Report of Promotion Mission to Nigeria, 2009


The terms of reference of this mission were:

  • To promote the African Charter, exchange views and information on the import and implementation of the African Charter;
  • To encourage dialogue between the African Commission and the Federal Republic of Nigeria, on the legislative and other measures taken towards the implementation of the African Charter;
  • To exchange views with all human rights stakeholders, including the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on ways of enhancing the enjoyment of human rights in the country;
  • To raise awareness and visibility of the African Commission and its functions especially among the relevant government departments / institutions and within civil society;
  • To seek clarification and follow up on reports and information received by the African Commission about the human rights situation in the country;   
  • To follow up on the recommendations in the Concluding Observations to the Third Periodic Report presented to the African Commission by the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria during the 44th Ordinary Session of the Commission.


To the Nigerian government

These recommendations take into account the Constitution (1999) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, reflective of the ethnic, customary and religious mix of its peoples. However, it is without doubt that as a state party to the African Charter and other international Human Rights instruments, the Government has a paramount obligation to respect and implement those instruments. It is on this premise that these recommendations are made from the findings and observations made on the meetings with all the stakeholders during this mission.

  1. The Government is urged to be more proactive, especially, the federal Ministry of Justice, in facilitating and expediting the passing of various human rights Bills before the National Assembly, especially the Domestic Violence Bills 2003 and others, in its efforts to face the challenges posed by the discrimination against women in some customary and religious laws and practices in the country.
  2. The government is encouraged to review the powers and increase the funding of the Nigeria Human Rights Commission, with a view to ensure its independence, especially from Government, in line with the Paris Principles.
  3. The Government is also encouraged to make the declaration under Section 34 (6) of the Protocol to the African Charter on the establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights to enable Nigerian citizens and organizations to enforce their African Charter rights in the African Court.
  4. The Government is urged to adopt effective measures to resolve the problem of logistics and reform of the structure of the Independent National Electoral Commission to enable it carry out its functions properly and efficiently.
  5. In addition to engaging 2000 lawyers for the purpose of expediting the trial of remanded suspects, the Government through the Ministry of Justice, can formulate and legislate on non-custodial sentences such as community services and fines for petty offences to reduce prison overcrowding.
  6. The Government is urged to establish an independent Police oversight body to investigate allegations of police malpractices, including unlawful killings.
  7. Additional and sustained efforts can now be made at all levels of Government to abolish the death penalty from Nigeria’s statute books.
  8. The evictions at the waterfront in Port Harcourt, and evictions generally, need to be followed by the adoption of the best practice of compensation and or rehousing.

The Police

  1. The prolonged Police investigation into the death of the Boko Haram leader allegedly in Police custody need to be expedited and the report published.
  2. The death of 300 Police Officers in the line of duty within a short period of 9 months calls for better training and equipment of Police Officers.
  3. The Police and Prison services need to cooperate in preventing the detention of lunatics in prison.


  1. The key Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation need to coordinate their programmes and projects to ensure a concerted impact on the human rights problems in the Niger Delta, mainly caused by the activities of the oil industry.
  2. The lack of readily available data and statistics on the oil polluted area in the Niger Delta need to be addressed urgently.


  1. The control and containment of prison riots should be carried out without causing death of inmates.
  2. The Judiciary can be involved in the joint efforts of the Prison authorities and the Ministry of Justice to adopt further measures to resolve the overcrowding in prison as well as the other challenges facing the prisons, including the need for new prison buildings to house inmates, long pretrial detention of suspects, the detention of lunatics, minors with adults and the need for separate prisons for females.