In the 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, released during the week, the US said there were numerous allegations of government corruption last year.
The report stated, “Massive, widespread, and pervasive corruption affected all levels of government, including the judiciary and security services. There were numerous allegations of government corruption during the year.”
Accusing government of stifling press freedom, the report stated that the political leaders instructed security forces to harass journalists covering sensitive topics such as human rights abuses, electoral malpractices, high-level public corruption, and the war against terrorism.
While noting that the constitution and law provide for freedom of speech and press, the US said there were reported cases in which the government abridged the right to speech and other expression.
“Authorities in the north at times restricted free speech by labelling it blasphemy,” it stated, noting that critics were subjected to threats, intimidation, arrest, detention, and sometimes violence.
It stated that the Federal Government used regulatory oversight to restrict press freedom, notably clamping down on television and radio stations, over alleged violations of amendments to the sixth edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
According to the US, there were reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary, unlawful, or extrajudicial killings, noting that some culprits when found culpable, were held accountable.
But impunity in such cases, it said, remained a significant problem, adding that the police, army, and other security services sometimes used force to disperse protesters and apprehend criminals and suspects.
The US alluded to reports that indicated that soldiers, police, the Civilian Joint Task Force, and others committed sexual exploitation and abuse of women and girls, adding that such exploitation and abuse were a concern in internally displaced persons’ camps, informal camps, and local communities in and around Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, and across the North-East.
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