from Africa in Transition

Human Rights Watch Report on Nigeria

May 16, 2011

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Nigeria

Wars and Conflict

A woman stands in front of burnt buildings in Kachia village, where violence erupted last week, in Nigeria's northern state of Kaduna April 28, 2011. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Human Rights Watch, the highly credible international advocacy and research organization, has released its rigorous analysis of the 2011 post-election violence in Nigeria. Based upon over 55 interviews in Nigeria with victims and witnesses of the violence, the report provides the most detailed analysis of the violence we have to date. For example, the research demonstrates that the rioting was more widespread than has generally been acknowledged, and the mortality figures are higher than have been publicized elsewhere.

Further, the report adds examples of specific shortcomings during the actual balloting process, including “vote buying, ballot-box stuffing, and inflation of results.”

With 800 people killed, 65,000 displaced, and the country polarized to new levels, is it accurate to describe Nigeria’s elections as a “step forward”? The number of people killed during the 2011 election is at least twice as high as the figures from the 2007 poll—to name one disconcerting trend.

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