Get the low down on
credit card offers.
Free games and
demos for your PC.
Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life
There were no political killings by security forces; however, national police, army, and security forces committed extrajudicial killings or used excessive force to apprehend criminals and to disperse protestors during the year, when crowds were perceived by police as possibly becoming violent. Multinational oil companies and domestic oil producing companies subcontracted police and soldiers from area units particularly to protect the oil facilities in the volatile Niger Delta region. Freelance security forces and former security forces accounted for a portion of the violent crime committed during the year. Police were instructed to use lethal force against suspected criminals and suspected vandals near oil pipelines in the Niger Delta Region.
The Federal anticrime taskforce, also known as "Operation Fire for Fire," was among the most frequent human rights offenders. Operation Fire for Fire was established in response to widespread public calls for the Government and police to address violent crime more vigorously. Police and anticrime taskforce personnel involved committed extrajudicial killings in the apprehension and detention of suspected criminals, and were instructed to use deadly force to subdue violent criminals. According to Inspector General of Police Tafa Balogun, from March 2002 until November, police killed more than 1,200 criminals and arrested more than 2,800. There were widespread complaints that Operation Fire for Fire has given a largely untrained police force broad latitude in using deadly force. In most cases, police officers were not held accountable for excessive or deadly force, or for the deaths of persons in custody. They generally operated with impunity in the apprehension, illegal detention, and sometimes execution of criminal suspects (see Section 1.d.).
During the year, police, military, and anticrime personnel continued to regularly use lethal force against suspected criminals. For example, on May 2, a police officer reportedly opened fire on a commercial bus in Ado Ekiti, mistakenly killing two students, while searching for a fugitive. The policeman was arrested and detained but had not been formally charged at year's end. On August 4, police reportedly killed three robbery suspects in Enugu State. The policemen alleged that the suspects were robbing passengers in a bus when they were caught. The policemen have not been arrested or detained for the killings. On August 12, a police officer shot three suspects, accused of killing a police officer, while the suspects were in a jail in Kubwa. Police were investigating the shooting at year's end.
On September 8, the Bauchi State Police Command reported that police killed nine suspected armed robbers in various parts of the state: Four were killed in two separate shoot-outs, while the remaining five were killed while in custody in a police van to prevent their escape. The policeman accused of the 2002 shooting of Ikenna Asikaburu, an 18-year-old student in Lagos, was dismissed from the force, but no compensation has yet been paid to the family.
Criminal suspects died from unnatural causes while in official custody, usually as the result of neglect and harsh treatment (see Section 1.c.). On May 12, a police sergeant allegedly tortured to death Haruna Mohammed while he was in custody in Bauchi. Mohammed was being held on suspicion of stealing $75 (10,000 naira) from the Speaker of the State House of Assembly. The Bauchi House of Assembly formally petitioned the state police commissioner for an investigation. There were no further developments by year's end. There were only a few cases in which members of the police were held accountable for abuses. Harsh and life-threatening prison conditions and denial of proper medical treatment also contributed to the deaths of numerous inmates.
Security forces committed other unlawful killings during the year. Due to the large number of civilian deaths by police, armed police in public arguments often found themselves in the middle of large crowds that occasionally took revenge. In many cases, police accidentally killed persons while attempting to disperse crowds. For example, on January 24, a gin seller called police to assist in collecting a debt. In the ensuing argument, a policeman shot and killed the debtor's pregnant wife. The officer was taken into custody and was awaiting trial at year's end.
On May 14, in Edo State, a policeman argued with a commercial motorcycle rider, and a crowd formed. The policeman attempted to disperse the crowd by firing into the air, but killed two persons. An investigation was pending at year's end. Violence and lethal force at police and military roadblocks and checkpoints continued during the year. For example, on May 19, police shot an Ebonyi State Medical student at a checkpoint after being arrested for refusing to pay a $0.08 (10 naira) bribe. The policeman was arrested.
On June 25, a policeman shot and killed the driver of a commercial bus in Jigawa State, after the driver refused to pay a $0.15 (20 naira) bribe. Police were investigating the shooting at year's end.
On September 8, soldiers shot a motorcycle operator who refused to pay a $0.15 (20 naira) bribe at a checkpoint in Delta State. The Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR) reported that military officials originally tried to claim that the individual was an armed robber to cover-up the incident. The Nigerian Bar Association called upon the Chief of Army staff to financially compensate the family of the deceased and discipline and prosecute the responsible soldiers. One soldier was transferred. Police and military personnel used excessive force and sometimes deadly force in the suppression of civil unrest, property vandalization, and interethnic violence, primarily in the oil and gas areas of the States of the Niger Delta and in Plateau State (see Sections 2.b., 5, and 6.b.). Although less frequent than in previous years, there were reported occurrences of summary executions, assaults, and other abuses carried out by military personnel and paramilitary mobile police across the Niger Delta. The Ondo State government had not released its report into the 2002 killing of four women on oil production platforms by year's end.
In mid-August, the Government began "Operation Restore Hope," a joint task force comprised of approximately 5,000 army, naval, air force, and mobile police personnel under the command of Army General Zamani, in response to violence in the Niger Delta region (see Section 5). Military personnel and youths have had repeated small-scale skirmishes, with total estimated casualties on both sides reaching 1,000 for the year. Many human rights organizations have accused the military and police of harassment, extortion, and excessive use of force during Operation Restore Hope. In response to public pressure or formal requests from state governments, the Federal Government continued to deploy the army in troubled areas during the year. In September, after 2 years, the Government withdrew military forces from Plateau State. During the elections, the military was deployed, along with paramilitary and police, to maintain order in population centers throughout the country. There were reports that soldiers from some units committed serious abuses while performing this policing role, although the number of such incidents decreased from the previous year. The Benue Commission established in 2002 to investigate the October 2001 killing of approximately 200 civilians, rape, extortion, and looting in Benue State by soldiers had not published its report and findings by year's end.
No action was taken against security forces in the following 2002 cases: The January killing of 3 persons in Bayelsa State; the February killing of 15 youths in Delta State; the March killing of up to 25 persons in Katsina State; the April killing of Flight Sergeant Augustine Ogbolu in Ondo State; the May killing of University of Lagos students Gbenga Akinmogan and Shakirat Owolabi; the June killing of Agene Akinrinde in Lagos; the June killing of Oluwatosin Adelugba at a Lagos checkpoint; the August killing of John Osazuwa in Edo State; and the October Joint Security Taskforce killing of 6 civilians during a communal clash in Plateau State.
No action was taken against security forces in the reported 2001 cases. On February 24, the Federal High Court ruled that Mohammed Abacha, former President General Sani Abacha's son, could be arrested and tried for the 1996 attempted murders of Abraham Adesanya, leader of Afenifere, and Alex Ibru, publisher of the Guardian newspaper. Abacha was confined to the city of Kano at year's end.
There were several killings by unknown persons that may have been politically motivated. For example, on February 22, unknown persons shot and killed Uche Ogbonnaya, an opposition All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) Senatorial candidate in Imo state, in his home in Owerri. On March 5, unknown persons killed Marshall Harry, a National Vice Chairman of the ANPP who formerly was a prominent member of the ruling PDP. Shortly before his death, Harry alleged that Rivers State Governor Peter Odili's men were intimidating political opponents and called on police to protect his party members from these "political thugs." Although some arrests were made in connection with the killings, no one was formally charged. Harry's daughter, an eyewitness to the killings, publicly stated that the persons arrested were not the perpetrators. There were no known developments in the following 2002 cases of politically motivated killings by unknown assailants: the June killing of magistrate Maria Theresa Nsa in Cross River State; the August killing of Victor Nwankwo in Enugu State; the October killing of gubernatorial candidate Dele Arojo; and the October killing of Professor Chimere Ikokwu in Enugu State. In October 2002, 11 of 27 suspects were charged with the murder of Justice Minister Bola Ige. The trial of 6 of the 11, including Senator Iyiola Omisore, who was elected in Osun State while in detention, started in March at an Ibadan high Court. The trial started and stopped several times, and two judges resigned due to pressure and threats. The remaining five persons charged were still in detention pending the start of their trial at year's end.Killings carried out by organized gangs of armed robbers remained common during the year. In most southeastern states, state governments supported vigilante groups, the most well-known of which was the "Bakassi Boys," officially known as the Anambra State Vigilante Service. Like most vigilante groups, the Bakassi Boys killed suspected criminals rather than turn them over to police. The influence of the Bakassi Boys diminished during the year.
Other organized vigilante groups in large cities, particularly Lagos and Kano, continued to commit numerous killings of suspected criminals. These vigilante groups engaged in lengthy and well-organized attempts to apprehend criminals after the commission of the alleged offenses. For example, on February 16, a vigilante group in Kano along with police killed three suspected robbers in a shoot-out.
On October 30, the Akwa Ibom State Police Command officially authorized the formation of vigilante groups by local communities for the purpose of hunting down armed bandits.
No action was taken against members of vigilante groups who killed or injured persons during the year or in previous years, although police reportedly harassed members of such groups. Unlike in previous years, there were no reports of "torture chambers" operated by the Bakassi Boys. Reports of street mobs apprehending and killing suspected criminals diminished during the year, and there were no developments in cases from previous years. The practice of "necklacing" criminals (placing a gasoline-soaked tire around a victim's neck or torso and then igniting it, burning the victim to death) also declined. Politically-related violence occurred throughout the country from January through May. For example, on February 16, a clash between ANPP and PDP supporters in Benue State left seven persons dead.
During the May 3 state elections in Delta State, eight persons were killed at the polls: five in Burutu, two in Ozoro, and one in Oleh.
There were no developments in the following 2002 cases: the June killing of 2 persons in Delta State during a local PDP caucus; the July killing of 4 to 8 persons in primary-related violence in Bayelsa State; the unconfirmed killing of 50 persons in Bayelsa State in violence between two rival gangs; and the August killing of the Kwara PDP chairman.
The trial for the September 2002 murder of Barnabas Igwe, Chairman of the Anambra State branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, and his wife did not begin by year's end.
Lethal interethnic, intraethnic, and interreligious violence occurred at diminished levels from previous years (see Section 5). Sporadic communal violence continued between Tivs, Jukuns, and other tribes in Adamawa, Kogi, Edo, Delta, Nassarawa, and Plateau States during the year, killing hundreds of persons.
During the year, rivalry and fighting between and among rival student affinity groups, commonly known as cults, in higher institutions led to the killing of persons and destruction of property. Cultism was on the rise, especially in the South and Middle Belt States, and seemed to coincide with the end of the 6-month national strike by university educators that kept most universities closed during the school year. For example, cultists killed a lecturer and four students at the University of Ilorin in Kwara State during the first 2 weeks of May.
Between July 6 and July 8, eight students were killed at Ebonyi State University, just 2 weeks after it reopened, forcing the school to close indefinitely.There was no resolution in the 2002 cases involving deaths in cult clashes.
NCBuy Home |
About NCBuy |
Members Center |
Site Map |
Link 2 Us|