(Abuja) – Growing concerns about intolerance of dissent and a heavy-handed response to protests dominated Nigeria’s human rights landscape in 2016, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its World Report 2017. Government rhetoric about security sector reform and improving accountability for rights abuses has yet to translate into concrete action.
In the southeast, police killed at least 40 pro-Biafra members of the separatist Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) during protests and processions in February and May 2016. No security agent has been prosecuted for the killings. In December 2015, soldiers killed 347 members of a Shia Muslim minority group, allegedly for blocking the army chief’s motorcade in Zaria, Kaduna state. Scores more had died when bans placed on the group by governments of Kaduna and four other northern states triggered days of mob and police violence in October and November 2016.