Case study

Nigeria - Country case study update

A country case study update on Nigeria which forms part or the 2013 Human Rights and Democracy Report.


More than 3,000 people have been killed by Boko Haram this year in an ongoing string of attacks across northern and central Nigeria. The attacks have included: bombs in Abuja on 14 April, 1 May and 25 June, killing over 200; two bombs in Jos on 20 May which killed over 100; bombs in Kano on 28 July; and regular, brutal assaults on villages in the North East of Nigeria.

On 14 April, over 270 girls were kidnapped from a government school in Chibok, Borno State. 219 of the girls remain missing. We estimate that over 300 other people have been abducted by Boko Haram since then, including 90 people taken between 19 and 22 June from areas close to Chibok, and over 100 people from Dogon Bara on 10 August.

There has been increased reporting of attacks by Boko Haram and counter attacks by Nigerian armed forces in a number of towns and villages in Borno and Adamawa States. In August it was reported that Boko Haram seized the town of Gwoza near the border with Cameroon. Since then Boko Haram appears to have taken and held a number of towns in north-east Nigeria. Reports continue to indicate that Boko Haram continue to forcibly recruit civilians to their ranks, including many children. The UN estimates that the violence in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states has displaced 1.5 million people, and that over three million people have been affected by the insurgency.

The UK government is committed to help end this violence and tackle the threat posed by Boko Haram. On 12 June, at the London ministerial meeting on security in Nigeria, the UK announced a substantial new package of military, intelligence and development support to Nigeria. This package includes training and advice to Nigerian units deployed against Boko Haram, support to the Nigerian authorities in bringing increased development and prosperity to the North East of the country; and a commitment to draw one million more children into education in northern Nigeria by 2020.

The Nigerian government has both a right and responsibility to defend its people from terrorism. But its response must respect human rights. We are therefore concerned by continued reports of human rights abuses, including extrajudicial executions and other serious human rights violations, conducted by members of the Nigerian security forces.

We have encouraged Nigeria to respond constructively to reports of human rights abuse, such as the Channel 4 Dispatches programme of 18 August, and the Amnesty International reports of 5 August and 18 September, and to launch investigations where needed. We have made clear to the Nigerian government that if the security forces are found to have been involved in human rights abuses, those responsible should be brought to justice.

In September, 12 members of the Nigerian military were sentenced to death for mutiny. We continue to oppose the imposition of the death penalty for any crime and have reiterated this to the Nigerian authorities. We understand an appeal process is underway. We will continue to monitor these cases.

We are also studying proposed changes to the laws governing the funding of NGOs that could affect their ability to receive funding from outside Nigeria.

This case study is part of the 2013 Human Rights and Democracy Report.

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Published 16 October 2014