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U.S. report indicts Nigerian Govt of 17 crimes against humanity

The Department of State of the United States has indicted the Nigerian Government in up to seventeen various crimes, including crimes against humanity.

This was contained in the Executive Summary of a report titled “2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Nigeria”.

In the report, the Department of State accused Nigeria of “significant human rights abuses” perpetrated by both government and non-state actors.

It also noted that impunity remains a significant problem in the country.

The mentioned human rights abuses included:

  • unlawful and arbitrary killings by both government and nonstate actors;
  • forced disappearances by the government, terrorists, and criminal groups;
  • torture and cases of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by the government and terrorist groups;
  • harsh and life-threatening prison conditions;
  • arbitrary detention by government and non-state actors;
  • political prisoners;
  • serious problems with the independence of the judiciary;
  • arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy;
  • serious abuses in an internal conflict, including killing and torture of civilians;
  • serious restrictions on free expression, the press, and the internet, including the existence of criminal libel laws;
  • substantial interference with the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association, in particular for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex persons;
  • severe restrictions on religious freedom;
  • serious acts of corruption;
  • trafficking in persons;
  • inadequate investigation and accountability for violence against women;
  • the existence or use of laws criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults; and,
  • the worst forms of child labor.

The report also noted that the government is culpable in arbitrary deprivation of life and other unlawful or politically motivated killings.

It says: “There were reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary, unlawful, or extrajudicial killings.

“At times authorities sought to investigate, and when found culpable, held police, military, or other security force personnel accountable for the use of excessive or deadly force or for the deaths of persons in custody, but impunity in such cases remained a significant problem.

“State and federal panels of inquiry investigating suspicious deaths did not always make their findings public.

“The national police, army, and other security services sometimes used force to disperse protesters and apprehend criminals and suspects.

“Police forces engaging in crowd-control operations generally attempted to disperse crowds using nonlethal tactics, such as firing tear gas, before escalating their use of force,” it stressed.

On the other, the report identified the non-state actors to include Boko Haram terrorists and criminal groups like bandits, Fulani herdsmen and other notorious gangs.

These groups, says the report, “conducted numerous attacks on government and civilian targets, resulting in thousands of deaths and injuries, widespread destruction, the internal displacement of more than two million persons, and the external displacement of somewhat more than an estimated 300,000 Nigerian refugees to neighboring countries as of December 14”.

It accused Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa of:

  • continued attacks on civilians, military, and police;
  • recruitment and forcefully conscription of child soldiers;
  • execution of scores of person-borne improvised explosive device attacks–many by coerced young women and girls–and other attacks on population centers in the Northeast and in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.

It noted further that both groups subjected many women and girls to sexual and gender-based violence, including forced marriages, sexual slavery, and rape.

The Department of State promised to release more reports in mid 2021 that will expand on crimes against women to include a broader range of issues related to reproductive rights.

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