Cablegate: Nigeria: Post's Response to V1 of Nigerian Hrr

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. A) STATE 15375


2. (U) The following includes the full text of the V-1 human
rights report as amended by Post. We know and did not ignore
reftel request that post only send the text of responses
keyed to the questions/comments contained in the V-1. We
have answered these questions to the best of our ability and
resources. However, due to the number of questions and
because of the additional significant edits and changes to
the V-1 text that were required to ensure its accuracy, it is
necessary to send the entire text. To assist Washington in
following the changes that post has made, we have also
emailed a "tracked" version of the document.

3. (SBU) Begin Text of Report.

Nigeria is a federal republic composed of 36 states and a
capital territory, with an elected president and a bicameral
legislature. On May 29, 1999, President Olusegun Obasanjo of
the Peoples Democratic Party was inaugurated to a 4-year term
after winning elections in February 1999 that were marred by
fraud and irregularities perpetrated by all contesting
parties. However, most observers agreed the elections
reflected the will of the majority of voters. These
elections marked the end of 16 years of military-led regimes.
The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary;
however, in practice the judicial branch remains susceptible
to executive and legislative branch pressure, is influenced
by political leaders at both the state and federal levels,
and suffers from corruption and inefficiency.

The Federal Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is tasked with law
enforcement. The Constitution prohibits local and state
police forces. Internal security is the duty of the State
Security Service (SSS). "Rapid Response Teams" remained
intact in most states. Staffed by police, these teams had a
reduced role and a less menacing presence than in previous
years. Due to the inability of the police to stem severe
communal violence on repeated occasions, The Government's
reliance on the army to quell internal disorder increased
during the year. Members of the security forces, including
the police, anticrime squads, and the armed forces committed
serious human rights abuses.

The economy, which had been in decline for much of the last
three decades, recorded modest growth of 3.8 percent during
2001. Further economic growth has been impeded by the
long-standing problems of a dilapidated infrastructure,
corruption and general economic mismanagement. Most of the
population of approximately 120 million was rural and engaged
in small-scale agriculture. The agricultural sector employed
over 65 percent of the work force but accounted for only 36
percent of gross domestic product. The agriculture and
manufacturing sectors deteriorated considerably during the
oil boom decades and years of military rule. The collapse of
market agriculture contributed significantly to the country's
urbanization and increased unemployment. Recorded gross
domestic product was $285 (N31,426) but the great bulk of
economic activity is outside the formal sector. Due to
corruption, nontransparent government contracting practices
and structural inadequacies, much of the nation's wealth
continued to be concentrated in the hands of a small elite.
During the year, petroleum accounted for over 98 percent of
the country's export revenues, most of the government's
revenues, and almost all foreign investment. The country's
ports and roads are in disrepair while water and power
infrastructures are inadequate to meet demand. However, the
Federal Government and various states have begun improving
infrastructure with some success, such as the privatization
of NITEL, the auction of two GSM licenses to private
operators, the rehabilitation of power plants and the move
towards buy-operate-transfer contracts and independent power
projects (IPPs).

Chronic fuel shortages, which afflicted the country for
several years, have been mostly alleviated by the improved
operation of domestic refineries and the recent move toward
price deregulation. Food production improved during the year
due in part to record rainfalls; however, poor transportation
infrastructure and road closures resulting from an increase
in inter-communal violence caused much agricultural produce
to be lost. During 2001, the Government made progress in
reducing controls on the private sector and increased
expenditures for key social sectors. The Government moved to
deregulate the downstream oil sector, reduced its role in
private banking institutions, eliminated the
telecommunications monopoly, and deregulated the domestic
aviation industry. Also, Government budget allocations to
education increased by 13 percent and 6 percent for recurrent
and capital expenditures respectively. Allocations for
health increased by 58 percent and 178 percent for recurrent
and capital expenditures respectively. Nevertheless, a
significant percentage of the country's population lived in
poverty and many Nigerians were subject to malnutrition.

The Government's human rights record was mixed; although in
marked improvement over the record of the preceding military
regimes, there were serious problems and abuses. Civil
liberties were mostly respected and the everyday behavior of
security forces was better than under preceding military
regimes. However, there were many instances of civilian
instigated communal violence during the year. The military
was called on to restore order in several major incidents of
civil unrest or conflict-- such as Jos, Tafawa Balewa, Kano,
Warri and in the Tiv-Jukun conflict in Benue, Nasarawa and
Taraba states -- and in many other occurrences of communal
violence of lesser magnitude. While deployment of security
forces may have contained the violence and saved lives in
many of these instances, the national police, army, and
security forces committed extrajudicial killings and often
used excessive force in quelling these episodes of civil
unrest and violence. In the year's most egregious case, army
soldiers reportedly killed approximately 200 unarmed
civilians and destroyed much of the town of Zaki Biam in
Benue State in apparent retaliation for the killing of 19
soldiers. Army, police, and security force officers regularly
beat protesters, criminal suspects, detainees, and convicted
prisoners; however, there were no reports of torture of
political dissidents. The Government continued to take steps
to curb torture and beating of detainees and prisoners
Shari'a courts sentenced persons to harsh punishments
including amputations and death by stoning. Two amputation
sentences were carried out during the year. In September, two
persons, Mohammed Wada and Adamu Idi, were found guilty of
theft and sentenced to amputation by a Shari'a court in
Katagum, Bauchi State, but the sentences were not carried
out. No sentences for stoning were implemented. Prison
conditions were harsh and life threatening, and along with
the lack of food and medical treatment, contributed to the
death of numerous inmates. At different times in the year,
the Government released several hundred prisoners in an
attempt to ease prison congestion. In May 1999, the
Government repealed the State Security (Detention of Persons)
Decree of 1984 (Decree 2), which allowed arbitrary detention
without charge; however, police and security forces continued
to use arbitrary arrest and detention. Prolonged pretrial
detention remains a major problem. The judiciary is subject
to political influence, and is hampered by corruption and
inefficiency. The judicial system often was incapable of
providing a criminal suspect a speedy, fair trial. With some
exceptions, the Government respected freedom of speech and of
the press. The Government continued to relax its restrictions
on the rights of freedom of association and assembly. The
Government occasionally restricted freedom of movement,
particularly during periods and in areas of unrest. Some
state governments, restricted freedom of religion in certain
respects. Expansion of Shari'a raised tensions in several
communities and resulted in violence in some instances. In
1999 the Government established the Human Rights Violations
Investigation Panel (HRVIP), to review cases of human rights
violations since 1966; public hearings before the panel in
Abuja, Lagos, Kano, and Port Harcourt occurred during the
year and the Panel's report is due in early 2002.

Domestic violence against women remained widespread and some
forms were sanctioned by traditional, customary, or Shari'a
law. Discrimination against women remained a problem.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) remained widely practiced,
and child abuse and child prostitution were common.
Localized discrimination and violence against religious
minorities persisted. Ethnic and regional discrimination
remained widespread and interethnic, religious, and regional
tensions increased significantly. Thousands of persons were
killed in various local communal conflicts throughout the
country. In June and July, more than 200 people were killed
in inter-communal clashes in Nasarawa State over access to
land. In September, several hundred people, mostly Muslims,
were killed in Jos. Also in October, fighting in Kano state
resulted in the deaths of approximately 100 persons initially
sparked by local street thugs, the unrest in Kano later took
on ethnic and religious overtones. Some members of the Ijaw
ethnic group in the oil-producing Niger Delta region who seek
greater local autonomy continued to commit serious abuses,
including killings and kidnappings. During the year, the
Government took steps to improve worker rights; however, some
restrictions continued. Some persons, including children,
were subjected to forced labor. Overall, child labor
continued to increase. Trafficking in persons for purposes
of forced prostitution and forced labor was a problem and
allegations of government officials' involvement were
widespread. Vigilante violence increased throughout the
country, particularly in Lagos and Onitsha, where suspected
criminals were apprehended, beaten, and sometimes killed.

During 2001, the Federal Government inaugurated the National
Action Plan for Human Rights Steering Committee (including
Ministers of Justice, Foreign Affairs, Internal Affairs,
Women and Youth Development, Labor, and Senate and House
Chairmen of the National Assembly Human Rights Committees)
and Coordinating Committee. As part of the National Action
Plan, the Committees will assess and report on human rights
in Nigeria, and make and implement recommendations to improve
human rights.
Respect for Human Rights
Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including
Freedom From

a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life

The Government did not use deadly force to repress
nonviolent, purely political activities; however, lethal
force was used when protests or demonstrations were perceived
as becoming violent or disruptive, or in the apprehension and
detention of suspected criminals. As a result, national
police, army, and security forces committed extrajudicial
killings and used excessive force to quell civil unrest in
several incidents during the year. State anticrime task
forces remained the most frequents human rights offenders.
However in most cases where abuses were committed, neither
the state anticrime task forces, the police, nor the armed
forces were held accountable for excessive, deadly use of
force or the death of individuals in custody. They operated
with impunity in the apprehension, illegal detention, and
sometimes execution of criminal suspects. Since taking
office, President Obasanjo has preferred to let the police
deal with civil disturbances, sending in military
reinforcements only when the police were unable to restore
order. The Government deployed the army numerous times
during the year to restore order after civil unrest. While
the army proved capable of restoring order, it was ill
trained to handle civil unrest and other related police work.
Due in part to this lack of training, the military committed
numerous abuses while performing this role. Multinational
oil companies and Nigerian oil producing companies
subcontract police and soldiers from area units particularly
to protect the oil facilities in the volatile Niger Delta
region. Freelance security forces and former security forces
accounted for a significant portion of the violent crime
during the year.

The police, military, and anticrime taskforce personnel
committed numerous extrajudicial killings in the apprehension
and detention of suspected criminals. Police used deadly
force against suspected vandals near oil pipelines in the
Niger Delta Region, against the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC)
vigilante group in Lagos State and, allegedly, against
participants in the Jos and Kano riots that took place in
September and October, respectively.

In February police reportedly killed 10 persons and destroyed
the headquarters of the Movement for the Actualization of the
Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) in Okigwe; several MASSOB
leaders, including Ralph Uwazuruike, were arrested (see
Section 1.d.).

Also in February, outside the main mosque in Gombe state,
police killed several persons while dispersing Muslim
protesters who reportedly were attacking and damaging
buildings, such as the police barracks. There were
unconfirmed reports that police reportedly shot and killed 22
detainees who attempted to escape from Jos prison during the
September disturbances in Jos.

In December, police and members of a militant Islamic group
clashed when the police attempted to stop the group from
holding a march in Kano. Several members of the group were
killed during the confrontation.

There were only a few instances where policemen were held to
account for their abuses. For example, three policemen in
Kogi state were sentenced to death in April by hanging after
being found guilty of theft and murder. The policemen were
accused of stopping a car, killing five persons, and stealing
the passengers' money. The sentence had not been carried out
by year's end.

During the year, ethnic and religious tensions increased in
parts of Nigeria. The Government often called on the
military when the tension turned violent. The Government
deployed the army in Jos in Plateau State to quell a major
outburst of ethno-religious violence that claimed
approximately 2300 lives before it was ended, in large part
due to the presence of the military. By October, army
troops were maintaining order in Kaduna, Jos, Tafawa Balewa,
Kano, and a significant part of eastern Benue, eastern
Nasarawa and western Taraba states. There were credible
reports that in some of these deployments, soldiers used
excessive lethal force while attempting to end the unrest.
The number of total casualties resulting from the use of
excessive force by security forces is unknown but most
sources believe that far fewer lives were lost in suppressing
the violent outbreaks than were lost during the outbreaks
However, on October 22 and 23, evidence strongly indicates
army soldiers killed approximately 200 ethnic Tiv civilians
and ransacked the town of Zaki Biam In Benue State in
retaliation for the slaying of 19 soldiers allegedly by
members of the ethnic Tiv militia. Reportedly, tens of
thousands fled the area as a result of the violence, adding
to the number of internally displaced people in that region
of the country. The Government announced the establishment of
a commission of inquiry to investigate the killings, but by
year's end the commission had not been inaugurated. Also in
October, several hours after the conclusion of a peaceful
demonstration against U.S. military action in Afghanistan,
rioting broke out in the largest marketplace in the city of
Kano. While sparked by street thugs initially, the violence
later took on religious and ethnic overtones; 100 persons
were killed and dozens of shops and cars were damaged.
Finally the army was called out to restore order. Some
citizens alleged that the army and police used excessive and
lethal force and that several deaths came at the hands of the
security forces. In November police reportedly charged more
than 200 persons in connections with the clashes.

According to Human Rights Watch, soldiers, naval personnel,
and paramilitary Mobile Police deployed in the oil and gas
regions of the Niger Delta carry out assaults and other
abuses on an ongoing basis (see Section 5). According to
Human Rights Watch, the police shot on sight suspected armed
robbers, alleged members of ethnic militia, and youths in the
Niger Delta Region accused of stealing oil and vandalizing

Confrontations between increasingly militant "youths" (who
tend to be unemployed males between the ages of 16 and 40),
oil companies, and government authorities continued during
the year. In June in the Khana local government area, mobile
police shot and killed an allegedly unarmed Ogoni man. In
July a police officer protecting oil contractors in Bayelsa
State killed a local youth, reportedly after the youth tried
to disarm him.

Violence and lethal force at police roadblocks and
checkpoints decreased during the year; however, some
instances of such violence continued. In August, the
Abakaliki police (headquarters for Ebonyi State), killed four
members of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) at a
checkpoint. The victims included the chairman of the Ishielu
Local Government, Onyebuhi Eche, Ifeanyi Nnanji, Gbonna
Odembaigwe and Uche Frank. During the year, an upsurge in
violent crime in Lagos led to an increase in the number of
roadblocks and checkpoints at major intersections, without an
increase in police misconduct or violence (see Section 2.d.)

Harsh and life threatening prison conditions and denial of
proper medical treatment contributed to the death of numerous
inmates (see Section 1.c.) Criminal suspects died from
unnatural causes while in official custody, usually as the
result of neglect and harsh treatment. There were reports
that police killed persons suspected of belonging to the
Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) if they found ceremonial cuts or
marking on the detainees' backs.

There were no reports of any investigation or action taken
against the police in Lagos, who reportedly killed 509
suspected armed robbers and injured 113 robbery suspects,
during the course of making 3,166 arrests; not all of those
killed were OPC members.

There were no developments in the May 2000 alleged killing by
security forces of a young woman who obstructed the motorcade
of Lagos Deputy Governor.

No action was taken against the members of the security
forces responsible for killing the persons in the following
cases from 2000: The August killing of a Nnamdi Azikiwe
University student; the July killing of 1 person when a
demonstration was dispersed forcibly; the July killing of 1
person when a strike was dispersed forcibly; the June
killings of 2 persons in Abuja; the June killings of five
persons for suspected vandalism; April and March killings of
28 Delta youths near oil flow stations.

The Human Rights Violations Investigation Panel (HRVIP), also
known as the Oputa Panel, continued hearings during the year
into 150 cases of killings by members of the security forces
(see Section 4.) The Panel's report is expected to be
released early in 2002. In 2000 the Civil Liberties
Organization (CLO) (a credible human rights organization)
filed a petition with the National Human Rights Commission
and the Oputa Panel concerning the 1999 death in detention of
Godfrey Opuoru. Sunday Aghedo, the Lagos state police
commissioner under whose command the death occurred, was
replaced by Mike Okiro in 1999. Despite an order from the
Oputa Panel to the police to reinvestigate the case, there
was no evidence they had done so by year's end.
The Government did not address the 1999 leveling of Odi in
Bayelsa State by federal troops. The Government did not hold
accountable any of the officers or soldiers involved in the
destruction of the town and the killing of several hundred
inhabitants; there were newspaper reports that some of the
soldiers were promoted. Trials against Keniwer Imo Neweigha,
Monday Diongoli, Timi Epengele, Onoriode David, Ebi Clifford
Saibu, Derioteidou Aganaba, Timinepre Keren, Joshua
Godspower, John Zitua, and Benson Odiowei for the alleged
murders of 12 policemen and 6 civilians that sparked the Odi
incident, were ongoing at year's end. When the prosecution
could not produce Odiowei for trial in 2000, the case was
postponed to a later date.

The prosecution of Hamza al-Mustapha, Mohammed Abacha,
Mohammed Rabo Lawal, Lateef Shofalan, Mohammed Aminu and
Sergeant Rogers Mshiella for the 1996 murder of Kudirat
Abiola, a prominent democracy activist and the wife of
Moshood Abiola, was adjourned repeatedly during the year;
defense lawyers for each individual had filed numerous
motions for adjournment in the Lagos High Court.

In 1999 the trial against former Army Chief of Staff Ishaya
Bamaiyi for the attempted murder in 1996 of Guardian
newspaper publisher Alex Ibru began. Hamza al-Mustapha,
former Lagos Police Commissioner James Danbaba, and Colonel
Jubrin Bala Yakubu, also were charged in the attempt on Ibru
but their trials were pending at year's end. All of the
defendants were being held at Kiri Kiri maximum-security
prison at year's end.

On August 19, unknown assailants shot and killed Rivers State
Assemblyman Monday Ndor outside his residence.

In December Osun State Lawmaker Odunayo Olagbaju was killed
in political violence.

On December 23 in Ibadan, Justice Minister Bola Ige was
killed in his home in what most believed as a politically
motivated assassination. By year's end, police reportedly
detained a 27-year-old man who confessed to being a member of
an eight-man gang that shot Ige in exchange for $8,960 (1
million naira). The suspect's mental state has been
questioned and he was released. There has been widespread
speculation that Ige and others were killed in connection
with the political dispute between the Osun State Governor,
Bisi Akanda, and Osun State Deputy Governor, Iyiola Omisore.

In Anambra State, the state government supported and paid the
vigilante group known as the Bakassi Boys. Like most
vigilante groups, the Bakassi Boys killed suspected criminals
rather than turn them over to police; however, in some cases,
the Bakassi Boys have chosen to mutilate alleged criminals,
rather than killing them outright. They also were accused of
harassing and threatening political opponents of the state
government. On May 29, the Bakassi Boys tortured and killed
between 25 and 36 suspected criminals in Onitsha. They
reportedly stabbed them with machetes and knives as
bystanders cheered; the victims' bodies were then set on
fire. In July members of the Bakassi Boys hacked to death
four suspected armed robbers in Imo state.

There also were numerous reports of street mobs apprehending
and killing suspected criminals. The practice of
"necklacing" criminals (placing a gasoline-soaked tire around
a victim's neck or torso and then igniting it, burning the
victim to death) caught in the act occurred in several

In early April in Osun State, mobs lynched approximately 12
persons accused of making genital organs disappear. In one
incident on April 6, a resident reportedly announced that his
penis had disappeared while members of an Evangelical
Christian group were preaching door-to-door; an angry mob
descended on the evangelists and burned eight of them to

On October 4, 4 persons were killed and 19 were injured
critically during violent clashes between supporters of the
All People's Party (APP) and People's Democratic Party (PDP)
in Gusau, Zamfara State.

In addition to the incidences of ethno-religious violence in
Jos, Kano and Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States, there were
other incidents were citizens lost their lives due in
communal fighting. On November 3 and 4, at least 10 persons
reportedly were killed in Gwantu, Kaduna state. In this
instance, the formal institution of a modified form of
criminal shari'a law in Kaduna State added to the tension
long present in a feud between two rival local leaders that
was the primary spark of the unrest.

In Taraba State a dispute between Fulani herders and Tiv
farmers reportedly resulted in eight deaths. In December,
competition over land use between ethnic Hausa-Fulani herders
and ethnic Birom farmers turned violent and resulted in at
least 30 and perhaps as many as 90 deaths, mainly

Communal violence in the Niger Delta decreased during the
year, but ethnic rivalries and disputes between local
communities over resources still led to deadly clashes. In
July fighting between the Akaeze and Osso Edda communities in
Ebonyi State resulted in the deaths of 27 persons.

In the Kalabari region of Rivers State, between 20 and 100
persons were killed in fighting among three Ijaw communities:
the Bille and Krakrama.

In the east, violent border disputes between Cross River and
Akwa Ibom states continued during the year.

In Lagos State, the vigilante group known as the OPC clashed
repeatedly with the police over their protection of Yoruba
neighborhoods and over political issues. The OPC continued to
function as a vigilante anti-crime force despite President
Obasanjo's "shoot-on-sight" order issued against them in
1999. During the year, there were fewer OPC vigilante
killings than in previous years, but OPC-related violence did
occur. On August 16, the OPC reportedly beheaded four
suspected robbers and set their bodies on fire in Lagos
state. The OPC also reportedly crucified a man in the
Surelere district of Lagos

In August Ganiyu Adams, a leader of the OPC, was arrested and
charged in Lagos state with murder and robbery; Adams had
been wanted by the police since 1999 riots sparked by the
OPC. In September, the OPC announced that it would stop its
vigilante activities. In October, Adams again was arrested
and charged with murder, stealing, robbery, and illegal
possession of firearms; on October 30, he was released on $85
(20,000 naira) bail.

During the year, members of student organizations, commonly
known as cults, occasionally killed students from rival

Killings carried out by organized gangs of armed robbers
remained commonplace throughout the year. A gang of at least
30 armed robbers reportedly killed 22 residents in the town
of Awkuzu on July 28, allegedly in retaliation for the
executions of suspected criminals by the Bakassi Boys earlier
in the year.

b. Disappearance

There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances
during the year; however, in 2000 the OPC charged that the
police were responsible for the disappearance of at least two
of its members.

Members of minority ethnic groups in the oil-producing areas
kidnapped foreign and local oil company employees to press
their demands for more redistribution of wealth generated by
joint ventures with the state-controlled petroleum
corporation and for specific projects in their areas. In all
instances the victims were released unharmed after
negotiations between the captors and the oil firms; the firms
usually paid ransoms and promised improved conditions.

In addition to the political rationale for kidnapping, there
were numerous instances of strictly criminal kidnapping, in
which the perpetrators' sole objective was ransom for the
release of the victims. During the year, there were a
greater number of kidnappings by criminals to extort money
than for "political" reasons. Some kidnappings, particularly
in the Delta, appear to have been part of longstanding ethnic
disputes over resources. Due to limited manpower and
resources, the police and armed forces rarely were able to
confront the perpetrators of these acts, especially in the
volatile Delta region. A lack of resources prevented
judicial investigations from taking place so that kidnappings
routinely were left uninvestigated.

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment
or Punishment

The Constitution prohibits such abuses, and the law provides
for punishment for such abuses; however, during the year,
army, police, and security force officers regularly beat
protesters, criminal suspects, detainees, and convicted
prisoners. Police regularly physically mistreated civilians
in attempts to extort money from them. The law prohibits the
introduction into trials of evidence obtained through torture.

Different versions of criminal Islamic Shari'a law were in
place in 12 northern states by year's end (see Section 1.e.).
Shari'a courts delivered "hadd" sentences such as amputation
for theft, caning for fornication and public drunkenness, and
death by stoning. Appellate courts have yet to decide
whether any of these punishments constituted "torture or...
inhuman or degrading treatment" as stipulated in the
Constitution. Caning as a punishment under Nigerian common
law, the Northern Nigerian Penal Code, and Shari'a law has
not been challenged successfully in the court system prior to
the introduction of Shari'a law as a violation of the cruel
and inhuman punishment clause in the Constitution. Stoning
and amputation also have not been challenged under the
Constitution. There were two amputations carried out during
the year despite a larger number of sentences. Shari'a
courts handed down their first death sentences during the
year. As with the common law criminal courts, indigent
persons without legal representation were more likely to have
their sentences carried out immediately upon being sentenced
(there is a period of appeal granted to all accused). The
Federal Government has instituted a panel of legal scholars
to draft a uniform Shari'a criminal statute to replace
divergent Shari'a statutes adopted by the states.

In September an Islamic court in Kebbi state sentenced a man
to be stoned to death for sodomizing a 7-year-old boy (see
Section 5). The sentence has not been carried out and he is
still in custody.

On May 3, Lawal Isa had his right hand amputated in Zamfara
for stealing three bicycles. On July 6, the right hand of
Umaru Aliyu was amputated in Sokoto for the theft of a goat.
In July a Shari'a court in Kebbi state sentenced a
15-year-old boy to amputation of one of his hands for
stealing $286 (32,000 naira) from a businessman. In August a
Shari'a court in Zamfara state sentenced Amina Abdullahi to
100 lashes for having an extramarital affair.

Bariya Ibrahim Magazu, a 17-year-old girl, was given 100 cane
strokes in January, following her September 2000 conviction
of fornication and slander. She also was sentenced to an
additional 80 lashes for naming in court but not being able
to prove paternity of the child; however, the additional 80
lashes were not administered. Prior to the execution of the
sentence, Baobab, a Nigerian human rights NGO, filed an
appeal on her behalf.

In Sokoto, Safiya Husseini was convicted of adultery in
September by a local Shari'a court which found her pregnancy
to be conclusive proof of adultery. She was not married at
the time of her pregnancy. Husseini was sentenced to death
by stoning, but the sentence was not executed by year's end
and has been stayed pending the appeal she filed challenging
the legal basis for the decision under Islamic law. Two
domestic human rights organizations condemned the death
sentence, and an international NGO asked President Obasanjo
to intercede in the matter.

Shari'a criminal law does not provide for amputation as the
punishment for persons convicted of misappropriating public
funds. Rather, the faithful are called upon to ostracize
persons so convicted.
Hamza Al Mustapha, Muhammed Rabo Lawal, Lateef Shofolahan,
Mohammed Aminu, Col. Yakubu, Ishaya Bamaiyi, James Danbaba
and Rogers Mshiella were detained and charged with the 1996
attempted murder of Guardian newspaper publisher Alex Ibru;
however, the case was postponed during most of 2001 after
Bamaiyi and Mustapha were summoned to appear before the

No action was taken against army personnel responsible for
rapes and other abuses in Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers states as
reported in 1999.

After the November 1999 release of Jerry Needam, Editor of
the Ogoni Star newspaper, the Government representatives
failed to appear in court for any hearings relating to his
case. Police reportedly beat Needam, forced him to sign a
confession, and did not allow him access to medical treatment
during his detention in 1999.

In a few instances during the year, Security forces beat and
detained journalists who made unfavorable news reports. (see
Section 2.a.).

In the numerous ethnic clashes that occurred throughout the
year (see Sections 1.a. and 5), thousands of persons were
beaten or injured severely. Police and security forces,
failing to respond to these and most other criminal acts in a
timely manner, were slow to protect civilians caught in
unrest in Plateau, Kaduna, Kano, Benue states and in other
areas of Nigeria. Generally, the police lacked the resources
and training to control criminals and mobs that fomented
civil unrest. (see Sections 1.a. and 1.b.)

On January 1, an Islamic vigilante group known as Hisbah
reportedly caned in public a Christian trader 80 times after
he was found with a bottle of gin.

The HRVIP or the Oputa Panel heard several cases during the
year (see Sections 1.a. and 4).

On January 26, seven women of the Ogoni ethnic minority
appeared before the HRVIP and accused soldiers of the Rivers
State Internal Security of raping them in 1993 and 1994.

In February Ohaneze Ndigbo, an Igbo cultural organization,
asked the HRVIP to investigate atrocities, including pogroms,
genocide, mistreatment of refugees and war prisoners, and
bombing of civilian targets, allegedly committed against
Igbos between 1966 and 1970.

Prison and detention conditions remained harsh and life
threatening. Most prisons were built 70 to 80 years ago and
lack functioning basic facilities. Lack of potable water,
inadequate sewage facilities, and severe overcrowding
resulted in unhealthy and dangerous sanitary conditions.
Many prisons held 200 to 300 percent more persons than they
were designed to hold. The Government acknowledged the
problem of overcrowding as the main cause of the harsh
conditions common in the prison system. According to
government sources, approximately 45,000 inmates were held in
a system of 148 prisons (and 83 satellite prisons) with a
maximum designed capacity of 33,348 prisoners. Some human
rights groups estimate a higher number of inmates*-perhaps
as many as 47,000 (see Section 1.d.). Several times in 2000
authorities attempted to ease congestion in some smaller
prisons. For example, in honor of the Eid-El-Kabir in March
2000, the Governor of Kano State released 159 prisoners, 52
of whom were pretrial detainees held without charge. Those
released also were provided with travel funds to return to
their homes. In 2001, the Governor of Kaduna State, on the
recommendation of a state court judge, made a similar release
of prisoners. During March 2001, the Chairman of the
National Human Rights Commission visited Owerri Prison in Imo
State. According to NHRC reporting, 90 percent of those in
prison were awaiting trial. Multiple adjournments in some
cases had led to serious delays. The NHRC urged the courts,
Ministry of Justice and the police to hasten the expedition
of the cases awaiting trial.

In December, five teenagers were released from Suleja prison,
in Niger State, through the help of local NGOs.

Disease was pervasive in the cramped, poorly ventilated
facilities, and chronic shortages of medical supplies were
reported. Prison inmates were allowed outside their cells
for recreation or exercise only irregularly, and many inmates
had to provide their own food. Only those with money or
whose relatives brought food regularly had sufficient food;
petty corruption among prison officials made it difficult for
money provided for food to reach prisoners. Poor inmates
often relied on handouts from others to survive. Beds or
mattresses were not provided to many inmates, forcing them to
sleep on concrete floors, often without a blanket. Prison
officials, police, and security forces often denied inmates
food and medical treatment as a form of punishment or to
extort money from them. Harsh conditions and denial of
proper medical treatment contributed to the deaths of
numerous prisoners. A reputable human rights organization
estimated in 1999 that at least one inmate died per day in
the Kiri Kiri prison in Lagos alone. According to the
Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA) a
nongovernmental organization (NGO), dead inmates promptly are
buried on the prison compounds, usually without notifying
their families. A nationwide estimate of the number of
inmates who die daily in the country's prisons is difficult
to obtain because of poor record keeping by prison officials.
PRAWA and other NGO's alleged that prison conditions were
worse in rural areas than in urban districts.

In practice women and juveniles are held with male prisoners,
especially in rural areas. The extent of abuse in these
conditions is unknown. In most case, women who commit minor
offenses are released on bail, while women who commit major
offenses are detained. There is no formalized procedure
regarding the separation of detainees and convicted
prisoners. Rather the method of confinement depends wholly
on the capacity of the facility. Therefore, due to space
constraints detainees are often housed with convicted

In 2000 President Obasanjo directed the Ministry of Justice
to create a judicial administration committee to address the
questions of overcrowding, prison conditions, and

In 2001, the National Human Rights Commission began working
with the Ministry of Justice and the Legal Resources
Consortium to draft a new Prisons Bill to conform with
minimum standard rules of prisons practice and provisions of
the United Nations. The NHRC has also urged the Federal
Government and police against detaining persons in civil

During the year, the Government allowed international and
domestic NGO's, including PRAWA and the International
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), regular access to prisons;
however, it did not allow them continuous access to all
prisons. PRAWA and the ICRC publish newsletters on their
work. The Government admits that there are problems with its
incarceration and rehabilitation programs and worked with
groups such as these to address those problems. However,
groups such as Rotary International report difficulties at
the local level in gaining access to prisons and jails to do
rehabilitation programs.

In August local media reported that the Inspector General of
the police decided to transfer all current members of the
Lagos-based Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) known as the
"Scorpions." Reportedly there had been numerous allegations
against SARS officers for corruption, including aiding and
abetting crime groups.

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The Constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention;
however, security forces generally did not observe these
prohibitions. Police and security forces continued to use
arbitrary arrest and detention.

Police and security forces were empowered to make arrests
without warrants if they believed that there was reason to
suspect that a person had committed an offense; they often
abused this power. Under the Fundamental Rights Enforcement
Procedures Rules of the Constitution, police may arrest and
detain persons for 24 hours before charging them with an
offense. The law requires an arresting officer to inform the
accused of charges at the time of arrest and to take the
accused persons to a station for processing within a
reasonable amount of time. By law police must provide
suspects with the opportunity to engage counsel and post
bail. However, police generally did not adhere to legally
mandated procedures. Suspects routinely were detained
without being informed of the charges, denied access to
counsel and family members, and denied the opportunity to
post bail for bailable offenses. Detainees often were kept
incommunicado for long periods of time. The provision of
bail was often arbitrary or subject to extra-judicial
influence. In many parts of the country, there was no
functioning system of bail, resulting in many suspects being
held in investigative detention for sustained periods.
Numerous suspects alleged that police demanded payment before
they were taken to court to have their cases heard. If
family members attend court proceedings, an additional
payment often is demanded by police.

In August, security agents arrested and detained for 27 days
without charge Sheik Yakubu Musa, a Katsina-based Islamic
scholar; the Abuja High Court later ordered his release.

Human Rights Watch reported that the police arrested hundreds
of MASSOB and detained many without charge; MASSOB leader
Ralph Uwazuruike was arrested several times during the year.
In 2000 the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights
reported that 302 OPC members were arrested following clashes
with the police in Lagos. Of those detainees, 95 were
released in 2000. The remaining detainees were not able to
obtain legal representation and either could not make bail or
were not eligible for bail due to the charges brought against

Security forces temporarily detained journalists in a few
instances during the year. (see Section 2.a.).

Students in general are no longer singled out for arrest
because of political activities; however, many students were
detained during the year for allegedly taking part in cult or
criminal activities on university campuses.

No information was available during the year about the Ogoni
activists who were arrested in 2000.

On March 23, police in Gombe arrested 19 reportedly peaceful
persons for unlawful assembly (see Section 2.c.)

Lengthy pretrial detention remained a serious problem.
According to the Constitution, persons charged with offenses
have the right to an expeditious trial; however, in practice
this right was not respected. Serious backlogs, endemic
corruption, and undue political influence continued to hamper
the judicial system (see Section 1.e.). The
Controller-General of prisons estimated that two-thirds of
prisoners are detainees awaiting trial who have not been
charged (see Section 1.c.). In January the Minister of State
for Internal Affairs reportedly said that there were 45,000
inmates in the Nigerian prison system, 75 percent of who were
awaiting trial. Many of the pretrial detainees held without
charge had been detained for periods far longer than the
maximum allowable sentence for the crimes for which they were
being held. Police cited their inability to securely
transport detainees to trial on scheduled trial dates as one
reason why so many detainees were denied trial.

Persons who happen to be in the vicinity of a crime when
committed are at times held for interrogation for periods
ranging from a few hours to several months. After their
release, those detained frequently are asked to return
repeatedly for further questioning. Police continued the
practice of placing relatives and friends of wanted suspects
in detention without criminal charge to induce suspects to
surrender to arrest. There were reports that Imo state prison
officials work with some pretrial detainees to blackmail
those who knowingly or unknowingly purchased stolen goods
from the detainees. These persons, usually prominent
individuals residing in larger cities such as Abuja and
Lagos, are remanded to Imo state custody and told that they
also will be prosecuted for the transfer of stolen goods;
however, if they pay a bribe, they are released as is the
pretrial detainee who colluded with the prison officials.

There were no reports of political detainees during the year.

In 2000, Ismaila Gwarzo, the national security advisor to
former Head of State General Sani Abacha, was placed under
house arrest without any charges being brought.

The Constitution prohibits the expulsion of citizens, and the
Government does not use forced exile. Many citizens who had
lived abroad due to fear of persecution under previous
military regimes continued to return to the country during
the year.

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial

The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary;
however, in practice, the judiciary remained subject to
executive and legislative branch pressure, was influenced by
political leaders at both the state and federal levels, and
suffered from corruption and inefficiency. Understaffing,
underfunding, inefficiency, and corruption continued to
prevent the judiciary from functioning adequately. Citizens
encountered long delays and frequent requests from judicial
officials for small bribes in order to expedite cases.

Under the Constitution, the regular court system is composed
of federal and state trial courts, state appeals courts, the
Federal Court of Appeal, and the Federal Supreme Court.
There also are Shari'a (Islamic) and customary (traditional)
courts of appeal for each state and for the Federal Capital
Territory (Abuja). Courts of the first instance include
magistrate or district courts, customary or traditional
courts, Shari'a courts, and for some specified cases, the
state high courts. The nature of the case usually determines
which court has jurisdiction. In principle customary and
Shari'a courts have jurisdiction only if both plaintiff and
defendant agree. However, in practice, preference, fear of
legal costs, delays, and distance to alternative venues
encouraged many litigants to choose the customary and Shari'a
courts over the regular venues. Shari'a courts, which have
begun to function in 12 northern states, carried out two
amputations during the year (see Section 1.c.)

Criminal justice procedures call for trial within 3 months of
arraignment for most categories of crimes. Understaffing of
the judiciary, inefficient administrative procedures, petty
extortion, bureaucratic inertia, poor communication between
police and prison officials, and inadequate transportation
continued to result in considerable delays, often stretching
to several years, in bringing suspects to trial (see Section

Trials in the regular court system are public and generally
respect constitutionally protected individual rights in
criminal cases, including a presumption of innocence, the
right to be present, to confront witnesses, to present
evidence, and to be represented by legal counsel. However,
there is a widespread perception that judges easily are
bribed or "settled," and that litigants cannot rely on the
courts to render impartial judgements. Most prisoners are
poor and cannot afford to pay the costs associated with
moving their trials forward, and as a result they remain in
prison. Wealthier defendants employ numerous delaying
tactics and in many cases used financial inducements to
persuade judges to grant numerous continuances. This, and
similar practices, clogged the court calendar and prevented
trials from starting.

Many courts are understaffed, and personnel underpaid.
Judges frequently fail to appear for trials, often because
they are pursuing other means of income. In addition court
officials often lack the proper equipment, training, and
motivation to perform their duties, again due in no small
part to their inadequate compensation.

There are no legal provisions barring women or other groups
from testifying in civil court or giving their testimony less
weight; however, the testimony of women and non-Muslims
usually is accorded less weight in Shari'a courts (see
Section 5).

The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) and
the Saro-Wiwa family continued to petition President
Obasanjo, the Minister of Justice, and the Oputa Human Rights
panel to reverse the verdict of the Auta Tribunal that
convicted Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni-9 in October 1995. At
year's end, the Government had not responded to the two year
old appeal to clear the names of Saro-wiwa and the Ogoni
activists, who were executed by the regime of Sani Abacha in
November 1995.

There were no reports of political prisoners.

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home or

The Constitution prohibits such actions; however, although
government authorities generally respect these prohibitions,
authorities continued at times to infringe on these rights.

Police and security forces continued the practice of placing
relatives and friends of wanted suspects in detention without
criminal charge to induce suspects to surrender to arrest.
There were calls by human rights groups for the police to end
the practice.

Although the expanded Shari'a laws technically do not apply
to Christians, the Christian minority, especially in Zamfara
and Sokoto states, was subjected to many of the social
provisions of the law, such as the separation of the sexes in
public transportation vehicles (a law that was repealed after
only 2 weeks), and in health facilities, the segregation by
gender of school children, and bans on the selling of alcohol
(see Section 2.c.). At least on Christian was punished for
violating Shari'a laws (see Section 1.c.)

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the
press, and the Government generally respected these rights;
however, there were problems in some areas.
The Government owns and controls some publications; however,
there is a large and vibrant private domestic press that
frequently is critical of the Government. There are two
national, government-owned daily newspapers in English, the
New Nigerian and the Daily Times. The New Nigerian publishes
an additional Hausa edition. Several states own daily or
weekly newspapers that also are published in English. They
tend to be produced poorly, have limited circulation, and
require large state subsidies to continue operating. By the
end of 2000, five major daily newspapers, one newsmagazine,
and several sensational evening newspapers and tabloid
publications had begun publication. Two new newspapers
began publication in 2001.

On May 26, 1999, in the last days of Abubakar regime, Decree
60 was signed into law and created the Nigerian Press
Council, which was charged with the enforcement of
professional ethics and the sanctioning of journalists who
violated these ethics. The decree, which virtually made
members of the council employees of the Government, also
contained a number of provisions inimical to the operation of
a free press. Among other provisions, Decree 60 gave the
Press Council the power to accredit and register journalists
and the power to suspend journalists from practicing. Decree
60 required that publications be registered by the Council
annually through a system entitled "Documentation of
Newspapers." The penalties for practicing without meeting the
Council's standards were a fine of $2,200 (250,000 Naira) or
imprisonment for a term not to exceed 3 years. The decree
also empowered the Council to approve a code of professional
and ethical conduct to guide the press and to ensure
compliance by journalists. Under the decree, publishers were
expected to send a report of the performance of their
publications to the Council; failure to do so was an offense
that carried a fine of $900 (100,000 naira). The Nigerian
Press Council opened an office and hired staff in Abuja;
however, it did not take any official action during the year.
Many journalists believe that the existence of the decree
and the Council are significant limitations on freedom of the

Editors report that government security officers sometimes
visit or call to demand information about a story or source;
however, journalists and editors no longer fear suspension or
imprisonment for their editorial decisions for failing to
comply with such demands. State broadcasters and journalists
remain important tools for civilian governors; these
officials use the state-owned media to showcase the state's
accomplishments and to promote their own political fortunes.

During the year, there were a few cases of threats against
and attacks on the press. In April, police beat a
photographer and destroyed the film in his camera when he
attempted to photograph a suspect leaving the Lagos High

In May, Imo State security personnel raided newsstands where
they seized and burned publications that carried stories on
activities of MASSOB, a group advocating revival of the
Biafran Republic.

In June police arrested, detained, and charged with libel
Nnamdi Onyeuma, editor of weekly magazine Glamour Trends, in
connection with a story alleging that President Obasanjo
received a $1 million allowance for each of his many foreign
trips. Onyeuma was released on bail awaiting court action at
year's end.

During the year, governors from Kano, Imo, and Zamfara states
were involved in disputes with journalists and publicly
threatened the media. State governments also have threatened
and detained journalists who have criticized their policies.
For example, a journalist temporarily lost his accreditation
to cover the State House in Imo State because of an article
critical of the Governor's wife.
Because newspapers and television are relatively expensive
and literacy levels are low, radio remains the most important
medium of mass communication and information. There is a
national radio broadcaster, the Federal Radio Corporation of
Nigeria, which broadcasts in English, Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo,
and other languages; 51 state radio stations broadcast in
English and local languages. There were six private radio
stations operating during the year. No new private radio
licenses were issued during the year by the National
Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the body responsible for the
deregulation and monitoring of the broadcast media. Ten
applications pending from 1999 still were awaiting NBC
approval at year's end.
International broadcasters, principally the Voice of America
(VOA) and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), as well as
Deutsche Welle and others, broadcast in English and Hausa and
are an important source of news in the country.

In January police beat, arrested and detained Igha Oghole, a
journalist with Radio Benue, Makurdi, after he insisted on
conducting a scheduled interview with the police commissioner
rather than interviewing his subordinate.

The National Television Station, NTA, is federally owned,
while 30 states also operate television stations. There are
nine privately owned television stations that broadcast
domestic news and political commentary. There are two
private satellite television services. The law requires
local television stations to limit programming from other
countries to 40 percent and restricts the foreign content of
satellite broadcasting to 20 percent, but the Government does
not restrict access to, or reception of, international cable
or satellite television.

The NBC threatened to take private television and radio
stations off the air when the stations refused to pay 2.5
percent of their gross income to the NBC; the Independent
Broadcasters Association of Nigeria (IBAN) challenged the
fees in court. In October the Federal Government set the
annual fee for the broadcasters at $1,300 (N150,000). During
the year, the NBC also prevented the commissioning of the
Here and There television station in Oyo State, ruling that
the original license had expired. The NBC also challenged
expansion plans by African Independent Television (AIT), a
part of Daar Communications, claiming that AIT's global and
terrestrial licenses do not allow them to act as a network.

While private television and radio broadcasters remained
economically viable on advertising revenues alone, despite
the restrictions that the Government imposed on them,
government-sponsored broadcasters complained that government
funding and advertising were inadequate for their needs.

Since the 1999 elections, foreign journalists who sought to
enter the country to cover political developments generally
have been able to obtain visas, and many of the obstacles
that previously frustrated foreign journalists were removed.
Officials within the Ministry of Information became more
accommodating to requests from foreign journalists.

The Government did not restrict Internet access, although
unreliable and costly telephone service limited access and
hindered service providers. NITEL, the Nigerian PTT,
competed with dozens of privately owned Internet service
providers (ISP's). All other ISP's were owned privately.

The Government continued to take concrete steps to address
the problems in the education sector and to restore academic
freedom. In 1999 Obasanjo approved the establishment of four
new private universities, but the quality of secondary
education generally remained low. Student groups alleged that
numerous strikes, inadequate facilities, and the rise of
cultism (or gangs) on campuses continue to hamper educational
progress. On several occasions during the year, protests by
students resulted in harassment and arrest by police forces.
(See Section 1.d.)

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution provides for freedom of assembly, and the
Government generally respected this right, although some
limits remained.

The Government continued to nominally require organizers of
outdoor public functions to apply for permits, although both
government authorities and those assembling often ignored
this requirement. The Government retained legal provisions
banning gatherings whose political, ethnic, or religious
content might lead to unrest. Open-air religious services
away from places of worship remained prohibited in many
states due to religious tensions in these parts of the
country. For example, various northern states, including
Plateau, Kano, Zamfara, and Kaduna, banned public gatherings
immediately following periods of unrest, but they did so in
consultation with a number of religious and traditional
groups, and local governments in order to prevent a
recurrence of unrest. In September Kaduna state government
extended its ban on processions, rallies, demonstrations, and
meetings in public places in order to prevent repetition of
the violence that followed the announcement of the enactment
of Shari'a law in 2000 (see Sections 1.a. and 2.c.)

In September a political rally in Zamfara State turned
violent, prompting a temporary ban on public political
rallies in the state. On October 31, the Ondo state
government banned open-air religious meetings by both
Christians and Muslims in a bid to prevent religious violence
(see Section 5). In October, a security forces committee
banned all political, cultural, and religious meetings in
Plateau state following ethno-religious clashes in the Jos,
the state capital (see Section 5).

In December in Rivers State, police dispersed a rally of the
National Youth Council of Ogoni People because the group
reportedly had not received authorization to hold the
demonstration. In October the police banned for security
reasons a PDP rally scheduled to take place in Sokoto on
October 4 and 5. In July the police banned the meeting of a
group known as the Fourth Dimension, led by former Vice
President Augustus Aikhomu, because of violence that occurred
at a prior meeting in Benin City. In March the Government
banned a seminar on Islamic law that was planned in Zaria. In
May police cancelled a planned meeting of southern governors
in Enugu, reportedly because the meeting was "capable of
creating disharmony." Police regularly disrupt meetings of
the OPC, and maintain a ban on the organization.

The Constitution provides for the right to associate freely
with other persons in political parties, trade unions, or
special interest associations, and the Government generally
respected this right in practice; however, there were
exceptions. Although the Constitution allows the free
formation of political parties, only three parties were
registered with the INEC. The Constitution requires parties
to have membership in two-thirds of the country's 36 states.

c. Freedom of Religion

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, including
freedom to change one's religion or belief, and freedom to
manifest and propagate one's religion or belief in worship,
teaching, practice, and observance; however, the Government
restricted these rights in certain respects. The
implementation of an expanded version of Shari'a law in 12
northern states continued, which challenged constitutional
protections for religious freedom and occasionally sparked
inter-religious violence.

The Constitution prohibits state and local governments from
adopting an official religion; however, some Christians have
alleged that Islam has been adopted as the de facto state
religion of several northern states, given the reintroduction
of Shari'a criminal law, and the continued use of state
resources to fund the construction of mosques, the teaching
of Alkalis (Muslim judges), and pilgrimages to Mecca (Hajj).
However, state funds also are used to fund Christian
pilgrimages to Jerusalem. In general states with a clear
Christian or Muslim majority explicitly favor the majority
faith. There are 36 states in the country; governors have
autonomy in decision making but derive their resources from
the federal Government. Both the federal and state
governments are involved in religious matters, including the
regulation of mandatory religious instruction in public
schools, subsidized construction of churches and mosques,
state-sponsored participation in the Hajj, and pilgrimages to
Jerusalem. Approximately half of the population is Muslim,
about 40 percent Christian, and about 10 percent practice
traditional indigenous religion or no religion.

On November 2, Kaduna state implemented a modified version of
Shari'a law. Islamic punishments are not being incorporated
into the criminal code in Kaduna, as has happened in several
other northern states.
The Constitution provides that states may elect to use
Islamic (Shari'a) customary law and courts. Until the
reintroduction of criminal Shari'a by Zamfara State in
January 2000, the jurisdiction of Shari'a courts, which are
part of the regular court system, had been limited to family
or personal law cases involving Muslims, or to civil disputes
between Muslims who consent to the courts' jurisdiction.
However, the Constitution states that a Shari'a court of
appeal may exercise "such other jurisdiction as may be
conferred upon it by the law of the State." Some states have
interpreted this language as granting them the right to
expand the jurisdiction of existing Shari'a courts to include
criminal matters (see Section 1.e.). In October 1999,
Zamfara state passed laws establishing Shari'a courts and
courts of appeal, and another bill that constituted the
Shari'a penal code; the bills took effect on January 27,
2000. Zamfara adopted traditional Shari'a in its entirety,
with the exception that apostasy was not criminalized. After
the adoption of Shari'a in Zamfara, other northern states
began to implement forms of expanded Shari'a. By year's end
12 northern states had adopted variations of Shari'a law --
Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Jigawa,
Yobe, and Bauchi, Borno and Gombe. Adherence to the new
Shari'a provisions is compulsory for Muslims in some states
and optional in others. Previously Shari'a law had been
practiced in the north in the areas of personal law, only if
both litigants agreed to settle their disputes in Shari'a
courts. Elements of Shari'a also had been present in the
northern penal code, which had been applicable in the north
since independence.

The Constitution also provides that the federal Government is
to establish a Federal Shari'a Court of Appeal and Final
Court of Appeal; however, the Government had not yet
established such courts by the end of the period covered by
this report.

Although religious belief or adherence is not required for
membership in registered political parties, in May 2001, the
Zamfara state house assembly suspended for 3 months two of
its Muslim members, Ibrahim Musa Murai and Abdullahi Majidadi
Kurya, for not supporting bills introduced by the governor.
They were accused of not showing full support for a
compulsory closing of businesses, schools, and hospitals
during Friday prayers and an enforced zakkat (alms) payment
to assist the needy.

Christian and Islamic groups planning to build new churches
or mosques are required to register with the Corporate
Affairs Commission (CAC). The law requires that such groups
name a board of trustees, place a notice of the group's
intent to organize in three nationwide newspapers, and send
trustee information to the CAC. If no objections are
received, the group can proceed with its meetings. This law
was put into effect to stem the proliferation of new
buildings in the absence of zoning laws, to resolve legal
questions arising from disputes over church ownership and
control, to provide a single registry for government
reference in the event that compensation is demanded
following civil disturbances, and to allow for legal
solemnization of marriages. The CAC did not deny
registration to any religious group during the year; however,
some religious groups experienced delays in obtaining
permission from local zoning boards to build houses of

Although distribution of religious publications remained
generally unrestricted, the Government continued to enforce
lightly a ban on published religious advertisements. There
were reports by Christians in Zamfara state that the state
government restricted the distribution of religious
(Christian) literature. Similar discrimination against the
use of state-owned media for Muslim programming was reported
in the south.

The Government continued to enforce a ban on the existence of
religious organizations on campuses of primary schools,
although individual students retain the right to practice
their religion in recognized places of worship. According to
the Constitution, students are not required to receive
instruction relating to a religion other than their own;
however, public school students throughout the country were
subjected to mandatory Islamic or Christian religious
instruction. Islamic studies are mandatory in public schools
in Zamfara and other northern states, to the exclusion of
Christianity. State authorities claim that students are
permitted to decline to attend these classes or to request a
teacher of their own religion to provide alternative
instruction; however, in practice the dominant religion of
the state is taught in the school, and students cannot use
these other mechanisms. There are reports that Christianity
is taught in the same manner in Enugu and Edo states, and
that Muslim students cannot access Koranic teaching in the
public schools. During the period covered by this report,
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) leaders volunteered to
place teachers of Christianity in Zamfara and Sokoto state
schools, where students alleged that they were being forced
to take courses in Islamic religious knowledge in order to
graduate. Governors of both states accepted the offer of
assistance and stated that they had not been aware of the
problem; however, CAN did not provide any teachers in either
state during the year. They indicated that schools in rural
areas may not have qualified teachers of Biblical or
Christian education classes, and that students in such
schools have a right to opt out of Koranic knowledge classes,
which otherwise would be required.

The law prohibits religious discrimination; however, reports
were common that government officials discriminated against
persons practicing a religion different from their own,
notably in hiring or awarding contracts.

Christians in the predominantly Muslim northern states also
alleged that local government officials used zoning
regulations to stop or slow the establishment of new
Christian churches. Officials have responded that many of
these new churches are being formed in traditionally
residential neighborhoods that were not zoned for religious
purposes. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) offices
in Zamfara and Sokoto states alleged that local authorities
there delayed or denied to Christians certificates of
occupancy (CO's), which are required to show title to land.
For example, the Catholic Church in Zamfara state has been
unable to retake possession of a clinic that was confiscated
during a period of military rule in the 1970's. Renewal of
the CO for the church building was approved; however, the
Church has been unable to obtain a CO to reoccupy the clinic
building and the adjoining land. Zamfara and Sokoto state
officials denied that discrimination was behind the cases
cited by CAN. State officials said the certification boards
were dealing with a large backlog of cases for all persons,
regardless of religious faith.

As the result of ethnic and religious violence related to the
expansion of Shari'a criminal law in various states, (see
Section 5), several state governments banned public
proselytizing, although it is permitted by the Constitution.
The Katsina and Plateau state governments enacted and
maintained a ban on public proselytizing for security
reasons. Some states relaxed these restrictions informally
during the reporting period, and allowed some public
proselytizing by Christians and Muslims. Missionaries
reported that law enforcement officials harassed them when
they proselytized outside of their designated zones. During
the year, Kaduna maintained a ban, enacted in 2000, on all
forms of "processions, rallies, demonstrations, and meetings
in public places." Such bans were viewed as necessary public
safety measures after the deaths of thousands in
predominantly ethno-religious conflicts, sparked in part by
the expansion of Shari'a since 2000, in Kaduna, Plateau,
Kano, Gombe and Bauchi (see Section 5). On October 31, the
Ondo state government banned open-air religious meetings by
both Christians and Muslims in a bid to prevent religious
violence. However, large outdoor religious gatherings
continued to be quite common, especially in the southern part
of the country. In November, religious rioting in Osogbo,
Osun state, reportedly led to at least one death and the
destruction of several places of worship.

The Federal Government has tacitly acknowledged the ability
of states to implement criminal Shari'a. However, the
Federal Government has instituted a committee charged with
the responsibility to draft uniform Shari'a criminal and
procedural laws that could be adopted by all states, instead
of the current state-drafted statutes that differ in many
respects (see Section 1.c.).

Although the expanded Shari'a does not apply to Christians,
Christians in some states have been subjected to many of the
social provisions of the law All Muslims in states that
expanded Shari'a to criminal matters are subject to the new
Shari'a criminal codes. All cases involving only Muslims must
be heard by a Shari'a court. Other states with Shari'a law
still permit Muslims to choose common law courts for criminal
cases; however, societal pressure forces most Muslims to use
the Shari'a court system. Various human rights groups have
challenged the constitutionality of criminal Shari'a, but
these suits have failed for lack of a plaintiff with adequate
legal standing.
In March journalists covering the implementation of Shari'a
law in Bauchi state were warned by the governor, Ahmed
Mu'azu, that they would be prosecuted if they misrepresented
the Government's position on Shari'a. None were arrested for
this reason by year's end.

A number of states informally sanctioned private vigilante
Shari'a enforcement groups. In Zamfara state, Governor Ahmed
Sani vested the local vigilante group with full powers of
arrest and prosecution because he believed that the police
were not enforcing the new Shari'a laws. Governor Saminu
Turaki of Jigawa state also mobilized a statewide Shari'a
enforcement committee to arrest, detain, and prosecute Muslim
offenders. In April the Katsina Arts and Musicians
Association wrote to the Katsina House of Assembly protesting
the arrest and detention of Sirajo Mai Asharalle. Asharalle
was arrested by the state-sanctioned Rundunar Adalci
vigilante group while performing music at a local function,
but was released soon after his arrest. The performance of
music and dancing was banned under the Shari'a law introduced
by Katsina state.

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel,
Emigration, and Repatriation

The Constitution provides for these rights, and in general,
the Government respected this right; however, police
occasionally restricted this right by setting up roadblocks
and checkpoints and enforcing curfews in areas with civil
unrest. For example, in October, a dusk-to-dawn curfew was
imposed in Makurdi and Gboko, Benue state, following civil
unrest in the region. Roadblocks and checkpoints routinely
are used by law enforcement agencies to search for criminals
and to prevent the transport of bodies from areas of
conflict to other parts of the country where their presence
might instigate retaliatory violence. Security and law
enforcement officials continued to use excessive force at
checkpoints and roadblocks and engage in extortion and
violence (see Sections 1.a. and 1.c.). Unlike in the
previous year, there were no reports of government officials
restricting mass movements of individuals fleeing ethnic

Violent clashes between ethnic Hausa and various non-Muslim
ethnic groups in Jos, Tafawa Balewa, and Kano resulted in the
imposition of dusk-to-dawn curfews following the deaths of
numerous persons (see Sections 1.a. and 5). In September and
October, Tiv youths set up roadblocks in eastern Benue to
harass and kill ethnic Jukuns (see Section 1.a.).

The Constitution also prohibits the denial of exit or entry
to any citizen, and the Government generally respected this
law. Some men take their wives' and children's passports and
other identification documents with them while traveling
abroad to prevent their family from leaving the country (see
Section 5). In August General Jeremiah Useni, a retired
general and former Minister of the Federal Capital
Territories under the Abacha regime, was prevented from
traveling outside Nigeria and his passport was confiscated;
the Federal Government provided no reason for this action,
but it was widely assumed to be related to allegations of

Prominent human rights and prodemocracy activists who fled
the country during the regime of General Sani Abacha
continued to return to the country as did many economic
refugees. There were no reports that the Government denied
passports to political figures or journalists or interrogated
citizens who were issued visas to foreign countries; however,
there have been sporadic but unsubstantiated reports that
persons still were questioned upon entry or exit to the
country at Murtala Muhammed International Airport.

During periods of civil unrest, numerous persons were
displaced from their places of residence. In late June and
early July several thousand Hausa families fled Tafawa
Balewa in southern Bauchi state, following violent attacks by
the majority Sayawa ethnic group; according to the ICRC,
approximately 20,000 fled their homes, and several dozen may
have been killed. In September approximately 15,000 persons
were displaced by interethnic violence in Jos. In September
and October, thousands of persons from all ethnic groups fled
violence in Tafawa Balewa and Kano and approximately several
hundred thousand persons were displaced due to ethnic
conflict in Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa States (see Section
2.c.) In October following civil unrest in Kano, many Igbo
and Yoruba residents sent their families south. (see
Sections 1.a. and 5). Many persons fleeing civil unrest
first shelter and safety at military barracks, police
compounds, and other public places. Some were still living
in such government buildings at the end of 2001. Thousands of
persons, both Christian and Muslim, were displaced internally
following the Kaduna riots in 2000; most returned to their
homes during the year.

Many returnees remained apprehensive about continuing to work
in these areas, with some returning only to finish business
contracts or to sell their homes in order to arrange a more
permanent departure.

A few hundred residents of the Odi village, razed by soldiers
in 1999, have returned to the area; however the Federal
Government has not provided them with assistance to
reconstruct their village (see Section 1.a.).
The law provides for the granting of refugee and asylum
status in accordance with the 1951 UN Convention Relating to
the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. The Government
cooperated with the Lagos office of the UN High Commissioner
for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian agencies in
assisting refugees through the National Commission for
Refugees and its Federal Commissioner. The Eligibility
Committee, which governs the granting of refugee status,
asylum, and resettlement, reviews refugee and resettlement
applications. A representative from the UNHCR participates
in this committee. The issue of the provision of first
asylum has not arisen since the establishment of the National
Commission for Refugees under Decree 52.

At year's end, there were 6,933 recognized refugees: 13 from
Angola; 23 from Benin; 4 from Cameroon; 1,703 from Sierra
Leone; 3,194 from Chad; 74 from Sudan; 1,561 from Liberia; 69
from Cote d'Ivoire; and 292 from other countries. The
Government also resettled in the country 3 Cameroonians, 3
Chadians, 5 Sudanese, 13 Liberians, and 17 persons from other

There were no reports of the forced return of persons to a
country where they feared persecution.

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens
to Change Their Government

The Constitution provides citizens the right to change their
government peacefully through periodic, free, and fair
elections held on the basis of universal suffrage. Citizens
exercised this right in national elections for president and
the National Assembly in February 1999. The President, Vice
President, and other national and state officials serve
4-year terms. The next state and national elections are
scheduled for 2003, while local government elections are
scheduled for 2002. However, the local government elections
may move to 2003 due to the passage of a controversial
electoral law in December. The INEC is working with several
international electoral assistance organizations to help
improve the process in 2003. No INEC officials have faced
disciplinary action as result of their alleged involvement in
corrupt activities that marred the 1999 elections.

The Constitution outlaws the seizure of the Government by
force and contains provisions for the removal of the
President, Vice President, ministers, legislators, and state
government officials for gross misconduct or medical reasons.
Early in the year, there was an unsuccessful attempt to
remove Speaker Ghali Na'abba allegedly led by members of the
executive branch. Evidence of widespread fraud and corruption
in the attempt to buy votes for the removal of Na'abba forced
the abandonment of the effort to remove the speaker.

The political system remains in transition. The three
branches of the Government acted somewhat independently.
Despite his party's substantial majority in the legislature,
the President was not able to exercise authority without
legislative oversight and inclusiveness. The Senate and the
House of Representatives took legislative responsibilities
such as budget review and oversight, the election reform
initiative, and resource allocation seriously. Obasanjo
created several commissions to investigate past government
contracts and human rights abuses, which were overwhelmed
with applications to present evidence of wrongdoing (see
Section 4). However, the judicial branch remained weakened
by years of neglect and politicization (see Section 1.e.)

The Constitution was promulgated on May 5, 1999. The
constitution-writing process was criticized for not being
open to enough participants and for not being subjected to
wider debate on the country's federal structure, revenue
allocation and power-sharing formulas, and minority ethnic
groups' rights. Complaints about the Constitution persisted
and there were continued calls for a national conference to
reexamine the constitutional and political structure of
Nigeria. While there were many different conceptions of what
such a conference would involve, those in the southwest
tended to favor a "sovereign" national conference, which
would modify the existing constitution to implement a more
decentralized structure.

In early December the President signed an electoral law that
moved local elections from 2002 to 2003. This provision was
contested by the state governors and state assemblies as an
infringement on the states constitutional powers to control
local government. While allowing new political parties to
participate in local elections in 2003, the act prohibited
them from from participation in state and national elections
until 2007. After weeks of public debate, both Houses of
the National Assembly repealed the prohibition against new
parties participating in the 2003 national and state
elections. The constitutionality of the law and how it was
amended was also the subject of a suit before the Supreme

The percentage of women in government and politics does not
correspond to their percentage of the population; however,
there were no legal impediments to political participation or
voting by women. Men continued to dominate the political
arena and NGO's continued to protest the limited
representation of women in the political process. Out of
more than 500 ministerial and National Assembly positions,
there are only six female ministers, three female Senators
and 12 female Representatives. Women's rights groups lobbied
local, state, and the Federal Government (and local levels as
well) to adopt a 30 percent affirmative action program;
however, these efforts were unsuccessful.

There are no legal impediments to participation in government
by members of any ethnic group. The Constitution requires
that government appointments reflect the country's "federal
character." However, there are more than 250 ethnic groups,
and it is difficult to insure representation of every group
in the Government (see Section 5). The federal- and
state-level ministers generally are selected to represent the
country's and state's regional, ethnic, and religious makeup.
President Obasanjo has attempted to create an ethnically
inclusive Government. Despite this effort, many groups
complained of insufficient representation.

Middle-belt and Christian officers dominate the military
hierarchy. In 1999 Obasanjo retired all military officers
who held political office, which meant that a
disproportionate number of northern Hausa officers--who
dominated the upper ranks under the previous military
regimes--left the service. In 2000 there were few military
retirements, and although they appear to reflect an ethnic or
religious bias, some in the north believe that the northern
Hausa are underrepresented in the military.

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and
Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged
of Human Rights

A number of domestic and international human rights groups
generally operate without government restriction,
investigating and publishing their findings on human rights
cases. Government officials are generally cooperative and
responsive to their views. Criticisms of the Government's
past human rights record were abundant in various media.
High-level government officials noted that the human rights
community assisted in the advancement of democracy. However,
in 2001, human rights activists complained that President
Obasanjo and members of his government did not meet with them
as frequently as in the previous year.

The Catholic Secretariat, a local faith-based interest group,
continued to hold a monthly open forum in Lagos on various
subjects relating to past and present human rights issues.
Discussion panels have included a number of NGO's, media, and
religious leaders. Each session ended with recommendations
to the Government on how best to resolve these issues. The
Government had not responded to any of these recommendations
by year's end.

In February the Kano Council of Ullamas declared Kano off
limits to NGO's after a mob set fire to a truck that hisbah
(Islamic law enforcers) prevented from entering Kano (see
Section 2.d.). The Ulamas lack secular authority, and NGOs
continue to operate freely in Kano.

On October 29, the CRP called on President Obasanjo to take
responsibility for recent retaliatory attacks by the army
against Tiv communities in central Benue State (see Section
1.a.). A number of groups spoke out against the events in
Benue, and called for full investigations.

The ICRC is active, with offices in Abuja and Lagos under the
direction of a regional delegate. Its primary human rights
activities during the year involved the training of prison
officials on human rights, sanitation, and prisoner health
(see Section 1.c.).

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is tasked with
monitoring and protecting human rights in the country,
enjoyed greater recognition by and coordination with NGO's,
and worked hard to establish its credibility as an
independent monitoring body. The NHRC is chaired by retired
Justice Uche Omo and includes 15 other members. The NHRC was
establishing zonal affiliates in each of the countries six
political regions during the year. The NHRC is supposed to
work closely with NGO's that are devoted to human rights
issues. Since its inception, the NHRC has been denied
adequate funding to do its job properly. At year's end, the
NHRC had created a strategic work plan through 2002,
inaugurated steering and coordinating committees for the
national action plan. During the year, it assisted in
appealing a number of Shari'a verdicts in the north (see
Sections 1.c. and 1.e.)

The HRVIP, commonly known as the Oputa panel, is a one-time
panel that was established in 1999 by President Obasanjo to
investigate human rights abuses dating back to 1966 and the
time of the first military coup. The Oputa Panel can
recommend courses of action to the justice system for
perpetrators of past abuses, something the NHRC does not do.
According to Justice Oputa, the chair, the panel's primary
goal is to provide the country with a systematic examination
of past human rights abuses to develop a national consensus
on the boundaries of acceptable behavior by government
entities as well as individuals. The panel heard cases
throughout the year, mostly involving allegations of unlawful
arrest, detention, and torture as far back as the 1966
Biafran War (see Sections 1.a. and 1.c.) The panel also
heard cases in which the rights of groups were violated. The
Oputa Panel held extensive hearings in Lagos, Abuja, Port
Harcourt, and Kano during the year, and has taken evidence in
the claims of more than 10,000 petitioners.

On January 20, according to newspaper reports, HRVIP Chairman
Justice Chukwudifu Oputa apologized to the Ogoni ethnic
minority on behalf of the Government for events in recent

In September President Obasanjo appeared before the panel to
explain his role in army actions during his tenure as
military head of state in the late 1970's. The family of
late musician Fela Kuti claimed that Obasanjo was involved in
a 1979 army raid in which Kuti's mother was killed.

During the year, former Heads of State, General Ibrahim
Babangida, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, and General
Muhammadu Buhari refused to appear to answer questions about
human rights abuses under their respective regimes. The Panel
concluded its hearings and began drafting a report of its
findings, expected to be released in early 2002.

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion,
Disability, Language, or Social Status

The Constitution provides citizens with the right to freedom
from discrimination based on "community, place of origin,
ethnic group, sex, religion, or political opinion." However,
customary and religious discrimination against women
persisted, occasional religious violence was a problem,
social discrimination on the basis of both religion and
ethnicity remained widespread, and ethnic and regional
tensions continued to contribute to serious violence both
between groups of citizens and between citizens and the
security forces.


Domestic violence is a problem. Reports of spousal abuse are
common, especially wife beating. Police normally do not
intervene in domestic disputes, which seldom are discussed
publicly. The Penal Code permits husbands to use physical
means to chastise their wives as long as it does not result
in "grievous harm," which is defined as loss of sight,
hearing, power of speech, facial disfigurement, or other life
threatening injuries. A women's rights group has estimated
that spousal abuse occurs in 20 percent of adult
relationships. In more traditional areas of the country,
courts and police are reluctant to intervene to protect women
who accuse their husbands formally if the level of alleged
abuse does not exceed customary norms in the areas. Rape and
sexual harassment continue to be problems.

The Federal Government publicly opposes female genital
mutilation (FGM), which is condemned widely by international
health experts as damaging to both physical and psychological
health; however, it has taken no legal action to curb the
practice. There was a bill to ban FGM before the National
Assembly at year's end. Because of the considerable problems
that anti-FGM groups faced at the federal level, most are
refocusing their energies to combat FGM at the state and
local government area (LGA) level. In 2000 Edo, Ogun, Cross
River, Osun, Rivers, and Bayelsa states banned FGM. In Edo
state, the punishment for FGM is a $10 (1,000 naira) fine and
6 months imprisonment, which is a significant amount in rural
Nigeria. In addition once a state legislature criminalizes
FGM, NGO's have found that they must convince the LGA
authorities that state laws are applicable in their

The Women's Centre for Peace and Development (WOPED)
estimated that at least 50 percent of women undergo FGM.
Studies conducted by the U.N. Development Systems and the
World Health Organization estimated the FGM rate at
approximately 60 percent among the nation's female
population. However, according to local experts, the actual
prevalence may be as high as 100 percent in some ethnic
conclaves in the south. While practiced in all parts of the
country, FGM is more predominant in the southern and eastern
zones. Women from northern states are less likely to undergo
FGM; however, those affected are more likely to undergo the
severe type of FGM known as infibulation. WOPED believes
that the practice is perpetuated because of a cultural belief
that uncircumcised women are promiscuous, unclean, unsuitable
for marriage, physically undesirable, or potential health
risks to themselves and their children, especially during
childbirth. The National Association of Nigerian Nurses and
Midwives, The Nigerian Women's Association, and the Nigerian
Medical Association worked to eradicate the practice and to
train health care workers on the medical effects of FGM;
however, contact with health care workers remains limited.
Nevertheless, most observers agree that the number of women
and girls who are undergoing FGM is declining each year.

Indigenous forms of FGM vary from the simple removal of the
clitoral hood or labia minora to excision of the clitoris and
the most dangerous form, infibulation. The age at which
women and girls are subjected to the practice varies from the
first week of life until after a woman delivers her first
child. The Ministry of Health, women's groups, and many
NGO's sponsored public awareness projects to educate
communities about the health hazards of FGM. The press
repeatedly criticized the practice.

Prostitution is rampant, particularly in urban areas. A
number of states have begun to enforce existing laws or to
introduce new laws to combat prostitution. All states that
have adopted Shari'a have criminalized prostitution (see
Section 2.c.), and this prohibition is enforced with varying
degrees of success. Prostitution is not illegal in Lagos
state; however, authorities can use statutes that outlaw
pandering as a justification for arresting prostitutes. The
adoption of Shari'a-based legal systems by northern states
also has led to the strong enforcement of laws against child
prostitution (see Section 2.c.). Southern states, like Edo,
also are criminalizing prostitution and raising the legal age
for marriage from 16 to 18.

There is an active market for trafficking in women to Europe,
and elsewhere (see Section 6.f.).

In some parts of the country, women continue to be harassed
for social and religious reasons. Purdah, the Islamic
practice of keeping girls and women in seclusion from men
outside the family, continued in parts of the far north.

Women also experience considerable discrimination. There are
no laws barring women from particular fields of employment;
however, women often experience discrimination because the
Government tolerates customary and religious practices that
adversely affect them. The Nigerian NGO's Coalition
expressed concern about continued discrimination against
women in the private sector, particularly in access to
employment, promotion to higher professional positions, and
in salary inequality. There are credible reports that
several businesses operate with a "get pregnant, get fired"
policy. Women remain underrepresented in the formal sector
but play an active and vital role in the country's important
informal economy. While the number of women employed in the
business sector increases every year, women do not receive
equal pay for equal work and often find it extremely
difficult to acquire commercial credit or to obtain tax
deductions or rebates as heads of households. Unmarried
women in particular endure many forms of discrimination.

While some women have made considerable individual progress,
both in the academic and business world, women remain
underprivileged. Although women are not barred legally from
owning land, under some customary land tenure systems only
men can own land, and women can gain access to land only
through marriage or family. In addition many customary
practices do not recognize a women's right to inherit her
husband's property, and many widows were rendered destitute
when their in-laws took virtually all of the deceased
husband's property. Widows are subjected to unfavorable
conditions as a result of discriminatory traditional customs
and economic deprivation. "Confinement" is the most common
rite of deprivation to which widows are subjected, and it
occurs predominately in eastern Nigeria. Confined widows are
under restrictions for as long as 1 year and usually are
required to shave their heads and dress in black. In other
areas, a widow is considered a part of her husband's
property, to be "inherited" by his family. Shari'a personal
law protects widows property rights. Polygamy continues to be
practiced widely among all ethnic groups and among Christians
as well as Muslims and practitioners of traditional
persuasions. Women are required by law to obtain permission
from a male family member to get a passport (see Section
2.d.). The testimony of women is not equal to that of men in
criminal courts (see Section 1.e.).

Women have been affected to varying degrees by the adoption
of various forms of Shari'a law in 12 northern states. In
Zamfara state, local governments instituted laws requiring
the separation of Muslim men and women in transportation and
health care. In apparent violation of traditional Shari'a
jurisprudence, some Alkalis judges denied Shari'a criminal
protections to women that they provide to men. For example,
a few women were subjected to harsh punishments for
fornication or adultery based upon the fact of pregnancy,
while men were not convicted without the requisite number of
witnesses (see Sections 1.c. and 1.e.).A coalition of women's
rights NGOs in 1998-1999 found inaccurate the Government's
positive portrayal of its implementation of the CEDAW; there
reportedly was not much progress during 2001 towards
rectifying the deficiencies identified.

On April 4, President Obasanjo initiated a national policy to
stop all discrimination against women.


While the Government increased spending on children's health
in recent years, it seldom enforced laws designed to protect
the rights of children. Public schools continued to be
inadequate, and limited facilities precluded access to
education for many children. The Constitution calls for the
Government, "when practical," to provide free, compulsory,
and universal primary education; however, despite the
President's commitment, compulsory primary education rarely
was provided. In many parts of Nigeria, girls are
discriminated against in access to education for social and
economic reasons. The literacy rate for men is 58 percent
but only 41 percent for women. Rural girls are even more
disadvantaged than their urban counterparts. Only 42 percent
of rural girls are enrolled in school compared with 72
percent of urban girls. Many families favor boys over girls
in deciding which children to enroll in secondary and
elementary schools. For the families where economic hardship
restricts the ability to send girls to school, many girls are
directed into commercial activities such as trading and
street vending.

Cases of child abuse, abandoned infants, child prostitution,
and physically harmful child labor practices remained common
throughout the country (see Sections 6.c and 6.d.). Although
the law stipulates that "no child shall be ordered to be
imprisoned," juvenile offenders are incarcerated routinely
along with adult criminals. The Government criticized child
abuse and neglect, but it did not undertake any significant
measures to stop customary practices harmful to children (see
Section 6.f.). There were credible reports that poor
families sell their daughters into marriage as a means of
supplementing their incomes. Young girls are sometimes
forced into marriage as soon as they reach puberty,
regardless of age, in order to prevent the "indecency"
associated with premarital sex.

FGM is performed commonly on girls in some areas of the
country (see Section 5, Women).

There was evidence of trafficking in children (see Section

Child labor, including forced child labor, remained a problem
during the year (see Sections 6.c., 6.d., and 6.f.).

Persons with Disabilities

While the Government called for private business to institute
policies that ensured fair treatment for persons with
disabilities, during 2001 it did not enact any laws requiring
greater accessibility to buildings or public transportation,
nor did if formulate any policy specifically ensuring the
right of persons with disabilities to work.

In August the Federal Government established vocational
training centers in Abuja to provide training to beggars with

Religious Minorities

The law prohibits religious discrimination; however, there
were some instances where officials discriminated against
people practicing religions different than their own in
hiring practices and in the awarding of state contracts.

Religious differences often correspond to regional and ethnic
differences. For example, the northern region is
predominately Muslim. Many southern ethnic groups are
predominantly Christian, although the Yoruba are roughly
fifty percent Muslim. Both Muslims and Christians are found
in large numbers in the Middle Belt. In many areas of the
Middle Belt, Muslim Fulani tend to be pastoralists while the
Muslim Hausas and most Christian ethnic groups tend more
toward farming or urban living. Consequently, it is often
difficult to distinguish religious discrimination and tension
from economic and land use competition or ethnic and regional
discrimination. Religious tensions underscored what were
predominantly ethnic confrontations throughout the year.

The crisis in Kaduna in 2000 was the first major
Muslim-Christian conflict during Obasanjo's tenure. Estimates
of the number of persons killed range from 1,000 to 1,500.
Following the 2000 violence in Kaduna (see 2000 country
report), the Government sponsored dialog among the state's
different religious and ethnic groups which helped to
significantly reduce the level of inter-religious tension and
violence in 2001. For example, in October, when two small
churches caught fire in Kaduna city, Christian and Muslim
neighbors helped extinguish the fires, and the state
government promised funds to repair them. However, in
November, several people were killed in southern Kaduna state
due to a rivalry between two local leaders that intensified
when expanded Shari'a was formally implemented in the state.

In early April in Osun State, mobs lynched 12 visiting
Evangelical Christians belonging to the Brotherhood of Christ
(see Section 1.a.).

On May 22, Christian and Muslim youths clashed in the town of
Kumo over the introduction of Shari'a law; approximately 25
persons were injured.

In June there were unconfirmed reports that Muslim youths set
four churches on fire in Dutse, Jigawa state.

In November Muslim youths reportedly vandalized eight
churches in Osogbo, Osun state, and four churches in Ilorin,
Kwara state; one person reportedly was killed in Osogbo.

In early September, 2,300 persons were killed in interethnic
violence that split along religious lines in Jos. Between
10,000 and 15,000 persons were displaced by the violence (see
Section 2.d). The appointment of an ethnic Hausa to the
chairmanship of a local Poverty Alleviation Program increased
tensions, which accompanied the earlier violence between
Christian Sayewa and Musim Hausa in Tafawa Balewa, Bauchi,
only 60 kilometers away. There also were reports of summary
executions of Hausa in outlying villages. Approximately 80
percent of the victims in Jos were Hausa Muslims, who
constitute a significant minority in Jos. The military was
able to restore order, but thousands of Hausa fled Plateau
state for Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa, and Bauchi states. This
conflict appears to have been primarily ethnic. Christians
of different ethnic groups reportedly attacked each other,
and Yoruba Muslims joined in targeting their Hausa

On October 12, 600 to 1,000 Muslims peacefully demonstrated
in Kano against U.S. and allied air strikes against
Afghanistan. Several hours after the demonstration, two
small churches were burned. The following morning, a mob of
predominantly Hausa youth attacked shopkeepers and looted
shops in city's major market. During the riots, 100 persons
were killed. The military was called in to restore order.
Two churches and three mosques reportedly were burned during
the fighting. After order was restored, Governor Kwankwaso
held a series of meetings with local ethnic and religious
leaders to stem further outbreaks and to rebuild trust
between the communities.

In November youths vandalized eight churches in Osun state
and four churches in Ilorin, Kwara state.

There were no developments in the following 2000 incidents of
inter-religious violence: 18 persons were killed in the
Bambam community of southern Gombe state when Christians
attacked Muslims; approximately 200 persons were killed in
Nayari, Kaduna state, when Christians rioted after finding
the body of a person whom they believed to have been a
Christian killed by Muslims; 1 person was killed in Borno
state following an argument over the location of a church; 1
church was burned and 2 were vandalized in Sokoto following a
pro-Shari'a rally by university students.

National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

The country's population is ethnically diverse, and consists
of more than 250 groups, many of which speak distinct primary
languages and are concentrated geographically. There is no
majority ethnic group. The four largest ethnic groups are
the Hausa and Fulani of the north, the Yoruba of the
southwest, and the Igbos of the southeast. The Ijaw of the
South Delta area are the fifth largest group, followed by the
Kanuri in the far northeast and Tiv in the Middle Belt.

The Constitution prohibits ethnic discrimination by the
Government. In addition the Constitution mandates that the
composition of the federal, state, and local governments and
their agencies, as well as the conduct of their affairs,
reflect the diverse character of the country in order to
promote national unity and loyalty. This provision was
designed as a safeguard against domination of the Government
by persons from a few states or ethnic and sectional groups.
These provisions were included in response to previous
domination of the Government and the armed forces by
northerners and Muslims. The Government is an example of
this diversity. Obasanjo is a Yoruba from the southwest, the
Vice President is a northerner, and the Senate President is
an Igbo. The Government attempted to balance key positions
and deputy positions among the different regions and ethnic
groups. The Senate used its oversight role to reject many of
Obasanjo's ambassadorial appointments and insisted on three
nominees from each state for each appointment. The political
parties also engaged in "zoning," the practice of rotating
positions within the party among the different regions and
ethnicities to ensure that each region and ethnicity is given
adequate representation. Nonetheless, claims of
marginalization by members of southern minority groups and
Igbos continued. The ethnic groups of the Niger Delta, in
particular, continued their calls for high-level
representation on petroleum issues and within the security
forces. Northern Muslims, who lost previously held positions
within the military hierarchy, accused the Government of
favoring Christians from the Middle Belt for those positions.
Traditional linkages continued to impose considerable
pressure on individual government officials to favor their
own ethnic groups for important positions and patronage.

Societal discrimination on the basis of ethnicity is
practiced widely by members of all ethnic groups and is
evident in private sector hiring patterns, de facto ethnic
segregation of urban neighborhoods, and a continuing paucity
of marriages across major ethnic and regional lines. There
is a long history of tension among the diverse ethnic groups
(see Sections 1.a. and 2.c.)

There were significant interethnic clashes in Delta, Anambra,
Bauchi, Plateau, Nassarawa, Rivers, Benue, Bayelsa, Akwa
Ibom, Cross River, and Ebonyi States during the year. Often
the competition was between local "indigene" and "immigrant"
ethnic groups. Thousands of people were killed and injured
during such fighting (see Sections 1.a.)

Section 6 Worker Rights

The Right of Association

The Constitution provides all citizens with the right to
assemble freely and associate with other persons, and to form
or belong to any trade union or other association for the
protection of their interests; however, several statutory
restrictions on the right of association and on trade unions
remained in effect despite repeals of parts of the
military-era antilabor decrees. Only a single central labor
federation, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) is legally
permitted, and the Government recognizes only 29 trade
unions. Trade unions must be registered formally by the
Federal Government, and a minimum of 50 workers is required
to form a trade union. Nonmanagement senior staff are
prevented from joining trade unions, and senior staff
associations are denied a seat on the National Labor Advisory
Council (NLAC). The ILO Committee of Experts repeatedly has
cited several of these restrictions. The Government has not
amended the laws, but it has conducted discussions with
senior staff associations concerning formal recognition and
their accession to the NLAC.
Workers, except members of the armed forces and employees
designated as essential by the Government, may join trade
unions. Essential workers include members of the armed
forces and government employees in the police, customs,
immigration, prisons, federal mint, central bank, and
telecommunications sectors. Employees working in a
designated export processing zone (EPZ) may not join a union
until 10 years after the start-up of the enterprise (see
Section 6.b.).

According to figures provided by the NLC, total union
membership is approximately 4 million. Less than 10 percent
of the total work force is organized. With the exception of
a small number of workers engaged in commercial food
processing, the agricultural sector, which employs the bulk
of the work force, is not organized. The informal sector,
and small and medium enterprises, largely remain unorganized.

Since 1978 the Government has mandated a single trade union
structure with service and industrial unions grouped under
the NLC. The trade union movement is composed of two groups
consisting of junior and senior staff workers. The single
trade union structure and segregation of junior from senior
staff were intended to dilute the bargaining strength of
workers. Junior staff workers--primarily blue-collar
workers--are organized into the 29 industrial unions, which
are affiliated with the NLC; 21 associations make up the
Senior Staff Associations of Nigeria (SESCAN), which renamed
themselves the Trade Union Congress (TUC). The TUC has a
claimed membership of approximately 400,000 to 600,000. The
TUC, composed primarily of white-collar workers, has not been
sanctioned officially by the Government, and is prohibited by
statute from affiliating with the NLC. While the TUC lacks a
seat on the NLAC, the Government allowed the TUC to operate
openly. However, in 1999 SESCAN, now the TUC, began to lay
the legal and political groundwork to achieve government
recognition, which will require formal action by the National

In August 2000, the Government decertified the maritime
workers union on the grounds that the union had not scheduled
internal elections in accordance with its charter's
requirement. The Government then issued directives requiring
maritime workers to register with specific contracting firms.
As a result this historically powerful union was weakened;
however, it continued to challenge the Government's action
during the year.

Workers have the right to strike; however, certain essential
workers are required to provide advance notice of a strike.
There were several strikes by such personnel during the year.
In May and June, both doctors and university professors went
on strike over wages, working conditions, and government
investment in infrastructure. Both strikes were resolved
following lengthy negotiations with government ministries.
During the year, the Government committed itself to budgeting
greater funds for development of the nation's health and
education infrastructures.

During the year, there were smaller strikes over the
increased use of contract labor and the lack of indigenous
workers in management positions in the oil sector,
particularly in the Niger Delta. The National Union of
Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and its senior
staff counterpart Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff
Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) particularly are concerned
about the increasing use of contract labor and the number of
indigenous workers in management positions.

In 2000 Lagos public sector workers went on strike to protest
the state government's refusal to pay a higher minimum wage.
A compromise package offered by the state was accepted by the
workers; however, the local union leadership continued to
press for more pay at year's end.

There are no laws prohibiting retribution against strikers
and strike leaders, but strikers who believe that they are
victims of unfair retribution may submit their cases to the
industrial arbitration panel (IAP), with the approval of the
Labor Ministry. Lagos State Government terminated an
important local union leader in Lagos, ostensibly for
nonperformance, following an extended strike by state
government workers. The IAP's decisions are binding on
parties but may be appealed to the Nigerian Industrial Court
(NIC). In practice the decisions of these bodies
infrequently carry the force of law. Union representatives
describe the arbitration process as cumbersome and
time-consuming, and an ineffective deterrent to retribution
against strikers.

The ILO cited a number of restrictions on freedom of
association. These include: Requiring all registered labor
unions to affiliate with a single central labor federation
(the Nigerian Labor Congress); establishing a minimum of 50
workers to form a trade union; providing for the possibility
of compulsory arbitration; giving the registrar broad powers
to supervise trade union accounts; and giving the Government
discretionary power to revoke the certification of a trade
union due to overriding public interest.

The NLC and labor unions are free to affiliate with
international bodies; however, prior approval from the
Minister is required. The NLC has affiliated with the
Organization of African Trade Unions.

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The labor laws provide for both the right to organize and the
right to bargain collectively between management and trade
unions. Collective bargaining occurs throughout the public
sector and the organized private sector. Complaints of
antiunion discrimination may be brought to the Ministry of
Labor for mediation, conciliation, and resolution. The Labor
Minister may refer unresolved disputes to the IAP and the NIC
(see Section 6.a.). Union officials have questioned the
effectiveness and independence of the NIC in view of its
refusal in previous years to resolve various disputes
stemming from the Government's failure to fulfill contract
provisions for public sector employees. The NIC was
reconstituted this year with several new members, including a
formerly imprisoned trade unionist, Milton Dabibi. Union
leaders have criticized the arbitration system's dependence
on the Labor Minister's referrals. The Labor Minister
typically makes few referrals to the IAP. The IAP and NIC
were active following the Government's appointment of new
members; however, both suffered from a lack of resources.

A worker under a collective bargaining agreement may not
participate in a strike unless his union complied with the
requirements of the law, which include provisions for
mandatory mediation and for referral of the dispute to the
Government. The law allows the Government discretion to
refer the matter to a labor conciliator, arbitration panel,
board of inquiry, or the National Industrial Court. The law
forbids any employer from granting a general wage increase to
its workers without prior government approval. However, in
practice the law does not appear to be enforced effectively;
strikes, including in the public sector, are widespread (see
Section 1.a) and private sector wage increases generally are
not submitted to the Government for prior approval.

The Government retains broad legal authority over labor
matters and often intervenes in disputes seen to challenge
key political or economic objectives. However, the labor
movement is increasingly active on issues affecting workers.
During the year, the NLC spoke out on economic reform, fuel
price deregulation, privatization, globalization, tariffs,
corruption, contract workers, and political issues.

The Government directed each state administration to
establish its own salary structure based on its ability to
pay and in accord with the national minimum wage (see Section
6.e.). During the year, many state governments found it
difficult to pay the approximately $60 (6,500 naira) monthly
minimum wage to their employees, without massive layoffs or
the elimination of "ghost workers" who appear on the
employment rolls but not on the job.
An EPZ remains under development in Calabar, Cross River
State, and a second EPZ is planned for Port Harcourt, Rivers
State. Workers and employers in such zones are subject to
national labor laws, which provide for a 10-year amnesty on
trade unions from the startup of an enterprise. The law
provides that there shall be no strikes or lockouts for a
period of 10 years following the commencement of operations
within a zone. In addition the law allows the Export
Processing Zones Authority to handle the resolution of
disputes between employers and employees instead of workers'
organizations or unions. The 1992 Export Processing Zones
Decree has been criticized by The ILO has criticized the law
for not allowing any unauthorized person to enter any EPZ.
c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The law prohibits forced or compulsory labor; however,
trafficking in women and children for purposes of
prostitution and forced labor is a problem (see Section
6.f.), and enforcement of the law is not effective.

The Government does not specifically prohibit forced and
bonded labor by children; however, the law prohibits forced
or compulsory labor, a prohibition that extends to children.
Employment of persons under 18 years of age generally is
prohibited, except for agriculture and domestic work. ,
There were occasional reports of forced child labor,
including child slavery rings operating between Nigeria and
neighboring countries where children are trafficked to work
as domestic servants (see Sections 5 and 6.f). The reports
suggest that Nigerian children are trafficked to other
African countries for domestic and agricultural work.
Children from neighboring countries also are trafficked to
Nigeria for work as domestic servants.

d. Status of Child Labor Practices and Minimum Age for

The law prohibits employment of children less than 15 years
of age in commerce and industry and restricts other child
labor to home-based agricultural or domestic work. The law
states that children may not be employed in agricultural or
domestic work for more than 8 hours per day. The Decree
allows the apprenticeship of youths at the age of 13 under
specific conditions.

Economic hardship leads high numbers of children in
commercial activities aimed at enhancing meager family
income. The ILO estimates that upward of 12 million children
between the ages 10 and 14 (25 percent of all children) are
employed in some capacity. Children frequently are employed
as beggars, hawkers, and bus conductors in urban areas. The
use of children as domestic servants is common.

Private and government initiatives to stem the growing
incidence of child employment continue but have been
ineffective. UNICEF operates programs that remove young
girls from the street hawking trade and relocate them to
informal educational settings. UNICEF reported that despite
the narrow focus on young girls, the program only began to
address the problem during the year. In conjunction with the
ILO, the Government formulated a national program of action
in support of child rights, survival, protection,
development, and participation. In August a formal agreement
establishing the program was signed by the ILO and the Labor
Ministry; however, the program had not shown any results by
year's end due to logistical problems and changing personnel
in the Ministry. On October 16 and 17, the Senate Committee
on Women's Affairs and Youth held public hearings to
investigate child labor, sex trading, and other forms of
exploitation to which minors are subjected.

The Labor Ministry has an inspections department whose major
responsibilities include enforcement of legal provisions
relating to conditions of work and protection of workers.
However, there are less than 50 inspectors for the entire
country, and the Ministry conducts inspections only in the
formal business sector, in which the incidence of child labor
is not significant.

According to an ILO statement in 1998, and data from UNICEF,
the incidence of trafficking in children for prostitution is
growing (see Sections 6.c. and 6.f.).

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work

The law sets a minimum wage, which is reviewed infrequently.
Private sector minimum wages increased during the year to
match the 2000 increase in the public sector wage scale;
however, real private sector wages greatly exceed the minimum
wage. In the first half of the year, the national police
were not paid for several months.

In 2000 the minimum wage increased to $75 (7,500 naira) per
month for federal workers and to $55 to $65 (5,000 to 6,500
naira) per month for state employees. Private employers in
the formal sector track the public sector wage scale. Along
with the many allowances that are paid, the increase appears
sufficient to support a decent standard of living. However,
many government agencies were slow to pay the new wage scale,
and all federal salaries were frozen for 3 months during the
summer, pending a census of government employees. Ghost
workers (who appear on the employment rolls but not on the
job) remained a significant problem that was not addressed
fully during the year. The Government increased federal
salaries in 2000 without adequate consultations with state
governments, whose employees demanded similar wages; as a
result, several state governments maintained that they could
not afford to pay this wage (see Section 6.b.). The issue of
the minimum wage caused several labor disruptions throughout
the year, and remains unresolved in several states.

The law calls for a 40-hour workweek, 2 to 4 weeks annual
leave, and overtime and holiday pay. There is no law
prohibiting excessive compulsory overtime. The law also
establishes general health and safety provisions, some of
which are aimed specifically at young or female workers. It
requires that the factory division of the Ministry of Labor
and Employment inspect factories for compliance with health
and safety standards; however, this agency is greatly, lacks
basic resources and training, and consequently neglects
safety oversight of many enterprises, particularly
construction sites and other nonfactory work. The Ministry
often fails to reimburse inspectors for expenses incurred in
traveling to inspection sites, and safety oversight of many
enterprises often is neglected. The law requires employers
to compensate injured workers and dependent survivors of
those killed in industrial accidents. The Labor Ministry,
which is charged with enforcement of these laws, has been
ineffective in identifying violators. The Government has
failed to act on various ILO recommendations since 1991 to
update its program on inspection and accident reporting. The
Labor Decree does not provide workers with the right to
remove themselves from dangerous work situations without loss
of employment.

f. Trafficking in Persons

No law makes trafficking in persons a crime. There is an
active and growing market for trafficking in women and
children within the region and to Europe. The country is a
source, transit, and destination country.

The full nature and scope of the trade remained unknown, but
immigration and police officials throughout Europe continued
to report a steady flow of Nigerian women lured and sold into
prostitution in Europe, particularly Italy, the Netherlands,
Spain, and the Czech Republic. Italian authorities deported
several hundred sex workers to Nigeria during the year. Other
European countries deported smaller numbers of Nigerian
trafficking victims. Nigerian Interpol claimed that some
women entered the sex trade independently, were not
controlled by syndicates, and were economically motivated.
However, Human Rights Watch reported that according women's
rights organizations, hundreds of women migrated to Europe in
response to job offers as domestic workers or waitresses.
Upon arrival many were forced into prostitution in order to
pay off debts. In addition there is evidence that Nigerian
crime syndicates may use indebtedness, threats of beatings
and rape, physical injury to the victim's family, arrest, and
deportation to persuade those forced into sex work from
attempting to escape or from contacting police and NGO's for

In January there were reports that hundreds of Nigerian girls
are sold into sexual slavery and trafficked through England.
The girls reportedly request asylum at British airports and
are taken into the care of social services or foster care. A
few weeks later the girls disappear and reportedly are
trafficked to European countries, in particular Italy, where
they are forced into prostitution.

During the year, there was at least one documented case of
trafficking in children reported in Lagos; however, incidents
of trafficking in Lagos and other major Nigerian cities are
suspected to be commonplace. Child traffickers receive a
monthly payment from the employer, part of which is to be
remitted to the parents of the indentured child servant.
Traffickers take advantage of a cultural tradition of
"fostering," under which it is acceptable to send a child to
live and work with a more prosperous family in an urban
center in return for educational and vocational advancement.
Often the children in these situations only work and do not
get any formal education; however, families who employ
children as domestic servants also pay their school fees.
They are forced to serve as domestics or to become street
hawkers selling nuts, fruits, or other items. There were
credible reports that poor families sell their daughters into
marriage as a means of supplementing their income (see
Section 5).
According to ILO reports, there is an active and extensive
trade in child laborers, some of whom are trafficked to
Cameroon, Gabon, Benin, and Equatorial Guinea to work in
agricultural enterprises. Other children are coerced into
prostitution (see Section 5). Authorities also have
identified a trade route for traffickers of children for
labor through Katsina and Sokoto to the Middle East and East
Africa. The eastern part of Nigeria and some southern states
such as Cross Rivers and Akwa Ibom have been the sites of
trafficking of children for labor and, in some cases, human
sacrifice. The country remains a destination for the
trafficking of Togolese children.

According to the Women Trafficking and Child Labor
Eradication Foundation, an average of 60 Nigerian girls and
women are repatriated every month. According to Titi
Abubakar, the founder of WOTCLEF, many trafficking victims
were involved in commercial sex, begging, menial jobs, or
forced marriages

The Government has conducted few investigations into the
alleged involvement of government officials in trafficking;
however, allegations of such involvement is widespread. Some
returnees have alleged that immigration officials actively
connive with syndicates; however, there were no arrests of
immigration officials for trafficking offenses during the

Draft legislation was under review in the National Assembly
that would make trafficking a crime; however, no action was
taken on it by year's end. There is government and societal
acknowledgement that trafficking in women is a continuing
problem, particularly to Europe. Police attempts to stem the
trafficking of persons are inadequate and frequently focus on
the victims of trafficking, who often are subjected to
lengthy detention and public humiliation upon repatriation.
Traffickers were identified and punished in only a few cases.
Awareness campaigns, often conducted by spouses of prominent
politicians or NGO's, only recently have begun to garner
widespread attention. There are few statistics available to
determine the success of antitrafficking campaigns. The
development of a reliable statistical base for assessing the
child trafficking problem began under ILO auspices. The
Nigerian national program of the ILO-IPEC's regional
trafficking program began in earnest in November 2001, after
the ILO-IPEC completed an assessment of trafficking in
Nigeria. The regional and Nigeria programs are funded
completely by the U.S. Department of Labor.

In one of the few cases of prosecution for trafficking, Bisi
Dan Musa, a prominent Lagos businesswoman and wife of a
former presidential candidate, was arrested and charged with
19 counts of "child stealing" and "slave dealing;" 16
children between the ages of 1 and 4 reportedly were found in
her custody. Her trial is ongoing.

In August 33 Nigerian women and children were repatriated
from Conakry, Guinea, following the personal intervention of
President Obasanjo. According to U.N. officials, trafficking
agents offered the women between $184 and $1,802 (20,000 to
200,000 naira) and promised good jobs. Guinean authorities
reportedly arrested 15 Nigerian trafficking suspects in the
case, including a former police commissioner of Edo State; at
year's end, the they were extradited to Nigeria in October
and at year's end were being tried by the Federal High Court.

On August 12, a Nigerian man was detained in Sokoto state for
the alleged trafficking of 10 girls between the ages of 10
and 16. One of the girls reportedly said the man was taking
them to work abroad in hairdressing salons.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Myanmar: Military Must Stop Murdering And Jailing Protestors – Bachelet

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Thursday said security forces in Myanmar must “halt their vicious crackdown on peaceful protestors,” following another day of deadly violence across the country on Wednesday... More>>

Syria: Economic Decline, Rising Hunger And Surging Humanitarian Needs

Syria’s fragile economy has “suffered multiple shocks” over the past 18 months, with its currency plummeting and joblessness swelling as people struggle to cover their basic needs, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council ... More>>

OECD: Final Quarter Of 2020 Shows Continued Recovery In G20 International Merchandise Trade

G20 international merchandise trade continued to rebound in the fourth quarter of 2020 ( exports up 7.2% and imports up 6.8%), following the sharp falls seen in the first half of 2020, as lockdown measures affected trade globally. Although growth ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

UNFCCC: Greater Climate Ambition Urged As Initial NDC Synthesis Report Is Published

UN Climate Change today published the Initial NDC Synthesis Report, showing nations must redouble efforts and submit stronger, more ambitious national climate action plans in 2021 if they’re to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise by 2°C—ideally 1.5°C—by the end of the century... More>>

2021: Critical Year To ‘reset Our Relationship With Nature’ – UN Chief

During this time of “crisis and fragility”, the UN chief told the United Nations Environment Assembly on Monday that human well-being and prosperity can be vastly improved by prioritizing nature-based solutions. Painting a picture of the turmoil ... More>>

Paris Agreement: UN Secretary-General António Guterres To Mark U.S. Reentry With Envoy For Climate John Kerry

Watch live at UN Secretary-General António Guterres will join U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry at an event marking the United States’ reentry into the Paris Agreement this Friday. The discussion with the Secretary-General ... More>>