Nigeria: Government fails Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls raped by police and security forces

Amnesty International has today [Tuesday 28 Nov] criticised the Nigerian government for failing to adequately prosecute members of the police and security forces who commit rape against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls, and has called on the country’s Federal and State authorities to urgently overhaul legal and social systems that tolerate widespread rape and sexual violence across the country.

Speaking at a press conference today where it launched its new report Nigeria: Rape – the silent weapon, Amnesty International said rape by police and security forces is endemic throughout the country.

Kolawole Olaniyan, Africa Director of Amnesty International said:

“The harsh reality is that if you are a woman or a girl in Nigeria who has suffered the terrible experience of being raped your suffering is likely to be met with intimidation by the police, indifference from the state and the knowledge that the perpetrator is unlikely to ever face justice.”

Drawing on testimony of survivors, the report identified disturbing trends of rape and sexual violence and how rape is used in several circumstances, including to coerce and intimidate entire communities and also as a method of torture to extract confessions from suspects in custody.

One woman, a trader from the region of Odioma had been raped by security forces and told Amnesty International:

“There were three men. I have pain even today… they used my daughter too. She is 12 years old… They also raped my sister. Another man raped a woman who was 4 months pregnant and she lost the child… they were military men. Everyone in the village saw them, they didn’t hide, they didn’t care. I didn’t tell the police because I fear them."

Rape is a crime under Nigerian national law and is an internationally recognised human rights violation. However Amnesty International has found that the Nigerian government has failed in its international obligations to take action against state officials, such as police and security forces who have committed rape and sexual abuse, and has failed to amend discriminatory legislation that guarantees impunity from charges of rape.

Whether abused by police, security forces or in their homes and community, Amnesty’s report outlines the enormous difficulties faced by Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls who are raped or sexually abused in Nigeria as there are failures at every level of the judicial system to bring perpetrators to justice. This includes inadequate training of police that results in the humiliation and intimidation of the victims, and also police investigations being hampered by corruption and incompetence.

On the legislative level, differences between federal, state, Sharia and customary law lead to uneven standards of justice and arbitrary decisions concerning the seriousness of the crime.

Kolawole Olaniyan said.

”Our report depicts the near total failure of the Nigerian state to protect Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls from these terrible crimes. The Nigerian government has taken no meaningful action to translate its international legal obligations towards Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls into national law, policy and practice. It is now time that the state and federal authorities meet those obligations and offer real security and justice to Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls in Nigeria.”

Notes:

Press conference is to be held at the Sheraton Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria, 1100 (local time). To attend the conference, contact Nicola East on +44 207 413 5729

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