Fuel Subsidy Removal: ‘Tinubu’s govt. has failed to ensure respect for human rights’ – Amnesty Int’l

Amnesty International says President Bola Tinubu’s administration has failed to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law after six months in office.

In a statement issued on Friday, the international rights watchdog said although the 1999 constitution (as amended) contains provisions on human rights, the country has been plagued by decades of human rights violations and abuses, perpetrated by both state and non-state actors.

The statement reads: “Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu’s administration has failed to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law after six months in office.

“The Nigerian authorities have failed to address rising cost of living triggered by the removal of fuel subsidy and increasing taxation amidst unprecedented inflation. This has plunged millions of struggling families into more poverty, with more families unable to meet the cost of food, education and healthcare.

“Gunmen, known locally as bandits, have frequently been carrying out attacks on rural communities and travellers in Zamfara and many other areas of Sokoto State in the North-west region. Also, gunmen continue to abduct and kill people in the rural areas of Katsina state. These gunmen have been blamed for killings of thousands of people in homes, farms, mosques and markets.

“Grave human rights violations, including torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions continue to be committed with impunity.

“In Nigeria, the rights to freedom of expression and media freedom are routinely violated. Occasionally, security forces threaten, arrest and detain journalists, bloggers, human rights defenders and activists simply for doing their work. During the 2023 general elections, at least 42 journalists were attacked, harassed, beaten or denied access to cover the elections”.

Amnesty International, however, said Tinubu’s administration still has the chance to ensure that “everyone is able to fully and effectively enjoy their human rights, and also to hold perpetrators of past rights violations to account”.

“The Nigerian authorities must ensure that human rights are at the centre of their policies, implement findings of previous investigation panels on human rights violations, and promptly, thoroughly, impartially, independently, effectively and transparently investigate human rights violations under the past government to ensure justice and accountability”, the organisation said.

“The authorities must also end the rising insecurity in the southeast, where rampaging gunmen have repeatedly carried out violent attacks.

“President Tinubu’s administration must guarantee and ensure respect for the human rights of everyone in the country. The Nigerian government must conduct a thorough, impartial, independent, effective and transparent investigation into the counter-insurgency operations carried out in the North-East of the country by security forces”, it stated.

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