Annual Report: Nigeria 2013

Report
May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Nigeria 2013

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Federal Republic of Nigeria

Head of state and government Goodluck Jonathan

The situation of violence and insecurity for Nigerians intensified, with at least 1,000 people killed in attacks by Islamist armed group Boko Haram in central and northern Nigeria. Police and other soldiers carried out unlawful and summary killings with impunity. Thousands of people were forcibly evicted from their homes in different parts of the country. Unlawful detention and arbitrary arrests were commonplace.

Background

In January, the Nigeria Labour Congress, other trade unions and civil rights organizations declared a nationwide strike action in protest against proposals to remove fuel subsidies. The mostly peaceful protests began on 2 January and involved tens of thousands of people across many states. In several cases, police fired at protesters, and at least three people were killed and 25 injured across Kaduna, Kano and Lagos states. In January, one police officer was reportedly arrested and detained in relation to the use of force but no further action was known to have been taken against the officer by the end of the year.

On 20 January, at least 186 people were killed in Kano City when members of Boko Haram attacked security forces at eight different locations. The bombings were followed by an exchange of gunfire between Boko Haram and security forces lasting several hours. Among those killed were police officers, their relatives and residents living nearby. A journalist with the news station Channels, Enenche Akogwu, was also shot dead.

In the same month, President Jonathan declared a state of emergency in 15 Local Government Areas across four states, which elapsed after six months.

Renewed tensions emerged in the Niger Delta when some former members of the armed group MEND (Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta) claimed they were not receiving their monthly “amnesty” stipends – part of an agreement with the government. The group also said it was dissatisfied with the operation of programmes set up to reintegrate militants into society.

Between August and October, the country's worst flooding in decades killed more than 300 people and displaced a million more, across 15 states.

Boko Haram

Boko Haram attacks

More than 1,000 people were killed in attacks by Islamist armed group Boko Haram, which claimed responsibility for bombings and gun attacks across northern and central Nigeria. The group attacked police stations, military barracks, churches, school buildings and newspaper offices and killed Muslim and Christian clerics and worshippers, politicians and journalists, as well as police and soldiers. In November, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court announced there was a reasonable basis to believe Boko Haram had been committing crimes against humanity since July 2009.

  • In April, at least 20 people were killed in Kaduna city on Easter Sunday as a suicide car bomb exploded near two churches.
  • On 26 April, Boko Haram bombed the offices of the Nigerian newspaper Thisday in Abuja and a building housing three newspapers in Kaduna. At least seven people died. On 1 May, Boko Haram issued a warning to 11 national and international media houses.
  • On 17 June, Boko Haram bombed three church services in Kaduna, killing at least 21 people. Revenge attacks between Christians and Muslims resulted in the death of at least 70 more people.

Responses by the police and security forces

Nigeria's security forces perpetrated serious human rights violations in their response to Boko Haram – including enforced disappearance, extrajudicial executions, house burning and unlawful detention.

Scores of people were unlawfully killed by the Joint Task Force (JTF) – army, police and other security forces – set up to deal with the violence, or police; others were subjected to enforced disappearance from police or JTF custody.

People in at least five communities in Maiduguri had their houses burned down by the JTF, often following raids and arrests in the areas and in some cases seemingly as a punitive measure.