Annual Report: Nigeria 2013

May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Nigeria 2013

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  • On 26 January, human rights defender and labour leader Osmond Ugwu was granted bail by the Enugu State High Court. Osmond Ugwu had been arrested on 24 October 2011 by a heavily armed group of soldiers, police officers, and members of the State Security Service (SSS) at a peaceful trade union prayer session in Enugu after campaigning for the implementation of the Minimum Wage Act. He was subsequently charged with conspiracy to murder.
  • On 6 September, a journalist for the Leadership newspaper was beaten by soldiers and his equipment confiscated for covering a demolition exercise in Anambra State.
  • On 24 December, Musa Mohamed Awwal and Aliyu Saleh, two journalists working for the Hausa language newspaper, Al-Mizan, were arrested in Kaduna State and detained for one week by officers from the SSS.

Women's rights

Nigeria continued to have one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world. According to the World Health Organization, 14% of all maternal deaths worldwide happen in Nigeria.

Violence against women and girls, including rape, sexual assault and domestic abuse, remained serious problems.

Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people

Human rights abuses continued against people suspected of having same-sex relationships or non-conventional gender identity. The Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill, approved by the Senate in December 2011, passed its second reading in the House of Representatives on 13 November. The Bill imposes a 14-year prison sentence on anyone who “[enters] into a same sex marriage contract or civil union”. The Bill, if passed into law, would criminalize freedom of speech, association, and assembly.

Oil pollution in the Niger Delta

Oil pollution and environmental damage continued to wreak havoc on people's lives and livelihoods in the Niger Delta. Environmental laws and regulations were poorly enforced. Recommendations on the clean-up of the Ogoniland region of the Niger Delta, made by the UN Environment Programme in a major study published in 2011, were not implemented by the end of 2012.

  • On and around 21 June, an oil spill was discovered in the Bodo community in the Niger Delta. The leak was only stopped on 30 June. The pipeline was the responsibility of Shell. An investigation into the cause of the spill was delayed and had not completed by the end of the year, nor had the spill been cleaned.

On 11 October, a court case instituted against the oil company Shell by a group of farmers from the Niger Delta began at The Hague in the Netherlands.

On 14 December, a landmark judgement by ECOWAS found the Nigerian government had failed to prevent oil company operations from damaging human rights, and required the government to enforce adequate regulation of oil operations.

Amnesty International visits/reports

  • Amnesty International delegates visited Nigeria seven times between February and November.
  • Nigeria: Forced eviction of Abonnema Wharf waterfront – “Pack and go!” (AFR 44/034/2012)
  • Nigeria: Another Bodo oil spill – another flawed oil spill investigation in the Niger Delta (AFR 44/037/2012)
  • Nigeria: Oil spill investigations in the Niger Delta – Amnesty International memorandum (AFR 44/042/2012)
  • Nigeria: Trapped in the cycle of violence (AFR 44/043/2012)