Annual Report: Nigeria 2011

Report
May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Nigeria 2011

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Head of state and government: Goodluck Jonathan (replaced Umaru Musa Yar'Adua in February)
Death penalty: retentionist
Population: 158.3 million
Life expectancy: 48.4 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f): 190/184 per 1,000
Adult literacy: 60.1 per cent

The police continued to commit human rights violations, including unlawful killings, torture and other ill-treatment, and enforced disappearances. The justice system was under-resourced and riddled with delays. Prisons were overcrowded; the majority of inmates were pre-trial detainees, some held for many years. Approximately 920 people were on death row, many sentenced after unfair trials. No executions were reported. The security situation in the Niger Delta deteriorated during the year. Human rights defenders and journalists continued to face intimidation and harassment. Violence against women remained widespread and the government failed to protect the rights of children. Forced evictions continued across the country.

Background

President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua died in May following a long illness, and was replaced by Goodluck Jonathan, the Vice President, who had been acting President since February.

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission was removed in April and replaced in June. Elections were scheduled for January 2011, then postponed to April 2011.

Widespread political violence linked to the 2011 elections led to the deaths of dozens of people. Among those killed were candidates, their family members, and supporters.

On 31 December, at least 13 people were killed and many more injured when a bomb exploded inside the Sani Abacha military barracks in Abuja, the capital.

Plateau state

Between 17 and 20 January, more than 300 people were killed in religious and ethnic violence in and around the city of Jos, Plateau state; over 10,000 people were displaced and thousands of shops and homes were destroyed. On 7 March more than 200 men, women and children were killed by armed men when the villages of Dogo Nahawa, Zot, and Ratsat were attacked. Homes and property were burned, and thousands of people were displaced.

At least three bombs exploded in and around Jos on 24 December, killing 80 and injuring many more. The bombings triggered further violence in and around the city, leaving dozens dead and many more injured. Several buildings were also burned down.

A Presidential Advisory Committee established in February to investigate the violence reported to President Jonathan in August. He pledged to implement the Committee's recommendations, but the report was not made public. The findings of earlier investigations into violence in 2008 had not been published by the end of 2010.

Boko Haram

Between July and December, more than 30 people were killed in Borno state by people believed to be members of the religious sect commonly known as Boko Haram. Many of the attacks targeted the police. Six people were killed on 24 December when suspected Boko Haram members attacked two churches in Maiduguri.

Hundreds of soldiers were deployed to Borno state in October. On 22 November, a police spokesperson announced that more than 170 people had been arrested by the police in the preceding six weeks. Many were transferred to Abuja; by the end of the year most remained in police detention and had yet to be produced in court.

On 31 December, the police announced they had arrested a further 92 suspected members of Boko Haram.

Suspected members of Boko Haram also carried out attacks in Bauchi and Yobe states, killing at least five policemen. In September a group of suspected Boko Haram members attacked Bauchi Federal Prison and freed over 700 inmates, including approximately 123 members of Boko Haram.

A committee set up in August 2009 to investigate the Boko Haram crisis in July 2009 in which over 700 people died did not make their findings public during 2010. In April, the High Court, Borno state ordered the police to pay compensation in the case of Alhaji Baba Fugu, who was extrajudicially executed in police custody during the 2009 crisis. An appeal by the police against the decision had not been heard by the end of the year.