Nigeria

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Persistent violations
  • Inconsistent definition of the child [1]
  • The possibility of applying the death penalty to under 18s under the Sharia penal codes [2]
  • Detention of children with adults [3]
  • Inconsistent minimum age of criminal responsibility across states [4]
  • Ethnic tension and violence affecting children [5]
  • Early marriage [6]
  • High prevalence of child trafficking [7]
  • High prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM), particularly in northern states [8]
  • Violence against children, particularly girls [9]
  • Low enrolment and completion rates and gender inequality in schools [10]
  • High rate of child labour, particularly in domestic service, mining and agriculture [11]
  • High rate of infant and maternal mortality and access to health services, particularly for women and girls [12]

For more details, go here

Footnotes
  1. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
  2. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
  3. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  4. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
  5. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief
  6. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
  7. UN Committee on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, Universal Periodic Review
  8. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, Universal Periodic Review
  9. UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
  10. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  11. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
  12. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights



Introduction

Geography

The federal republic of Nigeria in West Africa borders Chad and Cameroon in the east, Benin in the west, Niger in the north and the Atlantic ocean in the south. Its southern coast is located in the gulf of Guinea. Nigeria wields considerable geo-political, social, cultural and economic influence in the region.The country's capital city is Abuja.

Population and language

With over 155,000,000 people, Nigeria has the biggest population in Africa and is the eighth most populous country in the world. Nigeria is one of the most diverse countries in Africa with well over 250 ethnic groups. The three largest groups which make up more than 70 per cent of the population are the Fulanis, the Igbos and the Yoruba [1]. Other groups include the Edo, Ijaw, Kanuri, Ibibio, Ebira Nupe. The official language of Nigeria is English.

Politics

Nigeria achieved independence from Britain in October 1960, with Nnamdi Azikiwe as the first head of the government. Nigeria has seen its fair share of political crises in recent times: eight coups and failed coup attempts have taken place since 1966; a civil war - known as the “Biafran war” - killed over a million people and several outbreaks of violence. After almost 30 years of military rule, the country returned to civilian rule in 1999. The current president, Goodluck Jonathan, came to power after the death his predecessor Umaru Yar'Adua in May 2010, and retained power after elections in April 2011.

Economy

Economically, Nigeria is sub-Saharan Africa's second biggest economy. The economy, which is centred around oil, has been growing consistently since 2000. Nigeria is the biggest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa and the 15th in the world, but the benefits of its revenues are hardly felt by ordinary Nigerians, not only as a result of the lack of transparency on deals and contracts with foreign companies, but also because of high levels of corruption. Concerns have been expressed about the economy's dependence on oil, which is preventing diversification of the economy, as well as the high rate of youth unemployment and widespread insecurity. [2]

Nigeria's main trading partners are China, the United States, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and South Korea.

Media and civil society

Reporters Without Borders has stated that Nigeria has one of the weakest records on press freedom in Africa, and ranks 145th out of 178 countries in its worldwide Press Freedom Index. The situation is said to have worsened in recent months, with 30 attacks on journalists reported between January and April 2011 [3], including reports that some journalists were beaten by security forces for reporting on the former president's health. Nigeria came under international scrutiny last year after a report was published detailing the extrajudicial killings, torture, rape, and extortion committed by police with relative impunity[4]

The Niger Delta region has also been in the international spotlight as a result of tensions between the government and oil companies and the local population who are unhappy with the distribution of oil workers.

Children's rights

In terms of children's rights, a number of NGOs have expressed concerns that children under the age of 18 can be sentenced to death, flogging and amputation in some States under Shari'a law. Discrimination and ill-treatment of children accused of witchcraft have also been widely reported.

Footnotes:

  1. National Population Commission, Nigeria
  2. African Economic Outlook: Nigeria, 8 June 2011
  3. Reporters Without Borders,“Presidential election being held as attacks on media increase", 16 April 2011
  4. Open Society Justice Initiative, "Criminal Force: Torture, Abuse, and Extrajudicial Killings by the Nigeria Police Force", May 2010

Sources:


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