Among the many human rights abuses committed in Nigeria include forced displacement, torture, unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, mass rape and human trafficking. Sadly, the perpetrators of these crimes against humanity are the police as well as armed conflict groups such as Boko Haram.
The continued violence and destruction of the radical religious sect Boko Haram continues to threaten the safety of communities Maidugure and Baga in the Borno state, in northern Nigeria. Boko Haram was founded in 2002 and holds to the views that everything associated with Western society is forbidden including education, certain clothing, and voting.
Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks targeting police, government officials, religious leaders and churches, and has killed thousands of civilians. There is cause for concern that Boko Haram attacks on churches could result in the radicalization of relations between Nigeria’s Christian south and the Muslim north.
On 25 December 2011 Boko Haram was responsibility for several church bombings in which at least 49 persons were killed. After the bombings the radical terrorist group ordered all Christians to leave the north part of the country within three days or be killed. The attack and threat led to thousands fleeing from the region. The vast majority of persons fleeing the attacks by Boko Haram have ended up in camps established for internally displaced.
The market in Maiduguri has been the target of two separate attacks – in November and December 2014. At least 45 people were killed in the first attack and the second, led by two female suicide bombers, took the lives of 20 people. In the same period, a bomb was detonated in a Kano mosque in which 120 people were killed.
The most deadly attack to date by Boko Haram includes the 2 January 2015 attacks on the towns of Bago and Doron Baga. Over a period of four days, the violent group shot and hacked to death as many as 2,000 civilians and burned to the ground more than 3,700 structures. Amnesty International released satellite imagery showing the destruction.
Forced Disappearances and Kidnappings
In 2014 the group kidnapped 234 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok which led to a global outcry for the girl’s release – to no avail. There have been many reports indicating that the girls have been sold into slavery.
Rape and Human Trafficking
Violence against women and young girls is pervasive, including rape, other forms of sexual violence and human trafficking. Reports indication that the perpetrators include police and government officials, who buy young girls to be used as sex slaves, abuse them and then discard them or leave them for dead. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has established a committee to investigate reports of rape and child trafficking in some displacement camps.
Justice in Nigeria
Despite repeated pledges by President Goodluck Jonathan and other government agencies, little has been done to show progress. Prisons are over-burdened; most of the inmates are pre-trial detainees and have been held for many years. Reports indicated that there are high instances where children are being held in prisons with their parents. There is flagrant disregard for human rights and due process and police brutality with impunity is frequent.
Featured Image: Reuters