Country of Origin Information Report

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Country of Origin Information Report


25 May 2007

Border & Immigration Agency

Country of Origin Information Service

Latest News
Events in Nigeria from 12 May 2007 to 25 May 2007
Reports on Nigeria published or accessed between 12 May 2007 and

25 May 2007

Background Information
1. Geography 1.01

Map 1.03

2. Economy 2.01

3. History 3.01

4. Recent developments 4.01

5. Constitution 5.01

6. Political system 6.01
Human Rights
7. Introduction 7.01

The National Human Rights Commission 7.04

Persecution from non-state agents and internal relocation 7.06

8. Security forces 8.01

Overview 8.01

The Nigerian Police Force 8.03

The Police Service Commission 8.07

Arbitrary arrest and detention 8.09

Torture 8.10

Extra-judicial killings 8.13

Avenues of complaint 8.15

Extra-judicial killings committed by the Nigerian
armed forces 8.20

9. Military service 9.01

10. Judiciary 10.01

Organisation 10.01

Independence 10.02

Fair trial 10.04

11. Shari’a penal codes 11.01

Introduction of the Shari’a penal codes 11.01

Legal framework 11.04

The Shari’a courts system 11.06

Implementation of the Shari’a penal codes 11.07

Government policy regarding the Shari’a penal codes 11.13

Freedom to publicly express criticism of Shari’a 11.15

12. Arrest and detention 12.01

Legal rights 12.01

Persons convicted of drugs offences and Decree 33 of 1990 12.03

13. Prison conditions 13.01

14. Death penalty 14.01

15. Political affiliation 15.01

Freedom of political expression 15.02

Freedom of association and assembly 15.03

16. Freedom of speech and media 16.01

17. Human Rights institutions, organisations and activists 17.01

18. Corruption and the government’s efforts to tackle it 18.01

Use of forged documentation 18.07

19. Freedom of religion 19.01

Constitutional rights 19.01

Government restrictions on freedom of religion 19.02

Religious groups 19.04

Incidents of violence between religious groups 19.05

Incidents of violence between Christians and Muslims from
2001 to 2004 19.06

Incidents of violence between Christians and Muslims in
February 2006 19.11

The response of the Government and the police to the
incidents of violence of February 2006 19.14

Incidents of violence between the Yan-Gwagwarmaya Islamic
sect and the Government’s security forces during 2004 19.15

Incidents of violence between the Al Sunna Wal Jamma
Islamic sect and the Government’s security forces during
2003 and 2004 19.16

Incidents of violence between members of the Sunni and
Shi’ite Islamic sects during 2005 19.19

Traditional Nigerian religions and ritual killings 19.20

20. Ethnic groups 20.01

Ethnicity and societal discrimination 20.02

Incidents of violence between different ethnic groups 20.04

Inter-ethnic violence in the Delta region 20.05

21. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons 21.01

Legal rights 21.01

Government attitudes 21.05

Societal ill-treatment or discrimination 21.08

22. Disability 22.01

23. Women 23.01

Legal rights 23.01

Political rights 23.02

Social and economic rights 23.03

Violence against women 23.04

State protection for victims of violence 23.06

Rape and the law 23.11

State protection for victims of rape 23.14

Prosecution of rape cases 23.16

Forced marriages 23.17

Female genital mutilation 23.18

24. Children 24.01

Education 24.01

Child labour 24.03

Facilities for children with learning disabilities 24.04

Child marriage 24.05

25. Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of
Biafra (MASSOB) 25.01

26. Armed militia groups in the Delta Region 26.01

The Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force and the Niger Delta
Vigilante 26.01

The Government’s response to the militia violence 26.02

The 2004 agreement to end the violence 26.03

Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) 26.04

27. Vigilante groups 27.01

Background 27.01

Vigilante groups and the police 27.03

28. The O’odua People’s Congress 28.01

29. Secret societies 29.01

The Ogboni society 29.02

30. Student secret cults 30.01

Reasons why students join cults 30.02

Recruitment and initiation 30.04

Cult activities 30.05

Incidents of violence 30.06

31. Trafficking 31.01

Overview 31.01

Migration routes and transit stays 31.03

Societal attitudes to trafficking 31.04

Government efforts to tackle trafficking 31.06

Government efforts to provide assistance to the victims of

trafficking 31.12

Treatment of trafficked women returned to Nigeria 31.14

Persecution of trafficked women returned to Nigeria 31.16

32. Medical issues 32.01

Overview of availability of medical treatment and drugs 32.01

HIV/AIDS – anti-retroviral treatment 32.06

Discrimination against people with AIDS 32.09

Cancer treatment 32.10

Coronary heart disease 32.13

Tuberculosis 32.14

Sickle cell anaemia 32.16

Malaria 32.18

Mental health 32.19

33. Freedom of movement 33.01

34. Exit-entry procedures 34.01

35. Treatment of returned failed asylum seekers 35.01

36. Internally displaced people (IDPs) 36.01

37. Foreign refugees 37.01

38. Citizenship and nationality 38.01

39. Employment rights 39.01

40. Extended family and other community support networks 40.01

Annex A – Chronology of major events

Annex B – Political organisations

Annex C – Prominent people: past and present

Annex D – List of abbreviations

Annex E – References to source material

i This Country of Origin Information Report (COI Report) has been produced by Research, Development and Statistics (RDS), Home Office, for use by officials involved in the asylum/human rights determination process. The Report provides general background information about the issues most commonly raised in asylum/human rights claims made in the United Kingdom. The main body of the report includes information available up to 11 May 2007. The ‘latest news’ section contains further brief information on events and reports accessed from 12 May 2007 to 25 May 2007.
ii The Report is compiled wholly from material produced by a wide range of recognised external information sources and does not contain any Home Office opinion or policy. All information in the Report is attributed, throughout the text, to the original source material, which is made available to those working in the asylum/human rights determination process.
iii The Report aims to provide a brief summary of the source material identified, focusing on the main issues raised in asylum and human rights applications. It is not intended to be a detailed or comprehensive survey. For a more detailed account, the relevant source documents should be examined directly.
iv The structure and format of the COI Report reflects the way it is used by Home Office caseworkers and appeals presenting officers, who require quick electronic access to information on specific issues and use the contents page to go directly to the subject required. Key issues are usually covered in some depth within a dedicated section, but may also be referred to briefly in several other sections. Some repetition is therefore inherent in the structure of the Report.
v The information included in this COI Report is limited to that which can be identified from source documents. While every effort is made to cover all relevant aspects of a particular topic, it is not always possible to obtain the information concerned. For this reason, it is important to note that information included in the Report should not be taken to imply anything beyond what is actually stated. For example, if it is stated that a particular law has been passed, this should not be taken to imply that it has been effectively implemented unless stated.
vi As noted above, the Report is a collation of material produced by a number of reliable information sources. In compiling the Report, no attempt has been made to resolve discrepancies between information provided in different source documents. For example, different source documents often contain different versions of names and spellings of individuals, places and political parties etc. COI Reports do not aim to bring consistency of spelling, but to reflect faithfully the spellings used in the original source documents. Similarly, figures given in different source documents sometimes vary and these are simply quoted as per the original text. The term ‘sic’ has been used in this document only to denote incorrect spellings or typographical errors in quoted text; its use is not intended to imply any comment on the content of the material.

vii The Report is based substantially upon source documents issued during the previous two years. However, some older source documents may have been included because they contain relevant information not available in more recent documents. All sources contain information considered relevant at the time this Report was issued.

viii This COI Report and the accompanying source material are public documents. All COI Reports are published on the RDS section of the Home Office website and the great majority of the source material for the Report is readily available in the public domain. Where the source documents identified in the Report are available in electronic form, the relevant web link has been included, together with the date that the link was accessed. Copies of less accessible source documents, such as those provided by government offices or subscription services, are available from the Home Office upon request.
ix COI Reports are published regularly on the top 20 asylum intake countries. COI Bulletins are produced on lower asylum intake countries according to operational need. Home Office officials also have constant access to an information request service for specific enquiries.
x In producing this COI Report, the Home Office has sought to provide an accurate, balanced summary of the available source material. Any comments regarding this Report or suggestions for additional source material are very welcome and should be submitted to the Home Office as below.
Country of Origin Information Service

Home Office

Apollo House

36 Wellesley Road

Croydon CR9 3RR

United Kingdom


Advisory Panel on Country Information
xi The independent Advisory Panel on Country Information was established under the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 to make recommendations to the Home Secretary about the content of the Home Office’s country of origin information material. The Advisory Panel welcomes all feedback on the Home Office’s COI Reports and other country of origin information material. Information about the Panel’s work can be found on its website at
xii It is not the function of the Advisory Panel to endorse any Home Office material or procedures. In the course of its work, the Advisory Panel directly reviews the content of selected individual Home Office COI Reports, but neither the fact that such a review has been undertaken, nor any comments made, should be taken to imply endorsement of the material. Some of the material examined by the Panel relates to countries designated or proposed for designation for the Non-Suspensive Appeals (NSA) list. In such cases, the Panel’s work should not be taken to imply any endorsement of the decision or proposal to designate a particular country for NSA, nor of the NSA process itself.
Advisory Panel on Country Information

PO Box 1539

Croydon CR9 3WR

United Kingdom


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Latest News
Events in Nigeria from 12 May 2007 to 25 May 2007
17 May The Nigerian newspaper Daily Champion reported that Nigeria harbours the highest number of people with sickle cell anaemia in the world. The Chairman of the Sickle Cell Foundation of Nigeria, Prof. Olu Akinyanju, stated that a national sickle cell centre will be set up. The centre, when completed, will liaise with the relevant federal and state institutions to enhance its capacity to address the problem, and develop an effective national control programme. This will be achieved by conducting and promoting research, continuing capacity building in diagnosis, genetic counselling and treatment, developing appropriate curricula for educational institutions and producing public information.

‘Daily Champion’ (Lagos), Sickle Cell – Nigeria Tasked on Prevention, Research,

17 May 2007

Date accessed 17 May 2007
15 May The Nigerian newspaper This Day reported that on 14 May, Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former Head of State, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), began their challenge of the April presidential elections. The Court of Appeal granted their requests to inspect and make copies of the electoral materials used by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Abubakar was the presidential candidate of Action Congress in the election while Buhari was the presidential candidate of the All Nigeria People’s Party. They stated that their actions were necessary to show that the President-elect, Alhaji Yar’Adua of the PDP, does not have the mandate of Nigerians.

‘This Day’ (Lagos), Tribunal Grants Atiku, Buhari Access to INEC Documents

15 May 2007

Date accessed 17 May 2007

15 May The Nigerian newspaper This Day reported that Nigeria carries Africa’s greatest malaria burden with 110 million cases per year, and accounts for 30 per cent of infant mortalities in Nigeria. The country has a budget of US $738 million to combat malaria. This money will be used to distribute six million doses of Artemisinin-based combination drugs free to children under five; 1.9 million doses of drugs for pregnant women and three million treated bed nets free to children under five and pregnant women. The Ministry of Health is also developing a strategy that focuses on priority activities such as intermittent malaria-prevention treatments, insecticide treatment nets, management of malaria in pregnancy, and case management.

‘This Day’ (Lagos), Combating the Malaria Scourge, 15 May 2007

Date accessed 17 May 2007

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Reports on Nigeria published or accessed between

12 May 2007 and 25 May 2007
Amnesty International 2007 Annual Report

Nigeria section, 23 May 2007

Date accessed 23 May 2007

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Background information

1. Geography
1.01 The Nigeria section of states that the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a west African coastal state, and covers an area of 923,768 square km. Nigeria’s neighbouring countries are Benin to the west, Niger to the north, Chad to the north east and Cameroon to the east and south east. Nigeria has a climate that is characterised by relatively high temperatures throughout the year. [1]

    1. The US State Department Background Note on Nigeria, published in April 2007, states that the capital city of Nigeria is Abuja. Other major cities include Lagos, Ibadan and Kano. English is the official language and Nigerians commonly communicate in English, although knowledge of two or more Nigerian languages is widespread. Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo are the most widely used Nigerian languages. Although less than 25 per cent of Nigerians live in urban areas, at least 24 cities have a population of more than 100,000. Nigeria is divided administratively into 36 states and a Federal Capital Territory. The states are further sub-divided into 774 local government areas. The country’s main ports are at Lagos, Port Harcourt and Calabar. Most of the roads in Nigeria are in poor condition, but state governments have gradually been improving the road network, using central government funds. Nigeria has four international airports – Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and Abuja. There are several private Nigerian air carriers that operate internal flights. [3c] (p1-2, 9-10). In December 2006, the National Population Commission published provisional results of the 2006 national census which indicated that the national population was 140 million. (‘This Day’ [Nigerian newspaper], “Country’s Population is 140m”, dated 30 December 2006. [43a]

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1.03 The attached map can be obtained from

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2. Economy
2.01 The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) 2007 Country Profile on Nigeria states:
“Nigeria displays the characteristics of a dual economy: an enclave oil sector with few links to the rest of the economy, except via government revenue, exists alongside a more typical developing African economy, heavily dependent on traditional agricultural, trade and some limited manufacturing. During the colonial era cash crops were introduced, harbours, railways and roads were developed, and a market for consumer goods began to emerge. At independence in 1960 agriculture accounted for well over half of GDP and was the main source of export earnings and public revenue, with the agricultural marketing boards playing a leading role.” [10a] (p23)
“However, the rapid development of the oil sector in the 1970s meant that it quickly replaced the agricultural sector as the leading engine of growth. According to official Nigerian government estimates, the oil sector accounts for 70-80% of federal government revenue (depending on the oil price), around 90% of export earnings and about 25% of GDP, measured at constant basic prices. Agriculture (including livestock, forestry and fishing), which is still the main activity of the majority of Nigerians, constitutes about 40% of GDP. In recent years it has become clear that the manufacturing sector has also continued to decline, to well under 5% of GDP, while the services sector and the retail and wholesale sectors have continued to grow and now account for the majority of the remaining 30% of GDP.” [10a] (p23-24)

    1. The International Crisis Group report ‘Nigeria: Want in the Midst of Plenty’, published in July 2006, adds:

“The country has abundant human and natural resources but still struggles with mass impoverishment. Agriculture, once its primary hard currency earner, has collapsed, and food imports now account for a sixth of the trade bill. Manufacturing is a smaller proportion of the economy – about 6 per cent – than at independence. The landscape is dotted with oversized industrial projects of limited utility and capacity.”

“…despite the country’s oil wealth, extreme poverty – defined by the World Bank as living on less than $1 per day – now affects 37 per cent of the population. Nine out of ten Nigerians live on less than $2 daily. Corruption, a boom and bust cycle of oil prices and failure to diversify the economy have left the country in ‘a development trap’.”
“…Nigeria continues to produce millions of migrants, essentially economic refugees, who live throughout Africa, Europe and the U.S. Since 1994, when Western Union started its operations in Nigeria, an average of $3 billion in remittances has been channelled annually via this service alone. This is twice as much as the yearly inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) during the early 2000s.” [17a] (Introduction)

    1. The BBC News Online “Nigeria: Facts and Figures” report, published in April 2007, adds further:

“Nigeria is the economic powerhouse of West Africa, contributing nearly 50% of regional GDP. Economically, Nigeria remains dependent on the oil and gas sector. Nigeria is a member of Opec and is the world’s eighth largest exporter of oil. Revenue from Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) is expected to surpass oil revenues over the next 10 years.”

“Although the type of crude oil produced in Nigeria needs little refining, Nigeria has been unable to get its own refineries working to the point where it can produce petroleum products for domestic consumption and has to re-import refined products.”
“…Nigeria has some of the worst social indicators in the world: one in five children die before the age of five; 12 million children are not in school; and there are nearly two million Aids orphans.”

“More than 54.7% of the population (75 million people) live below the poverty line in a country where the life expectancy is 47.”  

“Eight years after the introduction of the president’s privatisation programme, Nigerians are still waiting for a guaranteed electricity supply, running water, sewerage services, improved rail and road services and telephone facilities.” [8k] 

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