Nigeria is a federal republic composed of 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). In 2010 then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, of the governing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), assumed the presidency following the death of President Yar’Adua. In 2011 President Jonathan was elected as president to a four-year term, along with Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, also of the PDP. International and domestic election observers considered the 2011 presidential, gubernatorial, and legislative elections to be generally credible and orderly, although marred by instances of violence, fraud, and irregularities. The Supreme Court ultimately upheld the results of the presidential election, while the Court of Appeals upheld the results of most other contests. Authorities at times did not maintain effective control over the security services.
The insurgency in the Northeast by the militant terrorist sect Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad, better known as Boko Haram (which translates as “Western education is forbidden”), continued. Casualties and serious human rights abuses associated with Boko Haram attacks escalated to unprecedented levels. In May 2013 President Jonathan declared a six-month state of emergency in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states. The National Assembly renewed the state of emergency in November 2013 and again in May. President Jonathan requested an additional extension of the state of emergency in November, but National Assembly discussions stalled and had not resumed as of December. On October 17, the government announced it reached a cease-fire agreement with Boko Haram, but news reports indicated that fighting continued.
The most serious human rights abuses during the year included those committed by Boko Haram, which conducted numerous attacks on government and civilian targets throughout the country, resulting in thousands of deaths and injuries, widespread destruction, forced internal displacement, and the flight of more than 100,000 refugees to neighboring countries. In its response to Boko Haram, and at times to crime in general, security services perpetrated extrajudicial killings and engaged in torture, rape, arbitrary detention, mistreatment of detainees, and destruction of property. The country also suffered from widespread societal violence, including ethnic, regional, and religious violence.
Other serious human rights problems included vigilante killings; prolonged pretrial detention; denial of fair public trial; executive influence on the judiciary; infringement on citizens’ privacy rights; restrictions on the freedoms of speech, press, assembly, religion, and movement; official corruption; violence against women; child abuse; female genital mutilation/cutting; infanticide; sexual exploitation of children; trafficking in persons; discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, ethnicity, regional origin, religion, and disability; forced and bonded labor; and child labor.
Impunity remained widespread at all levels of government. The government brought few persons to justice for abuses and corruption. Security services generally operated with impunity. Authorities did not investigate the majority of cases of police or military abuse or punish perpetrators.
Throughout much of the country, Boko Haram perpetrated numerous attacks, often directly targeting civilians. During the year the sect, which recruited and forcefully conscripted child soldiers, claimed responsibility for coordinated assaults on towns across Borno State--three separate bombings in Abuja and its surrounding suburbs killed nearly 150 persons; a bombing in Jos, Plateau State, killed at least 118 persons; and bombings in Kaduna State killed approximately 80 persons. The government investigated these attacks but prosecuted only a few members of Boko Haram. There were multiple abductions, including that of 273 female students from the Chibok Government Secondary School in Borno State.
According to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), the vigilante group known as the Civilian Joint Task Force (C-JTF), which emerged in 2013 in the Northeast and centers around Maiduguri, continued to recruit children and commit extrajudicial killings of suspected Boko Haram members. NGOs alleged the C-JTF collaborated with the army. The army maintained there was no collaboration except, on occasion, getting information from the C-JTF.
Other organized criminal forces in the southern and middle parts of the country committed abuses, such as kidnappings. The overall level of violence in the Niger Delta, which declined briefly after a 2009 general amnesty, rose during the year.