on Government Secondary School in Mamudo, near Potiskum, in which 29 students and one teacher were killed and buildings set alight.

    “The protection of children’s lives is paramount, and the Nigerian government has a duty to ensure that the country’s educational sector is not further threatened by the killing and intimidation of students and teachers and the destruction of school buildings,” said Lucy Freeman, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for Africa.

    It is not yet known who is responsible for the attack although the group Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for several attacks on schools in the past.

    June 26, 2013

    A major fire that forced Shell to close its Trans Niger Pipeline in southern Nigeria raises serious questions about the way the oil giant is operating, Amnesty International and the Nigerian National Coalition on Gas Flaring and Oil Spills (NACGOND) said.

    The organizations called for an independent inquiry into the events that led to the fire at Bodo in Rivers State – an area already devastated by years of oil pollution.

    Eight Shell contractors were arrested by Nigerian security services in connection with the fire that broke out last week (19 June), following an oil spill at a section of the pipeline near Bodo that was being repaired by Shell contractors.

    A Shell-led investigation into the cause of the fire is due to begin this week.

    Shell claims the fire was a consequence of oil theft. However, community members told NACGOND that in the days leading up to the fire Nigerian security forces prevented anyone other than Shell’s contractors going near the area of the spill. From the shore people saw barges being loaded with oil and taken away from the site.

    June 25, 2013

    A death row prisoner in Nigeria is due to be executed by firing squad later this week after prison authorities dragged him to the gallows where they hanged four other men on Monday night, Amnesty International has learned.

    They were the first known executions in the country since 2006.

    Benin Prison authorities in Edo state had planned to hang the man along with the four others, but halted his execution after they realized his death sentence, imposed by a military tribunal, required that a firing squad carry it out.

    Amnesty International understands that neither the prisoners nor their families were told of the executions in advance. Secret executions, where prisoners, families and lawyers are not informed beforehand, violate international standards on the use of the death penalty.

    “Cruel and inhumane do not even begin to describe the nightmare situation facing this man – and it points to the spectacularly brutal nature of Nigeria’s sudden return to state-sponsored killing,” said Lucy Freeman, deputy Africa director at Amnesty International.

    June 24, 2013

    Amnesty International has received credible reports that authorities in the state of Edo in southern Nigerian have hanged four men in Benin City Prison on Monday – the first known executions in the country since 2006. 

    A fifth man remains at imminent risk of execution.

    Lucy Freeman, deputy director for Africa at the organization, said: “If confirmed, these executions mark a sudden, brutal return to the use of the death penalty in Nigeria, a truly dark day for human rights in the country. 

    “We again urge the Nigerian authorities to stop all executions immediately and return to the moratorium on executions in the country. We oppose the death penalty in all cases without exception, as it is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.”

    According to Amnesty International’s Death Sentences and Executions 2012 report, Nigeria sentenced 56 people to death last year, and approximately 1,000 people are reportedly on death row in the country.

     

    June 24, 2013

    The Nigerian authorities must spare the lives of five death row inmates at imminent risk of execution, Amnesty International urged after a court in the southern state of Edo allowed the execution by hanging of three men to proceed and the Governor of Edo state signed the execution warrants of two others.

    The Federal High Court in Benin City today rejected a lawsuit filed by local NGOs against three execution warrants signed by the Governor of Edo State in October 2012. Two other death row inmates – whose execution warrants were reportedly signed by the Governor in May 2013 – are also at imminent risk of execution.

    It is unclear when the authorities at the state’s Benin Prison plan to carry out the killings, but two executioners were reportedly called in on Monday morning and security around the prison is tight.

    “Today’s court decision is a major set back for justice and human rights in Nigeria,”said Lucy Freeman, deputy director for Africa at Amnesty International.

    “The Nigerian authorities must immediately halt the execution of these five men and allow them to appeal their cases in the courts.”

    June 19, 2013

    AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS – Claims by Shell that sabotage is responsible for most oil spilt in Nigeria have come under fire. A Dutch agency found that the oil giant’s statements were based on disputed evidence and flawed investigations.

    The agency – the National Contact Point (NCP) – which is there to assess complaints about companies that abuse human rights and the environment made its statements in response to concerns raised by Amnesty International and Friends of the Earth International.

    But the two organizations say that the NCP should have gone much further in its criticism of Shell.

    The organizations provided evidence of serious flaws in the system used by Shell for investigating oil spills, including video footage of a spill investigation in which several serious problems occurred.

    “Sabotage is a problem in Nigeria, but Shell exaggerates this issue to avoid criticism for its failure to prevent oil spills,” said Audrey Gaughran of Amnesty International.

    June 05, 2013

    President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria  should not sign into law a draconian new bill that would formalize discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people and have wide-ranging effects on civil liberties in the country, 10 Nigerian and international human rights groups said today. 

    On May 30, 2013, Nigeria’s House of Representatives passed the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill, which would impose a prison sentence of up to 14 years for anyone found guilty of engaging in same-sex relationships. The Senate had already passed a similar bill.

    If signed into law, the bill would also criminalize freedom of speech, association, and assembly.

    “The bill is a throwback to past decades under military rule when these civil rights were treated with contempt,” said Lucy Freeman, deputy director of the Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    May 23, 2013

    Nigerian authorities must not use the state of emergency imposed in the north of the country as an excuse to commit human rights violations, Amnesty International urged today as the military continued its assault on Islamist armed group Boko Haram.

    Several people have reportedly been killed and hundreds arrested since a state of emergency was declared in the northern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe on 14 May. The military reportedly claim those targeted are suspected members of Boko Haram.

    Some 2,400 people have fled the region for neighbouring Niger, according to a statement released on Tuesday by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

    "Issues of national security and the state of emergency do not give the military carte blanche to do whatever they want," said Lucy Freeman, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for Africa.

    “The onus is on the state to prove that they are not using an emergency as justification to run roughshod over people’s human rights.”

    February 23, 2013

    The Lagos State government of Nigeria must immediately stop the forced eviction of residents of Oke Ilu-Eri area of Badia East in Lagos, Amnesty International said today.

    According to information received by Amnesty International, on Saturday 23 February 2013, at approximately 9am, bulldozers entered the community of Oke Ilu-Eri and began demolishing houses.

    According to the Nigerian NGO, Social and Economic Rights Action Center (SERAC), which has been working with leaders of the community since Wednesday to try to prevent the demolition, at least 300 houses have been demolished so far with hundreds of people displaced. SERAC said about 200 heavily armed police officers supervised the demolition and several residents who tried to resist the demolition were beaten up by the police.

    No adequate notice was given to the residents of the community before the demolition commenced. According to information received by Amnesty International, on Wednesday 20 February a notice of eviction was given to the Baale (Yoruba word for traditional district head) of the community – just three days before the demolition started.

    February 05, 2013

    Hundreds of fatal police shootings which each year leave families anguished and bereaved are not being investigated effectively because of a failure of the Nigerian justice system, Amnesty International says in a report released today.

    Nigeria: No Justice for the Dead illustrates the gaps in the investigation of deaths following police action in Rivers State where basic techniques of crime scene protection and investigation are not applied and autopsies and inquests are either not carried out or are inadequate.

    Relatives are often left with no answers about the fate of their family members and rarely receive justice.
    Amnesty International believes Rivers State is representative of other Nigerian states where violent deaths at the hands of the police are not investigated adequately. 

    Medical and legal sources revealed that there is a practice of doctors signing death investigation reports without examining the body properly.

    In many cases the identity of the deceased is not known to the police and bodies are registered as “unknown”. Little effort is made by police to identify them.

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