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Press release: Nigeria report: Hope Betrayed ? A Report on Impunity and State Sponsored Violence in Nigeria, now available online

Communication to the press

Geneva, August 26, 2002

“Hope Betrayed ?
A Report on Impunity and State Sponsored Violence in Nigeria”

Pleack click here to download the report (this may take a few minutes!)

The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the Centre for Law Enforcement Education (CLEEN) have the pleasure of announcing the launching of their joint report on the human rights situation in Nigeria, and more particularly on the increasing spate of ethno-religious conflicts and violence that have occurred since May 29, 1999.

After one of the wildest dictatorships of its history, Nigeria has witnessed the re-establishment of democracy on May 29, 1999 which led to great expectations among the population for the country’s future. However, the last two and half years of elected civilian government in Nigeria have witnessed an alarming spate of violence and gross human rights violations. In over 50 separate and documented incidents, over 10’000 Nigerians have reportedly been victims of extra-judicial executions at an average of over 200 executions per incident. Security agents, acting in most cases on direct orders of the government, have been responsible for many of the deaths as well as accompanying rapes, maiming and torture of thousands of women, the aged, children and other defenceless civilians.

This situation, in which many Nigerians now find themselves, presents a reversal of hope from the high expectations and promises that heralded the inauguration of the elected government of President Olusegun Obasanjo. Events in Nigeria since few measured steps were taken in the first three months of the government, have shown that the government has not only failed to abide by its freely undertaken obligations under international human rights law but has also continued some of the practices that characterized the dark days of military rule when human rights violations reigned supreme.

The local and international media coverage of these incidents portrays them as ethno-religious in nature. However, our investigations show that this euphemism has helped in obscuring the visible roles of the state and its security agencies in the perpetuation of these egregious violations, thereby shielding the government from full responsibility for their occurrence and recurrence.

The report focuses on seven of such incidents selected from the six geo-political zones of the country, to show the epidemiological levels: these are the Ife-Modakeke crisis (Osun State), the Umuleri/Aguleri crisis (Anambra State), the Odi Massacre (Bayelsa State), the Kaduna crisis (Kaduna State), the Jos Crisis (Plateau State), the Benue Massacre (Benue State) and the Odukpani Killings (Cross River State). Besides these seven case studies, the report analyses the legal framework for holding government accountable, at the federal and state level, for the gross human rights violations that occurred. The report ends with recommendations to the Nigerian government, the United Nations, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group.

Pleack click here to download the report (this may take a few minutes!)

The report is also available at the International Secretariat.

For further information, please contact:
Mrs. Christine Ferrier, OMCT, 022 809 49 39
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