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Nigeria: People With Mental Health Conditions Chained, Abused

woman feet chained

Thousands of people with mental health conditions across Nigeria are chained and locked up in various facilities where they face terrible abuse, Human Rights Watch said in a recent report.

Detention, chaining, and violent treatment are pervasive in many settings, including state hospitals, rehabilitation centers, traditional healing centres, and both Christian and Islamic faith-based facilities.

“People with mental health conditions should be supported and provided with effective services in their communities, not chained and abused,” said Emina Cerimovic  senior disability rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “People with mental health conditions find themselves in chains in various places in Nigeria, subject to years of unimaginable hardship and abuse.”

President Muhammadu Buhari said in October 2019 that he would not “tolerate the existence of the torture chambers and physical abuses of inmates in the name of rehabilitation.” But the government has yet to acknowledge that this abuse is rife in government-run facilities too.

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