Annual Report: Nigeria 2011

May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Nigeria 2011

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  • In August, the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt ordered the police to produce Chika Ibeku, declaring his detention without charge or bail unlawful. It took a further three months before the court issued the order and began serving the named police officials. The habeas corpus application had been filed by the Nigeria Bar Association Human Rights Institute in May 2009.

Death penalty

Approximately 920 people were on death row, including eight women, 10 prisoners over the age of 70, and more than 20 who were under 18 at the time of the offence. No executions were reported. Many death row inmates were sentenced to death following blatantly unfair trials or after spending more than a decade in prison awaiting trial.

Following meetings of the Council of States and the National Economic Council in April and June, chaired by the President and Vice President respectively, state governors announced their intention to review all cases of death row inmates and to sign execution warrants in order to reduce prison congestion.

Niger Delta

The improved security situation brought about by the presidential amnesty granted to members of armed groups in 2009 had deteriorated by the end of 2010. Armed groups and gangs kidnapped dozens of oil workers and their relatives, including children, and attacked several 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.

On 1 December, following fighting between the JTF and an armed group in Delta state, the JTF razed the nearby community of Ayokoromo. At least 120 homes were burned down. The JTF claimed nine villagers were killed but community leaders and NGOs put the death toll at 51, including women and children.

In January, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) called off its ceasefire, which had been in place since October 2009. In March, two bombs exploded in Warri, Delta state, killing at least one person. In October, three car bombs exploded in Abuja, disrupting Nigeria's independence celebrations and killing 12 people. MEND claimed responsibility.

  • In January, two workers at Chevron's gas plant, Escravos, in Delta state, were shot dead. Members of the JTF, who had been guarding the facility, allegedly drove past and opened fire as the workers were leaving the plant. Chevron paid the families of the two men compensation, but did not accept any responsibility for the killings.

Pollution and environmental damage caused by the oil industry continued to have a serious impact on people living in the Niger Delta. Laws and regulations to protect the environment were poorly enforced. Government agencies responsible for enforcement were ineffective and, in some cases, compromised by conflicts of interest. Communities in the Niger Delta frequently had no access to vital information about the impact of the oil industry on their lives.

  • On 1 May, crude oil from a leaking pipe from an offshore platform of ExxonMobil's Qua Iboe oilfield reached the shores of the Ibeno community, Akwa Ibom state.

Violence against women

Violence against women remained pervasive, including domestic violence, rape and other forms of sexual violence by state officials and private individuals. The authorities consistently failed to exercise due diligence in preventing and addressing sexual violence by both state and non-state actors, leading to an entrenched culture of impunity.

  • Maryam Mohammed Bello and Halima Abdu were presented in court in February and remanded in prison after spending one year in police detention in Maiduguri, where they said they were repeatedly raped. Both women became pregnant while in police custody. The women were eventually bailed in October.

Children's rights

By the end of the year, 12 of Nigeria's 36 states still had not passed the Child Rights Act. Children were routinely detained with adults in police and prison cells. Only one of the country's three remand homes was functioning. It was overcrowded, with approximately 600 children held in facilities designed for 200.