How Nigeria’s brutal response to security concerns caused several deaths – Amnesty International

nigerian-soldiers
Nigerian Soldiers
[Photo Credit: Olisa TV]

Amnesty International, AI, in its annual State of the World’s Human Rights report, which analyses the states of human rights in 159 countries, has expressed worry over Nigerian government’s brutal response to security fears.

“In Nigeria specifically, we witnessed government responding to legitimate dissent with extreme measures that had devasting impacts on civic space,” said AI’s Nigeria media manager, Isa Sanusi.

The report highlighted cases of heavy-handedness by agents of the Nigerian government especially the military and its response to Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east and pro-Biafra agitation in the south-east.

AI noted that the six-year-old Boko Haram insurgency has claimed thousands of lives and directly affected 14.8 million others.

“Boko Haram continued to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity in the northeast, affecting 14.8 million people. The group continued to carry out attacks and small-scale raids throughout the year,” the report stated.

It however frowned at the brutal response of the government to security breaches like the Boko Haram insurgency. AI said the military carried out mass arrest of men, women and children, detained and tortured them in a dehumanising detention centre inside Giwa Barracks in Borno, where many died of diseases and starvation.

“The military arbitrarily arrested thousands of young men, women and children who fled to the safety of recaptured towns, including Banki and Bama, Borno state. These arrests were largely based on random profiling of men, especially young men, rather than on reasonable suspicion of having committed a recognizably criminal offence.

“In most cases, the arrests were made without adequate investigation. Other people were arbitrarily arrested as they attempted to flee from Boko Haram. Those detained by the military had no access to their families or lawyers and were not brought before a court. More than 1,500 detainees were released throughout the year.

“The mass arrests by the military of people fleeing Boko Haram led to overcrowding in military detention facilities. At the military detention facility at Giwa barracks, Maiduguri, cells were overcrowded. Diseases, dehydration and starvation was rife.

“At least 240 detainees died during the year. Bodies were secretly buried in Maiduguri’s cemetery by the Borno State environmental protection agency staff. Among the dead were at least 29 children and babies, aged between newborn and five years.

“At Giwa barracks, children under five were detained in three overcrowded and insanitary women’s cells, alongside at least 250 women and teenage girls per cell. Some children were born in detention.”

Unlawful killings

The report also frowned at the deployment of soldiers in situations that require the presence of the police. For instance, it berated the military and the State Security Service, SSS (also called DSS), for their treatment of pro-Biafran agitators, which reportedly left 117 people dead.

“The military deployment to police public gatherings contributed to the number of extrajudicial executions and unlawful killings. Since January, in response to the continued agitation by pro-Biafra campaigners, security forces arbitrarily arrested and killed at least 100 members and supporters of the group Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). Some of those arrested were subjected to enforced disappearance.

“On 9 February, soldiers and police officers shot at about 200 IPOB members who had gathered for a prayer meeting … in Aba, in Abia State. Video footage showed soldiers shooting at peaceful and unarmed IPOB members; at least 17 people were killed and scores injured.

“On 29 and 30 May, at least 60 people were killed in a joint security operation carried out by the army, police, Department of State Security (DSS) and navy. Pro-Biafra campaigners had gathered to celebrate Biafra Remembrance Day in Onitsha. No investigation into these killings had been initiated by the end of the year.”

Torture

The report also frowned at police torture and extrajudicial killings. AI specifically memntioned the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), of the police which it blamed for “frequently committed torture and other ill-treatment during interrogation.”

“In September, the Inspector General of the police warned SARS against committing torture and encouraged them to follow due process of law.

“On 18 May, Chibuike Edu died in police custody after he was arrested for burglary and detained for two weeks by the SARS in Enugu. The police authorities were investigating the incident; no one had been held accountable for his death at the end of the year.

“The National Assembly was yet to pass into law the anti-torture bill which seeks to further prohibit and criminalize torture. In June, it passed its first reading in the Senate. It had earlier been passed by the House of Representatives and was revised by the Nigeria Law Reform Commission. The revised version was to be debated at the Senate.”

Freedom of Association

It berated the government over the killings of hundreds of members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria and the continued detention of several others members and the leader of the Shi’ite sect, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

“Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), remained in incommunicado detention without trial since his arrest in December 2015. Between 12 and 14 December 2015, soldiers killed more than 350 protesters and supporters of IMN at two sites in Zaria, Kaduna state.

“Hundreds of IMN members were arrested and continued to be held in detention facilities in Kaduna, Bauchi, Plateau and Kano states.

“On 11 April, the Kaduna State authorities admitted to a Judicial Commission of Inquiry that they had secretly buried 347 bodies in a mass grave two days after the December 2015 massacre.

“On 15 July, the Commission presented its report to the state government indicting the Nigerian military for unlawful killings. In December, the Kaduna state government published its white paper on the report, Amnesty International Report 2016/17 281 which rejected most of the Commission’s recommendations.”

Clampdown on freedom of expression

The report also pointed out at the increasing clamp down on freedom of speech such as the increasing arrest of bloggers and journalists.

“In August, Abubakar Usman, a prominent blogger, was arrested in Abuja, the capital, by the anti-corruption agency Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and accused of contravening the Cyber Crimes Act. The Commission did not point out the specific provisions the blogger had contravened; he was released without being charged. In September, Jamil Mabai, was arrested and detained by the police for posting comments on Facebook and Twitter that were critical of the Katsina state government.

“In early September, the publisher Emenike Iroegbu was arrested in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, over alleged defamation.

“On 5 September, Ahmed Salkida, a Nigerian journalist based in the United Arab Emirates, was declared wanted by the military and later arrested by the state security services on arrival in Nigeria. He was among three people arrested and briefly detained for alleged links to Boko Haram and for facilitating the release of a Boko Haram video on the abducted Chibok girls. He was later released; his passport remained confiscated.”

The Nigerian military has condemned the AI report describing it as fabricated.


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  • westman

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  • Edwin

    Those concern should approach a lawyer and sue the military with this report.

    • Agi Gabriel

      These are people put in place to be our friend, guides and maintenance of law and order but today,
      the opposite is the case. Military men are meant for external war but today,
      it is very possible to bribe a soldier as to come and dehumanize. I
      begin to wonder if these people are really for us or against us. A
      friend of mine who was a gate keeper was killed in the year 2015 under
      SARS station; just for nothing. SARS were chasing after a criminal and
      it happens that the criminal ran into the same compound where the man
      was securing. Unluckily to him, the man was arrested and he was asked to
      provide the criminal he never see or know before. After the arrest, He was as to bail
      himself with the total sum of N500,000.00 which he could no bring and the
      young man was given thorough beaten until he gave up! I was mad but could
      do nothing by then.

      Our Military men should be trained and retrained
      to be like foreign ones. If you have ever seen where Paris/France policemen
      were safe guiding their citizen during the last year attack in Paris,
      you will forever respect their policemen but in Nigeria here, both
      Policemen, the MOPOL, the Military men, SARS are just after MONEY. They are
      just good in arresting, they are not good in investigations? I do not
      real know what kind of Force men or Uniform men we have in this black
      nation call Nigeria. See the on the road, they are collecting bribe. No single shame on their face and there is no respect for human being. Government do pay the for their services yet, they corrupt this nation with impunity. Our government is fighting the so-call war against corruption but they fail to know that Policemen are the Pillar and foundation of this crime and corruption. People cannot talk because, they are afraid of the gun. If you are killed by them, it is an accidental discharge. Government cannot even come for any investigation. It is only in Nigeria that over 800 people will be killed and nobody will talk or raise alarm. The so-call government is selfish and self-center. They don’t even care for the citizen of the country. If they truly care, how come our leader. when he get sick, he fly out of the country with our money to treat him/herself in a foreign land, is this not a corruption in the highest order. Why not build the same HOSPITAL HERE in Nigeria, Why not build the same SCHOOL here in Nigeria???

      In my locality here, once you are found
      outside watching footfall or try to stay with your colleague during
      evening time, maybe you want to take some drink or watch ball in Bar,
      you will see them coming to arrest you for nothing. They have arrested
      many and they do collect N10,000 – N20,000 from you. Once they arrest
      you, they will size your phones so that you cannot call anybody. This is
      “Inhuman”!! GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT RECRUIT ILLITERATE INTO MILITARY
      BECAUSE, THEY ARE CARELESS AND BLOODY. Whatever is written here against Nigeria is just
      a little of what is happening across the country.
      This year alone, I have been in police station for more than 5 time just
      to rescue people from the hand of policemen. Illegal arrest just to
      make money. I still pray for this nation but I strongly believe that if this inhumanity is not stop, the nation will breakout with anger one day and even the so-call force men cannot hold the country. Looking at syria civil war, this country is heading this zone because of inhumanity. The government of different level should educate his/her people now before it get out of hand. I WARN!!!

  • Impulse400

    Honestly… I am really concerned for my life and my safety, as a concerned citizen in this country.

    Government can do me anything, at anytime, and I can’t stop it from happenning.

  • Agi Gabriel

    These are people put in place to be our friend and guides but today the opposite is the case. Military men are meant for external but today, it is very possible to bribe a soldier as to come and dehumanize. I begin to wonder if these people are really for us or against us. A friend of mine who was a gate keeper was killed in the year 2015 under SARS station; just for nothing. SARS were chasing after a criminal and it happens that the criminal ran into the same compound where my the man was securing. Unluckily to him, the man was arrested and was asked to provide the criminal he never see or know before. He was as to bail himself with the sum of N500,000.00 which he could no bring and the young man was given thorough beaten until he gave up! I was mad bu could do nothing then.

    Our Military men should be trained and retrained to be like foreign once. If you have ever seen where Paris policemen were safe guiding their citizen during the last year attack in Paris, you will forever respect their policemen but in Nigeria here, both policemen, the MOPOL, the Military men are just after MONEY. They are just good in arresting, they are not good in investigations? I do not real know what kind of Force men or Uniform men we have in this black nation call Nigeria.

    In my locality here, once you are found outside watching footfall or try to stay with your colleague during evening time, maybe you want to take some drink or watch ball in Bar, you will see them coming to arrest you for nothing. They have arrested many and they do collect N10,000 – N20,000 from you. Once they arrest you, they will size your phones so that you cannot call anybody. This is “Inhuman”!! GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT RECRUIT ILLITERATE INTO MILITARY BECAUSE, THEY ARE CARELESS AND BLOODY. Whatever is written here is just a little of what is happening across the country against military men. This year alone, I have been in police station for more than 5 time just to rescue people from the hand of policemen. Illegal arrest just to make money.

  • Decimator

    Tyranny by Tyrants in the name of Governance!!! Period

    For there is in reality as we can see, no Nation called Nigeria.