Secretary Blinken Urged to Center Human Rights on Nigeria Trip

Ahead of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s upcoming trip to Nigeria, Kate Hixon, Africa Advocacy Director at Amnesty International USA, made the following statement:

“Secretary Blinken’s trip to Nigeria is a great opportunity for US engagement with the new Tinubu Administration, but will only be successful if human rights are front and center. The Nigerian military has repeatedly harmed civilians with little accountability, particularly during airstrikes while fighting armed militias. Secretary Blinken must press for investigations and accountability for all civilian deaths caused by the military. 

“As we saw during the recent Christmas Eve attack in Plateau State, the Tinubu government is failing on its promise to protect civilians. Secretary Blinken must urge President Tinubu to do more than issue statements and actually ensure justice and accountability for civilians harmed by armed groups. The Nigerian government must do this without further harming civilians in its response.”

Isa Sanusi, Amnesty International Nigeria’s Executive Director added:

“In Nigeria, it is imperative that Secretary Blinken raise the ongoing harassment of human rights defenders and journalists, such as Omoyele Sowore, who is facing flawed charges solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression. As Amnesty Nigeria outlines in its human rights agenda for the Tinubu Administration, it must honor the right to freedom of expression.  Secretary Blinken must also press for the release of Mubarak Bala, Yahaya Aminu-Sharif, and Ismaila Sani Isah, currently in jail for blasphemy accusations. Charges related to blasphemy against Rhoda Jatau must also be dropped unconditionally.

“Secretary Blinken must also press for the immediate release of the remaining #EndSARS protestors who continue to be detained years after their protests without due process or even a trial. If the Tinubu Administration is to remain committed to accountability, it must release these remaining protestors. In addition, Secretary Blinken must press for the full implementation of the findings of the investigation of the killings of peaceful #EndSARS protesters by the military and police. All atrocities committed by the police before and after the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) must be investigated. Victims must also receive compensation, and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.”