Nigeria’s election: human rights on the agenda


On February 16, 2019, Nigeria will hold its first national elections since the nation’s peaceful transfer of political power in 2015. While pre-election assessments suggest positive developments by electoral stakeholders, many Nigerians expect a close presidential race and possible efforts to manipulate the process. Some fear that a combination of factors could fuel electoral violence, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission notes:

Nigeria continues to face significant human rights challenges across the country. Though its death toll is down from a peak in 2015, Boko Haram continues to perpetrate human rights violations through suicide bombings, kidnappings and other terrorist-related activities. In Nigeria’s Middle Belt region, the farmer-herder conflict has become the country’s deadliest with an estimated 1,300 people killed in the first six months of 2018. Communal violence and retaliatory attacks by herdsman and farmer groups against one another over limited resources incorporate religious and ethnic dynamics that have further polarized the country. It is estimated that over 1.9 million Nigerians remain internally displaced because of these conflicts. Security force abuses and harassment of journalists are among other issues of potential concern as elections approach. 

Panellists will discuss these human rights challenges within the context of the upcoming elections and address how Congress and the international community can best support the Nigerian people.

John Tomaszewski, Regional Director for Africa, International Republican Institute

Oge Onubogu, Senior Program Officer for Africa Programs, U.S. Institute of Peace

Kristina Arriaga, Vice Chair, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom


Jamie Staley, Senior Professional Staff, Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission

Thursday, December 6, 2018

2:30 – 3:30 p.m.

2255 Rayburn House Office Building

Capitol Hill,

Washington, DC

This briefing is open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media. For any questions, please contact Jamie Staley (for Mr. Hultgren) at (202-226-1516) or or Kimberly Stanton (for Mr. McGovern) at 202-225-3599 or

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