The United States Government has said despite steps taken by the Federal Government to address human rights abuses, impunity remained a significant problem in the country.
The US stated this in the executive summary of its 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, with emphasis on Nigeria. It accused the government of failing to maintain effective control over members of the armed forces and police from abusing citizens.
The report said Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) continued attacks on civilians, military, and police and that the terrorists groups even recruited and forcefully conscripted child soldiers, carried out scores of person-borne improvised explosive device attacks, many by coerced young women and girls and other attacks in the North East, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.
It said though the Nigerian armed forces are responsible for external security, with with domestic security responsibilities granted by the constitution, “the government continued to turn to the armed forces to address internal security concerns due to insufficient capacity and staffing of domestic law enforcement agencies. There were reports that members of the security forces committed human rights abuses. Civilian authorities did not always maintain effective control over the security services.”
The US report listed dominant rights abuses in the country to include unlawful and arbitrary killings by both government and non-state 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 inter-sex 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 criminalising consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults; and the worst forms of child labor.
“The government took some steps to investigate alleged abuses by police, including the Special Anti-Robbery Squad and military forces, but impunity remained a significant problem.” the report said.