2021 Nigeria Press Kit

Embargoed until 1.00pm 24 June 2021, NZST/3.00am 24 June 2021, WAST

Executive Summary  |  Press contact  | Rights Tracker  |  Score Summary   | Story Leads |  About HRMI  |  HRMI Spokespeople  |  Further resourcesLogos

Executive Summary for Nigeria

The Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI, pronounced ‘her-mee’) is the first global project to track the human rights performance of countries. Its 2021 Rights Tracker gives human rights scores on up to 13 different human rights contained in United Nations treaties, for around 200 countries.

The 2021 Rights Tracker scores for Nigeria are sadly very poor.

Headlines (further details below):

  • Nigeria performing worse than average in sub-Saharan Africa

  • Millions of Nigerians could have better lives

    • If Nigeria were to operate at its full potential given its current resources, we would expect an additional 12 million children under five to grow well and not be stunted.
    • If Nigeria were operating at best practice, we would expect an extra 3.6 million additional children to reach their fifth birthday.
    • If Nigeria used its resources efficiently, an additional 122 million people could have access to basic sanitation and an extra 143 million people could have access to water on site.
    • If Nigeria were operating at its full potential given its current resources, it could lift 118 million people out of absolute poverty.
    • If Nigeria were using its resources effectively, an extra 9.3 million primary school aged children could be enrolled in primary school.

The civil and political rights data, and the people at risk responses, were collected in February and March 2021, about events in the year 2020.

The economic and social rights data are based on figures from international databases and provide scores for every year from 2007-2018.

Press contact

Spokesperson: Anne-Marie Brook, Co-founder and Development Lead


Click on images for larger versions.

Spokesperson: Dr Susan Randolph, Co-founder and Economic and Social Rights Lead

Click on images for larger versions.

Spokesperson: K. Chad Clay, Co-founder and Civil and Political Rights Metrics Lead

Quotes from our experts

Dr Susan Randolph:

On the impact of the pandemic: ‘Worldwide, the pandemic’s impact fell most heavily on the most vulnerable countries and the most vulnerable people in all countries—the elderly, people with disabilities, indigenous people, immigrants, refugees, poorer people, people in detention, children, and those facing ethnic or racial discrimination.’

On the importance of human rights during the pandemic: ‘A focus on human rights is even more important in the context of Covid-19. Marshalling resources to improve human rights can simultaneously help stem the pandemic. How can people protect themselves by washing their hands if they don’t have access to running water? How can people maintain social distance if they are homeless or living in an over crowded home? How can people know to quarantine themselves when they feel ill if they don’t have access to tests? How can we prevent the deaths of those who contract Covid-19 if people don’t have access to affordable healthcare? It’s not just a matter of stemming the pandemic, but also of focusing our admittedly more limited resources on those factors that make the most difference to people’s lives.’

On how human rights can help slow climate change: ‘Beyond the benefits in stemming the Covid-19 crisis, refocusing country efforts to improve basic economic and social rights and away from energy intensive economic growth can help slow global warming ensuring our children and our children’s children have better opportunities to thrive in the future. To bring about this refocusing significant policy changes are needed. We know some of the policies that can help, but gaining insight into which policies work best and even whether our policies are working to promote the desired changes requires reliable measures.’

Anne-Marie Brook:

On why measuring human rights matters: ‘Leaders and other decision-makers already have lots of statistics on things like GDP growth. We want to make sure they also have robust data on how countries are treating people, so they can look at where things could be better and work towards making the changes that are needed.’

‘It’s hard for governments to know all the things they can be working on in the area of human rights if they don’t have accurate and consistent data that shine a light on both their successes and weaknesses.’

Press contact: Thalia Kehoe Rowden: thalia.kehoerowden (at) motu.org.nz

Online launch event and press conference

Press are welcome to our online launch, including a Q&A with HRMI staff, held at 1.00pm New Zealand Time, 3.00am 24 June 2021, WAST. Register here.

Rights Tracker

All images are taken from our Rights Tracker, and freely available for press and other use.

To explore the new 2021 data in full before launch, go to:

https://rightstracker-2021-embargoed.web.app/

Embargoed until 1.00pm 24 June 2021, NZT/3.00am 24 June 2021, WAST

Thereafter, our online Rights Tracker will have the new data: RightsTracker.org

Summary of Nigeria’s Scores

Quality of Life

Sadly, Nigeria’s scores for all four of these economic and social rights HRMI has data for – food, health, housing and work- all fall within the ‘very bad’ range.

Nigeria scores 54.6% for right to food; 48.2% for right to health; 31.7% for right to housing and 32.0% for right to work.

HRMI’s scores take each country’s GDP per capita into account, so they are based on what we calculate should be possible with a country’s current level of income. Nigeria’s government is not using its income efficiently to produce good outcomes for its people.

Nigeria Story Leads: Themes from the data

Nigeria performing worse than average in sub-Saharan Africa

For all the four rights we have scores for this year, Nigeria is performing worse than most countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

When we take each country’s income into account, Nigeria is in the bottom fifth in the continent for all four rights. When we look at raw performance, it does slightly better – people in Nigeria have a higher standard of living than in some other very poor countries – but even then it is below average.

For example, here are the bottom portions of the sub-Saharan African rankings for the right to food (where Nigeria comes sixth-to-last), and the right to health (second-to-last), using the income-adjusted scores:

These graphs are from HRMI’s Rights Tracker. Click on the images to view the interactive graphs on our embargoed site.

This tells us that the Nigerian government has the resources to do much better for its people, and is failing to put them to use to achieve good outcomes for people’s wellbeing and human dignity.

The good news is that this also means that there is plenty of room for improvement, even without an increase in wealth. If the Nigerian government used its income more effectively, millions of people could have better lives.

Millions of Nigerians could have better lives

In 2020 HRMI published a report on the potential for the Nigerian government to vastly improve its people’s lives by paying more attention to human rights.

We calculated how many people’s lives would be improved if Nigeria did well enough to score 100% on all our human rights measures – taking into account its current level of GDP per capita.

Here are the main findings, based on data published in 2020:

  • If Nigeria were to operate at its full potential given its current resources, we would expect an additional 12 million children under five to grow well and not be stunted.
  • If Nigeria were operating at best practice, we would expect an extra 3.6 million additional children to reach their fifth birthday.
  • If Nigeria used its resources efficiently, an additional 122 million people could have access to basic sanitation and an extra 143 million people could have access to water on site.
  • If Nigeria were operating at its full potential given its current resources, it could lift 118 million people out of absolute poverty.
  • If Nigeria were using its resources effectively, an extra 9.3 million primary school aged children could be enrolled in primary school.

See the full report.

About the Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI)


HRMI is a global, not-for-profit human rights data platform that aims to improve people’s lives by producing user-friendly, reliable information on the human rights progress of countries.

‘HRMI is filling a gap in human rights data, providing human rights practitioners with powerful tools to show governments how they are performing, and remind them of the promises they’ve made by signing human rights treaties.’

– Anne-Marie Brook

Co-founder and Development Lead Anne-Marie Brook, an economist and social entrepreneur, based in Wellington, New Zealand, says, ‘We know that it is hard for countries to make progress if good data aren’t available that show how they’re actually doing. HRMI is filling a gap in human rights data, providing human rights practitioners with powerful tools to show governments how they are performing, and remind them of the promises they’ve made by signing human rights treaties.’

Using our data in reporting on Nigeria

In early 2021, the HRMI team was invited by Human Rights Journalists Network in Nigeria to present a webinar on how to make use of our data in reporting.

HRMI Strategy and Communication Lead Thalia Kehoe Rowden was joined by HRMI intern Sharon Wangechi Muriuki to present the Rights Tracker, and take questions.

Nigerian reporters may find this webinar useful to understand the data – just note that it discusses our 2020 scores, not the new 2021 ones being released this month.

 

How HRMI produces the scores

HRMI human rights scores are produced by two teams of researchers.

Co-founder and Economic and Social Rights Lead Dr Susan Randolph produces scores for up to five Quality of Life rights, for around 200 countries, using indicator data supplied by countries to international databases. Dr Randolph then analyses the data using the award-winning SERF Index she developed with her colleagues, Sakiko Fukuda-Parr and Terra Lawson-Remer.

‘The SERF Index is unique because it takes into account a country’s financial resources,’ Dr Randolph explains. ‘The income-adjusted score shows how close a country is to meeting its urgent duty, compared with other countries with similar resources – for these rights, the realistic target is 100%.’

‘The HRMI Country Report tells people whether their government is doing its best with the country’s resources to give full effect to their economic and social rights, or whether there is room for improvement.’

Co-Founder and Civil and Political Rights Lead, Dr K Chad Clay from the University of Georgia, in the United States, heads up the data collection and analysis for HRMI’s Empowerment and Safety from the State measurements.

These rights are politically sensitive to measure, and HRMI is the first global project to track them systematically, country by country. In 2021 HRMI produced data for 39 countries, and is ready to expand to the rest of the world once sufficient funding is secured.

‘We know that the best sources of information on human rights in a country are the people directly monitoring conditions in that country. So we designed a detailed expert survey to be filled out by human rights practitioners, like lawyers, journalists, and advocates, including people working for organisations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. We collected data in February and March of 2021, asking about the situation in their country in 2020 and 2019. We then used statistical techniques to be sure we were providing the most accurate and honest information possible. Now we’re presenting our findings in scores out of ten for each of the eight civil and political rights we measure.’

‘Our vision is a world where countries are competing to see who can treat people the best.’

– Anne-Marie Brook

HRMI works on an annual cycle and is already preparing to collect data about 2021, ready for publication in 2022. As funding increases, HRMI is ready to:

  • expand to cover more countries
  • measure performance on more rights, and
  • provide more detail on performance, such as separating out scores by sex and race.

‘We want to create a global competition, where countries compete to treat people better,’ Ms Brook says. ‘As we repeat our data collection annually, we hope to see countries improve, until people everywhere are thriving and safe.’

Background Information on HRMI and HRMI staff

HRMI Co-founders Susan Randolph, K. Chad Clay, Anne-Marie Brook

The Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI) is a unique collaborative venture between human rights practitioners, researchers, academics, and other supporters. It is hosted by Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, a non-profit research institute based in New Zealand, ranked in the top ten economic think-tanks worldwide, with another base of operations at the Center for the Study of Global Issues (GLOBIS), at the University of Georgia in the US. HRMI is also collaborating closely with a number of other academic organisations, and a range of NGOs working to advance human rights.

HRMI Spokespeople

The HRMI team includes some of the world’s most experienced experts in the field, including developers of some of the most widely used existing measures of civil and political rights, and the prize-winning authors of the best existing measures of economic and social rights.

Anne-Marie Brook 

Anne-Marie is an economist and social entrepreneur with a passion for helping to bring about systemic change. She is good at seeing the big picture and helping others see how their skills can contribute collaboratively to making our world a better place.

Prior to making the jump into human rights, Anne-Marie worked as an economist for the OECD and the New Zealand public sector. She is an Edmund Hillary Fellow and has degrees in Psychology and Economics from the University of Otago and an MPA in Economics from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs, which she attended on a Fulbright Scholarship.

K. Chad Clay

Co-founder and Civil and Political Rights Metrics Lead Chad is a political scientist with a deep interest in furthering our understanding of human rights practices, political violence, organised dissent, and economic development. Chad teaches classes on human rights, international relations, and political economy in the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) at the University of Georgia, where he also serves as the Director of the Center for the Study of Global Issues (GLOBIS), and has published widely in leading journals.

One of the co-founders of HRMI, Chad is leading the design and development of our Civil and Political Rights metrics. He brings with him more than a decade of experience in the area of measuring human rights, including as co-director of the (now archived) CIRI Human Rights Data Project. Chad received his PhD in political science from Binghamton University in 2012.

Susan Randolph

Co-founder and Economic and Social Rights Metrics Lead Susan’s life-long interest in people’s wellbeing and economic development has led her to push the frontiers of our knowledge and help develop a ground-breaking approach for measuring the fulfilment of Economic and Social Rights.

Her recent book describing this approach, Fulfilling Social and Economic Rights with Sakiko Fukuda-Parr and Terra Lawson-Remer (Oxford University Press, 2015), won the 2016 best book of the year award from the American Political Science Association’s Human Rights Section, and the three authors were awarded the 2019 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order.

Susan is Co-Director of the Economic and Social Rights Empowerment Initiative, and an emerita associate professor of economics at the University of Connecticut. She has a PhD in economics from Cornell University.

Press contact and further resources

All three HRMI co-founders are available for interview or comment on the 2021 scores and related matters. You can book an interview at any time by emailing Thalia Kehoe Rowden, thalia.kehoerowden (at) motu.org.nz.

Our full dataset will be available for free download from our Rights Tracker, closer to the public launch date, so you can create your own graphics to fit your publication’s branding, or to draw out the data you are most interested in, such as comparing two particular countries.

All data and graphics on our Rights Tracker are freely available under a Creative Commons licence.

Video interviews with members of our team are freely available on our YouTube channel.

Logos & Images for download: