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Nigeria: Authorities' 'consistent failure' to protect people from abductions have killed thousands

© Musa Muhammed

Over 680 people abducted this week  

‘It is obvious that protecting lives and property is low on the list of Government priorities’ - Isa Sanusi

Mass abductions in Nigeria this week of more than 400 displaced people in Borno state and 287 students and teachers in Kuriga Kaduna state are a shocking indictment of the authorities’ persistent failure to protect people from attacks by armed groups that have killed thousands of Nigerians in the last five years, Amnesty International said today (8 March).

Isa Sanusi, Amnesty International Nigeria Director, said:

“The latest mass abductions clearly show President Bola Tinubu and his Government have no effective plan for ending years of atrocities by armed groups and gunmen that are increasingly having a free reign across many parts of Nigeria.

“Whatever security measures being implemented by President Tinubu and his Government are clearly not working.

“Given the rising level of insecurity in Nigeria today, it is obvious that protecting lives and property is low on the list of Government priorities.  

“People should not be left to live in fear of the next attack or abduction. The Nigerian authorities’ consistent failure to protect people is completely unacceptable and must end.”

Calls to the Nigerian government

In the decade since Boko Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from Chibok, there have been several more mass abductions which the Nigerian authorities have failed to effectively investigate and suspected perpetrators have not been brought to justice.

Amnesty is calling on the Nigerian government to take all necessary measures to ensure the safe release and return of those abducted to their families. Authorities must also promptly, thoroughly, impartially, independently, effectively, and transparently investigate the recurring cases of abductions in many parts of the country, make public the findings of any investigation and ensure that the suspected perpetrators are brought to justice in fair trials. 

Amnesty is also calling for those with command responsibilities for security in the areas where the abductions took place to be held to account for the glaring failures that have put the lives of hundreds of people in danger.

In addition, the authorities have failed to put in place security plans for schools in vulnerable areas despite the abduction of hundreds of schoolchildren. These failures have triggered a decline in school enrollment in a major setback for girls’ education. Nigerian authorities must ensure a safe learning environment for children and address the risks of new abductions in the country.

Recent abductions

On 3 March, suspected Boko Haram fighters abducted at least 400 Internally Displaced Persons – most of them women and children – from Babban Sansani, Zulum and Arabic displaced camps in Gamboru Ngala, Borno state.

Yesterday, at least 287 students and their teachers were abducted by gunmen in Kuriga Kaduna state. Hundreds of attackers arrived at the school on motorcycles before seizing students and teachers and taking them into the bush, according to information received by Amnesty.

Chibok schoolgirls

In April 2014, 276 schoolgirls were abducted from a government secondary school in Chibok, a town in Borno State. Some of the girls escaped captivity on their own, while others were later released following intense campaigning efforts by civil society organisations and negotiations by the Government. Of those initially abducted, however, 98 girls remain in captivity. In 2018, 110 schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram fighters from the Government Girls Science and Technical College in Dapchi town in Yobe state.


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