Amnesty International (AI), Nigeria, says failure of the government to prosecute violators of human rights is increasing impunity among security agencies.
In a statement yesterday to mark its 60 years in Nigeria, AI described the highhandedness of security agencies as yet to change with a series of clampdown on unarmed protesters without recourse for extant laws and international conventions on human rights.
It noted that the alarming escalation of attacks, abductions for ransom and frequent killings across Nigeria had left people feeling more unsafe, an indication of utter failure of the Nigerian authorities to protect lives and properties.
It quoted its Director, Osai Ojigho, as saying that “Not much has changed about human rights in Nigeria since 1967 and the concerns remain flagrant disregard for human rights, failure of authorities to protect the people, threats to human rights including the right to freedom of expression, suppression of dissenting voices and lack of accountability,”
“Incessant killings and the stunning failure of the authorities to end them and bring suspected perpetrators to justice have been and continue to be a threat to the right to life in Nigeria. From the days of military’s heavy-handed rule to the years of civil rule and up to today violation of human rights by both state actors and abuses by non-state actors continue to be matters of concern,”
“The use of excessive force by the police remains an unresolved human rights issue. In 2004, 2009, 2016 and 2020, Amnesty International published reports on the same issue; documenting increasing violation of human rights by the Nigerian police.”
“While facing violations or policies that undermine people’s rights, Nigerians always resort to protest – and other peaceful means of seeking change. But violent clampdown on protests remains a major area of human rights violation. Protest is not a crime and Nigerians must be able to assemble peacefully and express themselves without fear,”
It stated that reforms of the Nigeria Police Force had been ineffective and despite systemic human rights violations perpetrated by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), no one has been held accountable.
“Rape of women and girls by both the police and security forces, and within their homes and community, is endemic in Nigeria. The government, however, is failing in its constitutional and international human rights obligations to ensure access to justice for victims: suspected perpetrators invariably escape justice, and women and girls who have been raped are denied any form of redress for the serious crimes against them.”