Nigeria Human Rights

The police regularly commit human rights violations, including unlawful killings, torture and other ill-treatment, and enforced disappearances. The justice system is under-resourced and riddled with delays. Prisons are overcrowded; the majority of inmates are pre-trial detainees, some held for many years. Hundreds of people remain on death row, many sentenced after unfair trials. Conflict in the Niger Delta threatens the safety and lives of residents. Human rights defenders and journalists face intimidation and harassment. Violence against women is widespread and the government fails to protect the rights of children. Forced evictions take place across the country.

Find out more at

Forced evictions
Over two million people have been forcibly evicted from their homes since 2000, and hundreds of thousands more are at risk of eviction throughout the country. Most are already marginalized, and many live without access to clean water, sanitation, adequate health care or education. Evictions are carried out without genuine consultation, adequate notice and compensation, or alternative accommodation. Law enforcement officials sometimes use force while carrying out evictions, beating and injuring residents, including children.

Policing and Justice
Despite repeated government pledges to address the problems in the Nigerian criminal justice system, little progress has been made. Among the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) there is flagrant and widespread disregard for human rights and due process. People are subjected to enforced disappearances and unlawfully killed by the police before or during arrest in the street or at roadblocks, or subsequently in police detention. Many unlawful killings appear to be extrajudicial executions, and the perpetrators usually go unpunished.

Crimes committed by the police forces in Nigeria are not random. In a country where bribes guarantee safety, those who cannot afford to pay are at risk of being shot or tortured to death by the police. The families of the victims often cannot afford to seek justice or redress, because they cannot pay for a lawyer or the court fees.

Detainees are regularly held by the police for longer than the constitutionally guaranteed 48 hours before being brought before a judge, often waiting weeks and even months. Seventy per cent of Nigeria's nearly 48,000 prison inmates are pre-trial detainees. Prisoners are often detained in appalling conditions, waiting long periods for trial as the justice system is riddled with delays. Detainees are often denied their legal right to see a lawyer. Many have to pay for food or medical care, or to avoid being tortured or otherwise ill-treated. Police routinely torture suspects, including children.

Hundreds of people are on death row, many sentenced to death following blatantly unfair trials or after spending more than a decade in prison awaiting trial. No executions we carried out in 2010, but state governors announced their intention to review all cases of death row inmates and to sign execution warrants in order to reduce prison congestion.

Communal Conflict
Residents of Jos, Plateau state, live in constant danger due to repeated incidents of communal violence, including bombings and gun and machete attacks. Hundreds of homes have been razed and thousands of people killed since 2001. Victims have no access to redress or reparation, or compensation. Criminal investigation is been inadequate, and no one has been held accountable.

Boko Haram
Sectarian violence in and around Maiduguri, Borno state, threatens the safety of local residents. Attacks by members of the religious sect formally known as Boko Haram have killed over one hundred people since July 2010. Boko Haram has taken responsibility for a number of attacks targeting police and government officials, religious leaders and churches, and bars and beer gardens, killing scores of civilians.

Conflict in the Niger Delta
Poverty, corruption and the presence of oil, arms and gangs, make the Niger Delta a very volatile region. Armed groups and criminal gangs have explicitly seek to control resources, and engage in acts of violence. This leads to violent confrontations between the armed groups and the Joint Task Force (JTF). Security forces, including the military, regularly commit human rights violations in the Niger Delta, including extrajudicial executions, torture or other ill-treatment, and destruction of homes.

Impact of the Extractive Industries
Pollution and environmental damage caused by the oil industry have a serious impact on people living in the Niger Delta. Laws and regulations to protect the environment are poorly enforced. The harmful practice of gas flaring, made illegal in 1984, still continues. Government agencies responsible for enforcement are ineffective and, in some cases, compromised by conflicts of interest. Communities in the Niger Delta have little or no access to vital information about the impact of the oil industry on their lives.

Other concerns
Human rights defenders and journalists face regular intimidation and harassment. Human rights defenders and journalists are threatened and beaten by police and security forces, and several have been killed in suspicious circumstances. Nigeria's laws still provide inadequate protection for the right to freedom of expression.

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

Children are routinely detained with adults in police and prison cells. Nigeria's one functioning remand home was overcrowded, with approximately 600 children held in facilities designed for 200. Government provision for homeless and vulnerable children is inadequate with over 1 million street children across the country.

Nigeria Newsroom

June 7, 2019 • Press Release

Climate activists Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future movement honored with top Amnesty International award

Climate change activist Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future movement of school-children have been honored with Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2019, the human rights organization announced today. “The Ambassador of Conscience Award is Amnesty International’s highest honor, celebrating people who have shown unique leadership and courage in standing up for human …

February 1, 2019 • Press Release

Deadliest Boko Haram attack on Rann leaves at least 60 people murdered in Nigeria

At least 60 people were killed following the January 28 devastating Boko Haram attack on Rann, a border town in Borno state, northeast Nigeria, Amnesty International has confirmed. The organization also analyzed satellite imagery which shows hundreds of burned structures in the town. Many of the destroyed structures only date back to 2017, suggesting they were …

December 14, 2018 • Press Release

Nigeria: UNICEF suspended amid absurd smear campaign

Responding to the Nigerian army’s suspension of UNICEF from operations in northeast Nigeria over allegations of spying and collaborating with Boko Haram, Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, said: “Amnesty International strongly condemns attempts by the Nigerian army to demonize UNICEF’s lifesaving work in the northeast of the country, where the Boko Haram conflict has created …

November 3, 2018 • Press Release

Amnesty International Calls on the US and Nigerian Government to Stop Trying to Justify Rights Abuses

In response to the Nigerian Army’s tweets using President Trump’s words to justify the fatal shooting of rock-throwing protestors. and the subsequent issuing of a statement denouncing Amnesty International’s calls for accountability, Amnesty International Nigeria Executive Director Osai Ojigho said: “Basic human rights are not subject to whims of the world’s leaders. Rather than engaging …

October 16, 2018 • Press Release

Nigeria: Boko Haram killing of aid worker Hauwa Liman is a war crime

Responding to the murder of aid worker Hauwa Liman by Boko Haram, Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, said: “With yet another horrific killing of a humanitarian worker, Boko Haram has again demonstrated its brazen disregard for life. Hauwa Liman was providing desperately-needed humanitarian services to people affected by the conflict in the northeast …

June 7, 2018 • Press Release

Nigeria: Threats from the military won’t deter us from defending human rights

The Nigerian military is increasingly resorting to threats, intimidation and smears to discredit Amnesty International’s work documenting the human rights violations it has committed, Amnesty International said today. On May 24, 2018 the organization released a report, “They Betrayed Us”, which documented the prevalence of sexual violence against starving women and girls detained in satellite camps …

May 23, 2018 • Report

Nigeria: Starving women raped by soldiers and militia who claim to be rescuing them

Thousands of women and girls who survived the brutal rule of the Boko Haram armed group have since been further abused by the Nigerian security forces who claim to be rescuing them, said Amnesty International in a new report released today. “They betrayed us” reveals how the Nigerian military and Civilian Joint Task Force (Civilian …

May 18, 2018 • Press Release

Global Wikipedia edit-a-thon shines spotlight on the unsung women defending human rights around the world

Wikipedia enthusiasts from around the world are joining forces on 19 and 20 May 2018 to take part in a global edit-a-thon to shine a spotlight on extraordinary unsung women human rights defenders who have devoted their lives to fighting injustice. BRAVE:Edit, a collaboration between Amnesty International and Wikimedia (Wikipedia’s non-profit organization), will see hundreds …

April 13, 2018 • Press Release

Nigeria: Government still failing victims of Boko Haram four years on from Chibok

Responding to the commemoration of the fourth anniversary of the abduction of 276 school girls in Chibok, Osai Ojigho Director Amnesty International Nigeria said: “What happened in Chibok should have served as a wake-up call to the Nigerian government. Yet four years on, thousands more women and girls have been taken from their homes and …

March 21, 2018 • Press Release

Nigeria: Authorities must ensure Dapchi schoolgirls’ welfare

Responding to today’s release of 101 of the schoolgirls abducted from a school in Dapchi, northern Nigeria by the armed group Boko Haram last month, Amnesty International’s Nigeria Director Osai Ojigho said:

Human rights are under threat: