Agnes Callamard, speaking at a news conference on Monday in Nigeria’s capital, said the country needed urgent action to end the “pressure cooker” of violence that has claimed thousands of lives.
Nigeria is currently facing multiple conflicts, from attacks by the armed group Boko Haram to fighting between nomadic herders and farmers.
“The overall situation that I encountered in Nigeria gives rise to extreme concern … The warning signs are flashing bright red: increased numbers of attacks and killings over the last five years with a few notable exceptions,” Callamard said at a news conference.
“If ignored its ripple effect will spread throughout the sub-region given the country’s important role in the continent.”
She condemned police and military “brutality” across the country, and a “generalised system of impunity”.
“The time is now to prioritise the rule of law and to make it part and parcel of the Nigerian system,” especially for those living in extreme poverty, she said.