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II. Recommendations

To the Nigerian government and security forces

  • Make justice a priority:  ensure that the individuals responsible for organizing and carrying out the violence in Plateau and Kano states are identified, arrested, charged, and tried promptly, according to international fair trial standards.
  • Publish the findings of all commissions of inquiry set up by the federal and state governments on the violence in Plateau and Kano states since 2001.
  • Ensure an adequate security force presence in areas of likely tension in Plateau and Kano states, and improve mechanisms to obtain reinforcements rapidly should the need arise.  Efforts should be made to anticipate and prevent violence, rather than just reacting after violence has already begun.
  • Give strict instructions to members of the Nigerian police and military deployed to quell rioting that force should never be used against individuals who are unarmed and are not taking part in violence or other criminal activities.  In addition, members of the security forces should make every effort to arrest individuals suspected of criminal activity without resorting to lethal force.   All members of the security forces should respect the U.N. Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the U.N. Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials and their conduct should be monitored to ensure that these standards are adhered to at all times.
  • Investigate promptly all reports of extrajudicial killings by the police and the military in Kano in May 2004, and ensure that the perpetrators are suspended from active duty and brought to justice without delay.  Inform the families of the victims of the progress of such investigations, as well as any judicial action taken, and provide compensation for the loss of their relatives.  Investigations into extrajudicial killings should conform with the U.N. Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extralegal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions.
  • Investigate promptly reports of rape and sexual abuse against women taken captive from Yelwa in May 2004 and ensure that those responsible are prosecuted.  Police investigations into allegations of rape should be undertaken by female police officers trained for this task.
  • Continue to encourage dialogue and conflict resolution between ethnic and religious communities in Plateau and Kano states, at the level of the grassroots as well as the leadership.  Conflict resolution initiatives should not preclude the search for justice.
  • Pursue a program of disarmament and continue with initiatives to encourage people to hand in weapons.  Strengthen controls over weapons flows and improve border security with neighboring countries.  Take the lead in pressing for the implementation of a binding regional convention on small arms to replace the ECOWAS small arms moratorium.
  • Remove references to the concept of “indigeneship” from the Nigerian Constitution and other official documents and discourse, as the manner in which this concept has been applied violates Nigeria’s obligations under Article 2 of the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights.  Ensure that all Nigerians are able to enjoy the same rights, regardless of their place of origin or residence.
  • Address the issues at the heart of the disputes between communities, such as control of local political positions, economic resources and ownership of land. 

To religious and community leaders, at national, state and local levels

  • Continue to seek long-term solutions to the tensions and grievances among communities and pursue meaningful dialogue about peaceful ways of resolving these tensions at all levels.
  • Refrain from making statements which incite violence or encourage hostility and prejudice towards other ethnic or religious communities.
  • In situations of potential tension, explicitly and publicly call on members of their community to refrain from resorting to violence.  Make clear that retaliatory attacks in the name of self-defense are never a justification for killing or other forms of violence against unarmed civilians.

<<previous  |  index  |  next>>May 2005