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1.1. The Nigerian State and state-affiliated actors

Last updated: February 2019

Some Nigerian State authorities and affiliated actors, such as the Nigerian Armed Forces (NAF), the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), the Islamic Police (hisbah), and the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), are accused of committing a wide range of human rights violations.

NAF is accused of extrajudicial executions, mass deaths in custody, torture, fumigation, arbitrary arrests, unlawful detention. The Military Special Board was set up to investigate the alleged human rights violations related to events of 30 May 2016 in South East Nigeria, but did not find any wrongdoing by the army [Targeting,]. NAF was found guilty of killing hundreds of members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) in 2015, according to the Kaduna State Judicial Commission of Inquiry [Targeting,].

The NPF has been involved in abuses of human rights such as acts of extortion, beatings, illegal detention, sexual harassment. According to the Amnesty International research, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) arrests and tortures detainees until they ‘confess’ or pay a bribe to be released [Targeting,]. In response to allegations of extrajudicial killings and other abuses, the NPF introduced a voluntary Code of Conduct in January 2013, which provides a set of guiding principles and standards of behaviour for police officers. The NPF has also introduced human rights officers at all police stations, however their ability to prevent human rights abuses is limited for various reasons, including due to lack of authority at the local level [Actors of protection, 3.3].

There are a number of groups formally or informally linked to state authorities. One prominent example are the Islamic police (hisbah), operating in the Sharia-implementing states. They are reported to arrest and torture LGBT persons, and women accused of immorality, and to target Christians sporadically [Targeting,]. Hisbah also have coercive disciplinary functions, such as forcibly preventing persons of different sexes to mix in the public transport system; enforcing a dress code, especially on women in educational institutions; preventing the performance of music and films; seizing and destroying alcoholic drinks, etc.

CJTF is a state-sponsored and state-aligned paramilitary group. It cooperates with the Nigerian security forces and has the task of protecting local populations and internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Boko Haram’s attacks [Targeting,]. It is reported that CJTF has committed serious human rights violations, such as extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, acts of torture and recruitment of children [Targeting,].

State authorities and state-affiliated groups may be considered actors of persecution or serious harm in specific situations.