Assault: Nigerian Army Must Improve Human Rights Record

Nigerian army’s human rights commitment remains questionable following the circulation of a viral video depicting soldiers torturing a civilian.

Development Diaries reports that in a 32-second video clip, a man in military attire and another in civilian clothing are seen kicking and whipping a shirtless man who pleads for mercy.

Although the Nigerian army has announced the arrest of the soldiers involved in the unprofessional conduct, the country’s military authorities need to take stronger action against violators of human rights.

Torture is never justified as it is illegal, barbaric, and inhumane, and this is not the first time military personnel have been captured on video assaulting a civilian.

A video showing a female soldier assaulting a female National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member in Cross River State, south-south Nigeria, went viral in 2021.

In November 2020, Nigerian military officers were captured beating a woman for ‘indecent dressing’ and forcibly cutting the hair of at least six men in Ibadan, Oyo State.

Also, this time in 2017, two soldiers were arrested and charged with assault after they were filmed beating a physically challenged man with sticks in a busy street.

Despite the army’s establishment of a Human Rights Desk, which is among other responsibilities mandated to strengthen the army’s capacity to protect human rights, there are still growing complaints of inappropriate engagement between soldiers and the civilian population.

Addressing human rights abuses within the Nigerian military requires a combination of structural reforms, comprehensive training programmes, and a commitment to accountability.

Development Diaries calls on the Nigerian Army Human Rights Desk to conduct a thorough and unbiased investigation into this incident in Rivers State and bring erring personnel to book.

We also demand a robust training programme to educate military personnel on human rights obligations and the importance of upholding these principles.

Photo source: Nigerian Army


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