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History of Human Rights Violations in Nigeria, 1970-1999.


History of Human Rights Violations in Nigeria, 1970-1999.


Nigeria has a long history of the violation of human rights. its   commonly believed that human rights violation in Nigeria has colonial roots, in an effort to consolidate and expand their power but even so, years after independence the Nigerian citizen continue to face constant violation of their basic rights.

Nigeria has experience a mix of period of military and civilian rule. The military rule in Nigeria became a symbol of great authoritarianism after every military coup, the government suspended the constitution and, this absolved itself of the accountability toward its people.

Similarly the civilian rule also came to be characterized by the institutional failure in observing people rights in order to hold on to power. The civilian leaders denied freedom of expression, practiced unlawfully and extra judicial killing and rigged elections.

The purpose of this topic is to explore issues of human rights violations after independence between the years 1970-1990.


The established features of democracy with its provision of the constitution that regulates the behaviors of both the ruling government and citizens, as enshrined in the constitution had positioned the ultimate principle that political power belong to the entire people and not restricted to the few representatives of the government.

The doctrine of separation of power and check and balances, as propounded by Montesquieu, cardinal principle of democracy, which ensures the distinctiveness and independence of the three arms of government at various levels.

The issues of the violation of human rights has assumed center stage of the various regional grouping and have vigorously been mandated by international agreements and treaties, to always obey the fundamental principles of human rights.¹

Its equally good to state that the fundamental principle of human rights and its violation are majorly characterized during the military era and dictatorship regimes, because the military regime is an aberration and not a form of governments, the military then protect the unconstitutional and inhuman acts, and in the bid to do this, the fundamental human rights of the citizens are trampled upon.³

Over the years various measures have been adopted by international institutions and organizations to reduce the trends of the violation on the fundamental human rights at various countries, most cases sanctions have been imposed which on its own, is another way of violating the rights of ordinary man.

Even though we say that the violation of the human rights is an attributes to military regime, it is equally important to note that democracy till date are found to be violating human rights especially during the democratic dispensation of 1999 to present.

This study will be limited to military regime in Nigeria, as well as various cases of violation of human rights during the democratic government.


Ajomo M.A, Owasanoye Bolaji, (1999), Individual Rights under 1989 Constitution, Owerri; Achugo Publishers.

Nwabueze B.O, (1992), military Rule and Constitutionalism Port Harcourt; Spectrum Publisher.

Wilson, (1969), Diplomatic Privileges and Immunity, London; university of Arizona Press.

Julia Hauserman, (1993), the Nature of Economic, Social and  Cultural Rights in Human Rights, Lagos; Civil Liberty Organization.

Chukuezi Charles M.N, (1999) Introduction to Human Rights and Social Justice, Owerri; Ochumba Publication Camp.

C.E Emezi and Ndoh, (1999), The Military and Politics in Nigeria .Owerri; Achugo Publication.

W.W Rostow, (1959), the Stages of Economic Growth, a non Communist Manifesto, London; Cambridge University Press.

Daniel Si Pappi, (1984), Contemporary International Relation, New York Macmillan Publication.

I.A Gambari, (1980), Party Politics and Foreign Policy in Nigeria, Zaria; Ahmadu Bello University Press Limited.

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