Freedom in the World

Freedom in the World 2017

Nigeria

Profile

Freedom Status: 
Partly Free
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Freedom in the World Scores

(1=Most Free, 7=Least Free)

Quick Facts

Population: 
186,500,000
Capital: 
Abuja
GDP/capita: 
$2,640
Press Freedom Status: 
Partly Free
Net Freedom Status: 
Partly Free

Ratings Change:

Nigeria’s political rights rating improved from 4 to 3 due to increased transparency under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, and military gains against the militant group Boko Haram that led to a significant reduction in the group’s ability to alter the religious and ethnic composition of the northeast.

Overview: 

Nigeria has made significant improvements in the competiveness and quality of national elections in recent years, though political corruption remains endemic. Militant and extremist groups and security officials consistently violate the human rights of Nigerians, while religious and ethnic bias as well as discrimination against women and the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community are pervasive. 

Key Developments in 2016: 
  • Counterinsurgency efforts weakened Boko Haram’s capacity to launch attacks in the northeastern regions. However, humanitarian conditions there became increasingly dire, with some 1.8 million people displaced, and many more facing malnutrition.
  • Security conditions worsened elsewhere, with the resurgence of militants in the Niger Delta, and increased ethnic and communal clashes in and around the middle belt.
  • The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari continued its drive to reduce graft and improve transparency, and announced in June that authorities had recovered $9 billion in stolen assets since Buhari took office in 2015.
  • Rights groups accused Nigerian security forces of committing gross human rights violations with impunity, including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary mass arrests, illegal detentions, and torture of civilians.
Executive Summary: 

The security situation in Nigeria remained challenging in 2016 due to the ongoing insurgency in the northeast by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram; renewed militancy in the Niger Delta; and intersectarian and communal clashes in and around the middle belt. The counterinsurgency offensive of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), which included soldiers from Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Chad, and Benin, diminished the capacity of Boko Haram to coordinate large-scale attacks. However, humanitarian conditions in the northeast remained grave. At year’s end some 1.8 million people had been internally displaced by the conflict, and many more faced food insecurity. In Borno State, some 50,000 people faced starvation conditions.

Militants in the restive Niger Delta, including a new group called the Niger Delta Avengers, launched a series of attacks on oil installations during the year. In August, amnesty payments to militants, which Buhari had halted previously, were resumed in hopes of curbing the attacks. Furthermore, up to September, about 870 people had died in sectarian and communal clashes, including many involving Fulani herdsmen in and around the country’s middle belt, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

Reports from domestic and international advocacy groups indicated that government forces, including the military and police, continued to commit gross human rights violations with impunity, including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary mass arrests, illegal detentions, and torture of civilians.

Buhari’s administration continued its fight against corruption by expanding reforms to the oil and security sectors. Several high-ranking military and government officials were arrested on corruption-related charges in 2016, while Buhari’s government announced in June that authorities had recovered $9 billion in stolen assets since Buhari took office in 2015.

Aggregate Score: 
50
Freedom Rating: 
4.0
Political Rights: 
3
Civil Liberties: 
5

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Nigeria

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