The United States Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013 has slammed the government of Goodluck Jonathan for its human rights record saying the Authorities failed at times to maintain effective control over the security forces and therefore the Security forces committed human rights abuses. The report from Bureau of Democracy,Human Rights and Labor just received by elombah.com however said that the most serious human rights abuses during the year were those committed by Boko Haram, which conducted killings, bombings, abduction and rape of women, and other attacks throughout the country, resulting in numerous deaths, injuries, and widespread destruction of property; those committed by security services, which perpetrated extrajudicial killings, torture, rape, beatings, arbitrary detention, mistreatment of detainees, and destruction of property; and widespread societal violence, including ethnic, regional, and religious violence.
According to the report, the 2011 presidential, gubernatorial, and legislative elections which saw President Jonathan elected as president to a four-year term, along with Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, also of the PDP was considered to be generally credible and orderly by International and domestic election observers although marred by violence, fraud, and irregularities.
The Supreme Court of Nigeria ultimately upheld the results of the presidential election, while the Court of Appeals upheld the results of most other contests.
The report stated that the insurgency in the Northeast of militant terrorist sect Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad, better known as Boko Haram (which translates to “Western education is forbidden”), continued. Casualties and human rights abuses associated with Boko Haram attacks and the government’s response escalated.
On April 24, President Jonathan inaugurated a Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North. Self-appointed Boko Haram spokespersons rejected dialogue or amnesty.
On May 14, President Jonathan declared a six-month state of emergency in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states, which was extended for another six months on November 20.
Further highlights of the report includes other serious human rights problems like vigilante killings; prolonged pretrial detention; denial of fair public trial; executive influence on the judiciary; infringements 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 (FMG/C); infanticide; sexual exploitation of children; trafficking in persons; discrimination based on sexual orientation, 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, and the president pardoned a former governor convicted on six counts of corruption. Police and security forces generally operated with impunity. Authorities did not investigate the majority of cases of police abuse or punish perpetrators.
Throughout much of the country, Boko Haram perpetrated numerous killings and attacks, often directly targeting civilians. During the year the sect, which recruited child soldiers, claimed responsibility for coordinated assaults on social and transportation hubs in Kano; an attack on the town of Baga; multiple attacks on schools and mosques; an attack on the town of Benesheik; and the killing of government, religious, and traditional figures. On February 17, the terrorist group Ansaru, believed to be a Boko Haram faction, kidnapped seven foreigners in Bauchi State.
During the year, with government and military support, a youth vigilante group known as the Civilian Joint Task Force (C-JTF) emerged in the Northeast, centered around Maiduguri. According to nongovernmental organization (NGO) and press reports, C-JTF members included children and committed extrajudicial killings.
Other organized criminal forces in the southern and middle parts of the country also committed abuses, such as kidnappings. The overall level of violence in the Niger Delta, which had declined briefly after a 2009 general amnesty, continued to rise again during the year.