This report looks at the role of the UK government in fuelling human rights abuses and conflict in Nigeria and its relationship to access to fossil fuel resources.
Controlling access to Nigeria’s oil and gas reserves is a significant strategic concern for global policymakers. Nigeria extracts more crude oil than any other African country, 61% of which is exported to Europe and the US.
However, in Nigeria, 100 million people live on less than a dollar a day and 72% of the population use wood for cooking. The UK has given rising amounts of aid to the Nigerian military. Meanwhile, Amnesty’s assessment of the country is that the human rights situation has deteriorated” with “hundreds of people… unlawfully killed” by the police and military forces. The UK Government has not provided evidence to rule out that its military aid was used to commit human rights abuses or fuel conflict.
By offering support for troops patrolling the oil-rich Niger Delta who have committed serious and sustained human rights abuses, and by escalating its military presence in the Gulf of Guinea where strategic oil and gas installations and shipping lanes are located, the UK Government leaves itself open to accusations of prioritising energy company profits over human rights. At the same time, it has actively supported arms traders and private military and security companies who profit from Nigeria’s oil conflict.