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EU Links Nigeria’s Insecurity To Poor Economy, Poverty, Laments Erosion Of Media Freedom

The European Union (EU) has attributed the spate of insecurity in Nigeria to the poor state of the economy and poverty created by the combined effect of COVID-19 pandemic, inflation and the drop in crude oil prices.

The EU, in its annual world human rights and democracy report 2021 under Nigeria Country Report lamented that the country saw a continuing trend in the deterioration of its human rights and security situation where almost every part of the country was experiencing violence and crime.

“The recent surge of insecurity is also a result of the staggering economic situation and poverty across Nigeria due to the combined effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation and the drop in oil prices. Nigeria, especially the north, continues to have some of the worst development indicators in sub-saharan Africa,” the report said.

The EU said media freedom in the country is slowly being eroded, curtailing the space for public debate and free speech.

The group recalled that on June 5, 2021, government suspended Twitter from operating in the country, accusing it of providing a platform for critics and opponents.

It added that after months of negotiations with the platform, the ban was lifted only in January 2022.

“At present, bills seeking to restrict media activities, both print and electronic, are pending before the parliament. A bill is also pending which proposes regulating the activities of civil society groups.

“Although Nigeria is a signatory to the main international human rights instruments and has passed important laws to protect the rights of its citizens, implementation and fulfilment of these legal obligations has proven challenging, especially in conflict and post conflict situations across Nigeria,” the European  Union also said.

The EU listed challenges in the country to  include widespread sexual and gender-based violence, child marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM), trafficking in human beings, arbitrary harassment of journalists and citizens, discrimination against LGBTI persons, death penalty (albeit with a de-facto moratorium is in place since December 2016) and indiscriminate violence against civilians by non-state and state actors.

“There are a number of on-going controversial individual cases of human rights violations, the most emblematic cases being Sharif Aminu, Omar Farouq and Mubarak Bala. Nigeria’s democratic landscape remains stable but volatile, and it is expected that this will remain the case in the run up to the 2023 general elections,” the EU said.

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