The 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (amended) guarantees a number of rights, which every citizen of the country is expected to enjoy. However, sometimes, for the average Nigerian, these rights are not fully guaranteed.
The year 2018 has been a year of major records in human rights-related incidents. Here are seven of those that made the biggest headlines.
More than 100 Schoolgirls Kidnapped in Dapchi
Until this year, the abduction of hundreds of school girls from Chibok, Borno State, in 2014 was Boko Haram's most-talked-about mass kidnap. But this yera, the group launched another attack on a school in Dapchi, Yobe State, and made away with more than 100 students. All of the schoolgirls have been released, with the exception of Leah Sharibu, who has remained in the custody of the insurgents for refusing to renounce her Christian faith.The terrorists have vowed to keep her as a slave. Aside a phone call by the President to her family and a visit by a government delegation, it is not exactly sure if the Nigerian Government is very serious about securing Leah's freedom.
Army Opens Fire on Shi'ites during Religious Procession
As hundreds of members of the Islamic State in Nigeria (IMN) held a procession in Abuja during their annual 'Arbaeen Symbolic Trek' in October 2018, a clash occurred between the Shiites and security operatives. In retaliation, soldiers opened fire on the protesters, resulting in the deaths of scores of persons.
#EndSARS Movement Secures Major Win
After too many reports of incidents showing the high-handedness of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) department of the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigerian Government bowed to pressure from its citizens who had launched a major #EndSARS movement championed by Segun Awosanya. A reform was announced for SARS, which also included a name change — the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS).
Jones Abiri Released
Jones Abiri, a journalist from Bayelsa State, finally secured his release after two years of languishing in the custody of the Department of State Security Services (DSS) without trial, over accusations of working with militants in the Niger Delta region. His case was dismissed and he even got to sue the Nigerian Government as well as the DSS for damages.
Ochanya Elizabeth Ogbaje, aged 13, suffered sexual abuse in the hands of her 52-year-old uncle, Andrew Ogbuja, a lecturer in the Department of Catering and Hotel Management of the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, and his son, Victor Ogbuja. Ochanya’s case came to light when she became sick and subsequently died of Vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi. Ochanya represents other victims of sexual abuse who are yet to get justice.
With the most recent example being Deji Adeyanju, Convener of Concerned Nigerians, a host of Nigerians have been guests of the illegal detention by security agents across the country. Other examples include Tope Adeyemi, who was arrested during a raid in his community on his way back from a vigil. He spent weeks in detention before he was eventually released. Journalists were also not spared. Some examples include Segun Onibiyo, Samuel Ogundipe, Tony Ezimakor, among others. Also, supporters of Omoyele Sowore's African Action Congress (AAC), were harassed and arrested during a peaceful protest in Lagos to demand the release of six of his party members who were arrested while pasting campaign posters. A journalist who was covering the incident was also severely beaten and his camera seized.
IPOP Women Protesters Arrested
For marching in support of Biafra, more than 30 women affiliated to the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) were tear-gassed, loaded into trucks and whisked off to prison. After more than 24 hours during which they were refused visits by family members, the Police moved to charge them to court for "unlawful assembly".