President Muhammadu Buhari promised to investigate and “deal with” issues that involve breach of human rights in the country. The President made this vow just a few months after he was sworn into office on May 29, 2015, but despite his vow, Nigeria’s authorities, especially its security agencies, have been criticized by international human rights groups led by Amnesty international for human rights abuses.
According to Amnesty International, Nigerian soldiers have abused the rights of detained militants in the northeast, which is the birth place of Boko Haram militants, claims the military strongly denied. On February 15, 2016, Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the president on media and publicity told a delegation from the United States Institute of Peace that President Buhari explained that his administration was ever ready to investigate some of the alleged human rights abuses in the country.
“We attach great importance to human rights. If there are breaches, they will be investigated and dealt with,” Shehu quoted Buhari as saying. According to Shehu, Buhari also assured the delegation that his administration’s ongoing war against corruption would be fought within the ambit of the law and that mechanisms had been put in place to ensure respect for human rights in the fight against insurgency as reported by Thecable.ng February 15, 2016.
However, as of April, 28, 2016, lawyer and human rights advocate, Mr. Femi Falana, was quoted by Sahara Reporters to have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to order investigations into a variety of acts of impunity and human rights abuses under his government, particularly extra-judicial execution of criminal suspects by the police and the unlawful killing of unarmed civilians including women and children by the armed forces.
Falana was quoted to have urged the President in a letter dated April 26, calling on the president to instantiate human rights abuses by security agencies. Falana listed a number of cases of right abridgment. These, he said, include the killing of many people during the 2015 general elections. To support his claim, he said over 100 people quoting the National Human Rights Commission, were killed in Rivers State alone.
“On February 22, 2016, a platoon of soldiers invaded Ogoniland in Rivers state and killed three unarmed youths,” Falana said. He noted that the demand of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) that the culprits be prosecuted has been ignored by authorities.
On March 22, 2016, Members of Islāmic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Shiites expressed their willingness to drag the Nigerian army to International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes in the December 2015 clash with the army in Zaria state.