Annual Report: Nigeria 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Nigeria 2010

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Niger Delta

In the first six months of 2009, armed groups and gangs kidnapped dozens of oil workers and their relatives, including children, and attacked many oil installations. The security forces, including the military, continued to commit human rights violations in the Niger Delta, including extrajudicial executions, torture and other ill-treatment, and destruction of homes. According to reports, the Joint Task Force (JTF), which combines troops of the army, navy, air force and the mobile police, frequently raided communities. Such raids often happened following clashes between the JTF and militants, often resulting in the death of bystanders.

  • In May, a clash between the JTF and armed groups in Delta state led to two weeks of fighting between the two sides as well as land and air strikes by the JTF on communities and militants' camps across the Warri South and SouthWest local government areas in Delta state. The area was occupied by the JTF for several months, with residents only able to return in August. Most houses were destroyed. Amnesty International was told that at least 30 bystanders, including children, were killed and many more wounded as a result of the JTF intervention.

In October, most leaders and members of armed groups in the Niger Delta accepted an amnesty offered by the federal government in August. The amnesty covered "offences associated with militant activities in the Niger Delta". While the security situation subsequently improved, there appeared to be no plan to address the causes of the conflict.

Pollution and environmental damage caused by the oil industry continued to have a serious impact on people living in the Niger Delta. More than 60 per cent of residents depend on the natural environment for their livelihood. Communities in the Niger Delta frequently had no access to basic information about the impact of the oil industry on their lives.

The laws and regulations to protect the environment continued to be poorly enforced. Government agencies responsible for enforcement were ineffective and, in some cases, compromised by conflicts of interest.

The Petroleum Industry Bill, which would reform Nigeria's oil industry legislation, remained pending. However, it fails to address the social and human rights impacts of the oil industry.

Right to adequate housing – forced evictions

Forced evictions continued throughout Nigeria. The authorities failed to provide compensation or alternative housing to people forcibly evicted from their homes. Some communities faced their third forced eviction.

In Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers state, forced evictions were carried out throughout the year along the waterfront, affecting thousands of people.

  • On 28 August, thousands of people were forcibly evicted from Njemanze Community, Port Harcourt.
  • On 12 October in Bundu Community, Port Harcourt, at least three people died and 11 were seriously injured after combined troops of the JTF and police used firearms to disperse a crowd demonstrating against intended demolitions and blocking their entry into the community.

Amnesty International visits/reports

Amnesty International delegates visited Nigeria in June/July and November/December.