U.S Accuses Nigeria of Rights Violation

***Says Country Abuses Gays, Lesbians

Tayo Olanipekun

The United States Department of State has said that Nigerian law enforcement agents as well as non state actors carried out torture and enforced disappearances of hundreds of persons, noting that a 2015 law in Nigeria fails to prescribe penalty for anyone inflicting torture on another.

In its 2020 Country Report on Human Rights Practices, made available to National Wire on Wednesday, the U.S also cited a Human Rights Watch report that the Nigeria Police and members of the public rely on a 2014 law to “legitimize human rights abuses against LGBTI persons.”

Among what the report described as significant human rights abuses are unlawful and arbitrary killings,  forced disappearances, torture and cases of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, as well as harsh and life threatening prison conditions.

Other forms of abuses committed in the country, according to the U.S include “interference with the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association, in particular for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex
persons.”

It however noted that while the government took some steps to investigate alleged abuses by police, including
the Special Anti-Robbery Squad and military forces, impunity remained a significant problem.

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Numerous journalists were killed, detained, abducted, or arrested during the year, according to the report.

On January 21, Alex Ogbu, a reporter for the RegentAfrica Times magazine and website, was shot and killed in a cross fire while covering an IMN protest in Abuja.

On October 24, police arrested Onifade Pelumi, an intern reporter for Gboah TV, as he conducted interviews in a crowd gathered outside a food warehouse in Agege, Lagos. His family was unable to locate him until his body was found in a Lagos morgue two weeks later.

On November 28, soldiers assaulted and detained Voice of America Hausa-service reporter, Grace Abdu, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Abdu was interviewing residents of the Oyigbo community about allegations the army had committed extrajudicial killings of members of the proscribed separatist group the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), as well as killed or indiscriminately arrested civilians during a crackdown against IPOB. She was released later that afternoon.

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