FCO Human Rights Report 2019

Nigeria is currently not a Human Rights Priority Country for the UK government.

APPG Report – Nigeria – Unfolding Genocide?

APPG Commentary on the current state of Freedom of Religion or Belief 2019

Nigeria is a country of 203 million people split almost evenly between Muslims (51.6% – predominantly mainstream Sunni but also including Sufi and Shia sects) and Christians (46.9% – including Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, Evangelical, Methodist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other denominations). The remaining population is made up of small communities of Jews, Baha’is, atheists, and holders of indigenous beliefs.

Nigeria’s federal constitution guarantees freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief to all citizens. However, despite positive rhetoric, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government was unable to notably improve the FoRB situation in Nigeria during the reporting period. Although the government has claimed victory against Boko Haram, the organisation remains a significant threat to both Christians and Muslims. For example, in June 2018, twin suicide bomb attacks during a Muslim religious celebration in Damboa, Borno State, killed at least 31 people and injured more than 48 people.

Despite the findings of the commission which declared the Nigerian security forces responsible for the horrific mass killing of 347 Shias in Zaria in 2015, Shias of Nigeria still wait for justice. Instead of accountability, the Nigerian military has accelerated its crackdown on the group. Despite the court order to release Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, the leader of the Shia Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Nigeria’s Department of Security Services (DSS) did not only refuse, but it intensified its clampdown. In April 2018, around 115 Shia IMN members were arrested in Abuja during a protest for the release of Sheikh Zakzaky. Later that year in October, Nigerian soldiers killed at least 42 unarmed civilians when they were holding a peaceful demonstration with the military using machine guns at point-blank range on protestors.

At both federal and provincial levels, activities of IMN, which is a non-violent organisation which advocates for the establishment of Nigeria as an Islamic State, are banned, including religious processions on Ashura and Arbaen which are commemorations central to the Shia Muslim faith. States like Kano, Katsina, Plateau, and Sokoto have either denied or restricted Shia religious gatherings.

Communal violence between predominantly Christian farmers and predominantly Muslim nomadic herder communities in Nigeria is a matter of grave concern. A process of worsening drought and desertification – a result of climate change – which have been ongoing for several decades have forced large numbers of these herders to migrate south in search of water and land for grazing.

This migration has led to clashes between herders and farmers over land. What were once spontaneous clashes have become planned and well-armed attacks – including nocturnal attacks – particularly in Benue, Plateau, Adamawa, Nasarawa and Taraba states.

Across the country, at least 2,000 people died in this violence in 2018. For example, in April 2018, in Benue State, Fulani herders attacked a church, killing 19 people including priests, and destroyed nearly 50 homes. In response, an angry mob attacked two different mosques and killed 11 Muslims.

While the roots of the conflict lie in resource competition and other related issues, religion seems to be a factor in more recent violence. According to the Christian Association of Nigeria, 500 churches have been destroyed since 2011. The precise motivating factors, and ultimate intentions, of the herders will continue to be debated by commentators, but Church attacks do seem to illustrate that there is a religious dimension to the violence which must be taken in to account.

Discrimination based on one’s faith is still a regular feature of life in Nigeria, particularly in the States which have adopted Shari’a where Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports that non-Muslims have been denied employment, education and been ridiculed ‘on the basis of their religion’. In those same states, there has also been restriction on construction of churches simply by denying Christians the right to buy land or by creating significant bureaucratic hurdles.

In the UK Parliament, 2020


Florence Eshalom 17 March; David Linden 17 March; Sir Desmond Swayne 6 February;


 Baroness Whitaker 28 July; Lord Alton 28 July; Lord Alton 28 July; Lord Alton 28 July; Lord Alton 28 July; Lord Curry 27 July; Lord Curry 27 July; David Linden 13 July; Ruth Jones 19 June; Ruth Jones 19 June; Lord Alton 17 June; Lord Alton 17 June; Ruth Jones 19 June; Ruth Jones 19 June; Ruth Jones 19 June; Ruth Jones 19 June; Ruth Jones 19 June; Ruth Jones 19 June; Ruth Jones 19 June; Lord Alton 17 June; Lord Alton 17 June; Lord Alton 17 June; Lord Alton 17 June; Baroness Cox 17 June; Baroness Cox 17 June; Baroness Cox 17 June; Andrew Rosindell 17 June; Andrew Rosindell 17 June; Andrew Rosindell 17 June; Dr Lisa Cameron 9 June; Jim Shannon 8 June; Daisy Cooper 8 June; Lord Alton 2 June; Baroness Cox 2 June; Lord Dubs 3 June; Baroness Cox 2 June; Stephen Doughty 20 May; Baroness Cox 14 May; Baroness Anelay 13 May; Lord Alton 6 May; Lord Alton 21 April; Baroness Cox 2 March; Baroness Cox 2 March; Fiona Bruce 25 February; Andrew Rosindell 3 February; Sir Desmond Swayne 29 January; Lord Alton 28 January; Lisa Cameron 28 January; Lord Alton 27 January; Lord Alton 28 January; Janet Daby 20 January; Baroness Cox 19 December; 

USCIRF report 2020

US State Department International Religious Freedom report 2019




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