United Nations

A/51/538


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

22 October 1996

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


                                                        A/51/538
                                                              

General Assembly
Fifty-first session
Agenda item 110 (c)


             HUMAN RIGHTS QUESTIONS:  HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATIONS AND
              REPORTS OF SPECIAL RAPPORTEURS AND REPRESENTATIVES

                   The situation of human rights in Nigeria

                         Note by the Secretary-General


     The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit to the members of
the General Assembly the joint report on the situation of human rights
in Nigeria prepared by Mr. Bacre Waly Ndiaye, Special Rapporteur on
extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and Mr. Param
Cumaraswamy, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and
lawyers, in accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution
1996/79 of 23 April 1996 and Economic and Social Council decision
1996/284 of 24 July 1996.


                                   CONTENTS

                                                              Paragraphs Page

 I.   INTRODUCTION ..........................................   1 - 10     4

      A. Constitutional guarantees .........................      3        4

      B. International obligations .........................    4 - 5      4

      C. Historical background .............................    6 - 8      5

      D. Elections of 1993 .................................    9 - 10     5

II.   MANDATE AND ACTIVITIES OF THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEURS .....  11 - 28     6

      A. Terms of reference ................................   11 - 14     6

      B. Communications with the Government regarding the
         requested mission .................................   15 - 25     7

      C. Consultations with non-governmental organizations .   26 - 28     8

III.  ACTION OF OTHER UNITED NATIONS ORGANS .................  29 - 34     9

      A. Good offices missions of the Secretary-General ....   29 - 32     9

      B. Human Rights Committee ............................   33 - 34    10

IV.   THE SITUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN NIGERIA ..............  35 - 102   10

      A. Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions ....   35 - 42    10

      B. Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading
         treatment .........................................   43 - 48    13

      C. Arbitrary detention ...............................   49 - 59    14

      D. Independence and impartiality of judges and 
         lawyers ...........................................   60 - 90    17

         1.   Appointment and dismissal of judges ...........  65 - 66    18

         2.   Special tribunals .............................  67 - 82    18

              (a) Civil Disturbances Special Tribunal ......   69 - 78    19

              (b) Special Military Tribunal ................   79 - 82    21

         3.   Customary courts and area courts ..............     83      22

         4.   Activities of the Special Rapporteur ..........  84 - 90    23

      E. Transition to democracy ...........................   91 - 96    25

      F. Situation of minorities ...........................   97 - 102   28

 V.   PRELIMINARY CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ...........    103      30


                               I.  INTRODUCTION


1.   The present report is a joint interim report submitted to the General
Assembly by Mr. Bacre Waly Ndiaye, Special Rapporteur of the Commission on
Human Rights on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and
Mr. Param Cumaraswamy, Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on
the independence of judges and lawyers, pursuant to Commission on Human Rights
resolution 1996/79 of 23 April 1996, entitled "Situation of human rights in
Nigeria".

2.   The  report is divided into five chapters.  Chapter I gives brief
background information on Nigeria.  Chapter II contains the terms of reference
of the two Special Rapporteurs and describes their activities in 1996 with
regard to their request to visit Nigeria.  Chapter III contains a description
of the action undertaken by other United Nations organs in 1996 with regard to
the human rights situation in Nigeria.  Chapter IV describes the situation of
human rights in Nigeria with special attention to violations of the right to
life and interference with the independence of judges and lawyers and their
impartiality.  The preliminary conclusions and recommendations of the two
Special Rapporteurs are set forth in chapter V.


                         A.  Constitutional guarantees

3.   Chapter IV of the 1979 Constitution of Nigeria pertains to human rights
and guarantees a wide range of civil liberties.  Under the successive military
Governments, it has become a practice to abolish some provisions of the
Constitution, in particular those related to human rights.


                         B.  International obligations

4.   Nigeria is a party to the following international instruments: 
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant
on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Convention on the Rights of the
Child, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against
Women, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination, Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of
Genocide and the Slavery Convention of 1926.  Nigeria has also signed the
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or
Punishment and is a party to the African Charter of Human and Peoples' Rights.
A resolution adopted in December 1995 at the extraordinary session of the
African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights made reference to a mission
which was to be undertaken in February 1996 in order to intensify the dialogue
between the Commission and the Nigerian authorities concerning the Ogoni
detainees.  At the time the present report was finalized, no such mission had
taken place.

5.   Finally, Nigeria is a member of the Commonwealth.  However, its
membership has been suspended for two years.


                           C.  Historical background

6.   According to a 1995 report of the United Nations Development Programme,
Nigeria has a population of 102 million, composed of some 400 ethnic,
religious or linguistic groupings. The four main groupings are the Hausa and
the Fulani in the north, the Yoruba in the south-east and the Ibo in the
south-west.  In what is now known as the Federal Republic of Nigeria, there
have been many ethnic conflicts and inter-ethnic tensions.

7.   Nigeria has played an important role at the regional level; it was
instrumental in the creation of the Economic Community of West African States
and the setting up and funding of the Economic Community of West African
States Monitoring Group, which was sent to Liberia in September 1990.

8.   Since its independence from the United Kingdom on 1 October 1960,
Nigeria has been subjected to mounting tribal and regional tensions and
suffered several coup attempts.  The first such attempt occurred in
January 1966, when a group of majors sought to overthrow the Government in a
bloody coup.  In July 1966, a revenge coup took place, setting the stage for
secession of the eastern region.  On 30 May 1967, leaders of the Republic of
Biafra declared that it was seceding from the Republic.  This led to a violent
civil war known as the Biafra war, resulting in massive loss of life, as well
as the destruction of the infrastructure and the economy.  Colonel Yakubu
Gowon, the Head of State, initiated a policy of reconstruction, reconciliation
and rehabilitation, promising a return to civil rule by 1976.  On
29 June 1975, however, another coup took place in Nigeria, and General Murtala
Mohammed seized power.  He designed a transition programme to democracy,
which, following his assassination on 13 February 1976, continued to be
implemented by his successor, General Olesugun Obasanjo.  This transition
programme led to the adoption of the 1979 Constitution, under which the first
democratically elected Government was established, headed by Alhaji Shehun
Shagari.  On 30 December 1983, the fifth military Head of State, General
Muhammadu Buhari, came to power, thus bringing an end to civilian rule. 
General Muhammadu Buhari was himself overthrown two years later in a bloodless
coup led by General Ibrahim Babangida, who promised to bring the country back
to civilian rule by 1990 and to tackle the country's economic problems.  This
deadline, however, was subsequently postponed.


                             D.  Elections of 1993

9.   In the elections of 12 June 1993, after democratic elections had been
postponed three times, Chief Moshood Abiola was widely considered to be the
winner.  Before the results were published, however, the elections were
cancelled by General Babangida.  This led to major unrest in the country. 
Pressure from within the armed forces and from the international community
forced General Babangida to step down, and an interim national government was
appointed under Chief Ernest Shonekan.  That government was declared illegal
by the High Court of Lagos on 10 November 1993.  A few days later,
General Sani Abacha seized power when Chief Shonekan "resigned".  In 1994
General Abacha tightened his control of the country in an attempt to quell the
mounting unrest and criticism of the army.  In addition, he faced increasing
opposition from the pro-democracy movement.  

10.  One year after the annulled elections, Chief Moshood Abiola declared
himself to be the new President; General Abacha immediately ordered his
imprisonment.  In March 1995, approximately 30 army officers and civilians
were imprisoned after the discovery of an alleged coup d'e'tat.  Among those
arrested were former President Olesugun Obasanjo and his second-in-command in
the 1970's, Shehu Musa Yar'Adua.  Severe punishments were imposed and most
remain imprisoned.  In the same year, trials started before the Civil
Disturbances Special Tribunal against nine Ogoni leaders for their alleged
involvement in the killing of four moderate Ogoni leaders in 1994.  The nine
were sentenced to death and executed in November 1995; 19 other Ogoni members
are still awaiting trial for the same murders.  Mrs. Kudirat Abiola, wife of
Moshood Abiola and principal campaigner on her husband's behalf, was killed by
unknown attackers on 4 June 1996.  Information received indicates that she had
been harassed on several occasions by members of the security forces or other
authorities with regard to her activities.  The Government has announced an
investigation into her assassination and has reportedly detained in an
arbitrary manner a number of persons, among whom are members of the Abiola
family.


            II.  MANDATE AND ACTIVITIES OF THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEURS

                            A.  Terms of reference

11.  Resolution 1996/79 of the Commission on Human Rights, entitled
"Situation of human rights in Nigeria", was adopted without a vote on
23 April 1996.  In the resolution, the Commission:

         "3.   ... calls upon the Government of Nigeria to accede to the
     request of the Special Rapporteurs on extrajudicial, summary or
     arbitrary executions and on the independence of judges and lawyers to
     pay a joint investigative visit to Nigeria;

     "...

         "7.   Requests the two thematic Special Rapporteurs who have
     requested a joint investigative visit to the country to submit to the
     Commission at its fifty-third session a joint report on their
     findings, ... and requests them to submit an interim report to the
     General Assembly; ...".

12.  Resolution 1996/74 of the Commission on Human Rights, also adopted on
23 April 1996, requests the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or
arbitrary executions "to continue to examine situations of extrajudicial,
summary or arbitrary executions".  Resolution 1994/41 requests the Special
Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, inter alia, to inquire
into any substantial allegations regarding attacks against the independence of
judges and lawyers transmitted to him and to report his conclusions thereon.

13.  On the basis of their respective mandates, the two Special Rapporteurs
have made several efforts to obtain an invitation from the Government of
Nigeria enabling them to undertake a joint fact-finding mission to the
country.  Since October 1995, several individual and joint communications have
been sent to the Government of Nigeria, through the Permanent Mission to the
United Nations Office at Geneva, and the Special Rapporteurs also met on two
occasions with the Permanent Representative in Geneva in order to discuss the
issue of a visit.

14.  In the meantime, under their respective mandates, the two Special
Rapporteurs have continued to transmit to the Government urgent appeals and
allegations in accordance with the usual working methods of their mandates, on
the basis of reports from different sources.


                 B.  Communications with the Government regarding
                     the requested mission

15.  Following the execution of the nine Ogoni leaders on 2 November 1995,
the two Special Rapporteurs sent communications to the Government of Nigeria
on 21 and 22 November 1995 and 17 January 1996, expressing their wish to visit
Nigeria.

16.  On 18 January 1996, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges
and lawyers met with the Permanent Representative in Geneva to discuss the
request to undertake a joint fact-finding mission to Nigeria.  The Permanent
Representative said that the Government would provide a reply to the request
in due course. 

17.  The two Special Rapporteurs sent a joint letter to the Government of
Nigeria on 30 April 1996, inquiring whether a mission to Nigeria could be
undertaken from 7 to 20 July 1996.

18.  On 7 May 1996, the Government of Nigeria acknowledged receipt of the
letter of 30 April 1996, and stated that a decision of the capital would be
communicated to the Special Rapporteurs as soon as possible.

19.  On 1 June 1996, the two Special Rapporteurs, at their request, met again
with the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Nigeria to further
discuss with him their request to be invited to Nigeria to carry out an
in situ fact-finding mission pursuant to resolution 1996/79 of the Commission
on Human Rights.  During this meeting, the Permanent Representative explained
that in view of the ongoing consultations between the Secretary-General and
the President of Nigeria it would not be appropriate to receive the joint
mission in July, as had been suggested previously.  The Permanent
Representative suggested that later in 1996 might be a more suitable time to
carry out a mission.  The two Special Rapporteurs requested the Permanent
Representative to provide a written statement on the reasons for such a
postponement.  No such written statement was received.

20.  On 18 June 1996, following their meeting with the Permanent
Representative in Geneva, the Special Rapporteurs sent a letter proposing new
dates for the mission, as had been requested by the Permanent Representative. 
They suggested that the mission should take place from 9 to 17 October 1996. 
On 21 June 1996, the Government acknowledged receipt of the letter of 18 June
and informed the Special Rapporteurs that the matter was being actively
studied in the capital.

21.  The Special Rapporteurs sent another joint letter on 30 July 1996,
reminding the Government of the proposed dates for the visit.  On
2 September 1996, the Government of Nigeria acknowledged receipt of the letter
of 30 July 1996, reassuring the Special Rapporteurs that the Government had
been informed of the request and that a decision would be conveyed to them as
soon as possible.

22.  On 6 September 1996, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of
judges and lawyers sent a letter to the Government of Nigeria, also on behalf
of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions,
referring to previous communications regarding the requests to be invited to
carry out a mission.  In this letter, the two Special Rapporteurs reminded the
Government that the Commission on Human Rights had requested them to submit an
interim report to the General Assembly.  They informed the Government that if
they did not receive a reply by 23 September to their request to have the
mission take place from 9 to 17 October, they would be compelled to prepare
the interim report solely on the basis of information that had been received
from non-governmental sources, as well as other thematic mechanisms, and would
have no alternative but to report to the General Assembly that the Government
of Nigeria, despite all its promises, had failed to cooperate with the
Commission on Human Rights. 

23.  The Government replied on 4 October 1996, stating that it would be
willing to receive the two Special Rapporteurs in the last week of
November 1996 or the second week of December 1996.  In this letter the
Permanent Representative reiterated the commitment of the Government to accede
to the Special Rapporteurs' request to undertake the joint mission.  He also
pointed out that, since March 1996, Nigeria had been seized with the
management of a number of successive missions of the United Nations and the
African Commission on Human Rights, as well as the Commonwealth Ministerial
Action Group.  It had therefore become difficult to accede to the Special
Rapporteurs' request to undertake the mission in the specified time-frame, in
spite of the best efforts of the Government of Nigeria. 

24.  On 7 October 1996, the Special Rapporteurs accepted the invitation to
undertake the mission during the last week of November and recommended that it
should take place from 25 November to 5 December 1996.  They also included in
the letter the terms of reference for fact-finding missions by Special
Rapporteurs/representatives of the Commission on Human Rights.

25.  The Permanent Representative acknowledged receipt of the letter on
7 October 1996 and stated that he would inform the Government upon receipt of
the precise details of the mission.


             C.  Consultations with non-governmental organizations

26.  On 29 July 1996, Mr. Param Cumaraswamy, Special Rapporteur on the
independence of judges and lawyers, consulted with non-governmental
organizations in London with regard to the situation of the independence of
judges and lawyers in Nigeria, in particular, and the situation of human
rights in Nigeria, in general.  Mr. Bacre Waly Ndiaye met with a similar group
of non-governmental representatives in London on 30 August 1996.

27.  During the meeting between representatives of non-governmental
organizations and the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and
lawyers, concern was expressed over the appointment, promotion and suspension
or dismissal of judges in Nigeria.  It was brought to the Special Rapporteur's
attention that the National Bar Association no longer exists.  Further,
although some bar organizations are operating at state level, their activities
seem to be seriously marginalized.  The members of the delegation also
expressed their concern about the lack of due process received by criminal
defendants before Nigerian courts.  Although they supported the recommendation
of the fact-finding mission of the Secretary-General to abolish the ad hoc
tribunals, they feared that the ordinary courts would also not be able to
guarantee fair trials, because judges were reportedly uneasy about hearing
sensitive cases for fear of reprisals.

28.  On 30 August 1996, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or
arbitrary executions met in London with representatives of several
non-governmental organizations to discuss the situation of human rights in
Nigeria, and in particular violations of the right to life, and to obtain
information relevant to the proposed mission.  During the meetings with
representatives of non-governmental organizations, he received information
concerning ill-treatment, torture, arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial executions
and impunity.  He was also informed about the numerous problems encountered by
persons who had wanted to contact the members of the fact-finding mission of
the Secretary-General during or after their visit to Nigeria.  Many were said
to have been harassed, beaten or detained.


                 III.  ACTION OF OTHER UNITED NATIONS ORGANS 

              A.  Good offices missions of the Secretary-General

29.  Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 50/199 of 22 December 1995, the
Secretary-General sent a good offices fact-finding mission to Nigeria,
composed of Mr. Atsu-Koffi Amega, Mr. V. S. Malimath and Mr. John P. Pace. 
The report of that mission, as well as the comments on the report by the
Special Adviser to the Head of State of Nigeria, are contained in document
A/50/960 and Corr.1.  In the report, a number of recommendations were made
arising from the trial of Ken Saro-Wiwa and others, the situation of the Ogoni
people and the transition to democracy. 

30.  In a letter dated 21 May 1996 (A/50/960, annex II), the Special Adviser
to the Head of State of Nigeria addressed an interim response to the
Secretary-General, indicating the implementation of a limited number of the
recommendations made by the fact-finding mission.

31.  The Special Adviser stated in his letter that the Government had
announced the amendment of the Civil Disturbances Act, by which members of the
armed forces are excluded from serving on the tribunal.  Further, the verdict
and sentence of a special tribunal would be subject to judicial review at the
appellate level before confirmation by the confirming authority.  With regard
to the situation of the Ogoni, the Government had indicated that the Oil and
Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission would be directed to look into
whether there were peculiar ecological and environmental problems in the Ogoni
area, with a view to ameliorating them.  In addition, the Government would
join the concerted efforts undertaken by the Administrator of Rivers State in
order to reconcile all parties in the Ogoni area.  With regard to persons
being detained without trial under Decree No. 2 of 1984, the Head of State
would direct the immediate review of all cases, and the decree would be
amended to allow for the periodic review of each case by a body comprising the
Chief of General Staff, the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney-
General of the Federation at an interval of three months.  Finally, Decree
No. 14 of 1994, which ousted the jurisdiction of courts to issue a writ of
habeas corpus to persons detained under Decree No. 2 of 1984, would be
repealed.  The Special Adviser stated that other aspects of the report were
under consideration by the Government and any decisions would be communicated
to the Secretary-General.

32.  On 6 August 1996, the spokesman for the Secretary-General announced that
Mr. Lansana Kouyate', Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, would
go to Nigeria to follow up on the fact-finding mission of the Secretary-
General and a mission that had been undertaken by the Secretary-General's
Special Envoy, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi.  No report on that follow-up mission was
issued.


                          B.  Human Rights Committee

33.  At its fifty-sixth session, held in New York from 18 March to
4 April 1996, the Human Rights Committee examined the first periodic report of
the Government of Nigeria under article 40 of the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights 1/ and adopted preliminary conclusions containing
some urgent recommendations.  The Committee made an additional set of
recommendations upon continued examination of the report at its fifty-seventh
session, held at Geneva from 8 to 26 July 1996, and adopted its concluding
observations. 

34.  The relevant recommendations of the Human Rights Committee are contained
in chapter IV of the present report.


                 IV.  THE SITUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN NIGERIA

              A.  Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions

35.  The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions
reported to the fifty-second session of the Commission on Human Rights that
throughout 1995 he had continued to receive reports about violations of the
right to life (E/CN.4/1996/4).  He reported about numerous allegations, the
majority of which concerned death sentences imposed after trials by military
courts, allegedly falling short of international standards.  The Special
Rapporteur informed the Commission that he had received allegations concerning
secret trials, allegedly held before the Special Military Court in Lagos, of a
group of more than 30 military officials and civilians accused of being
involved in an attempted coup d'e'tat which was discovered in March 1995.  The
Special Rapporteur also reported about many disturbing allegations he had
received concerning the trials held in 1995 before the Civil Disturbances
Special Tribunal of nine Ogoni leaders who had been sentenced to death, and
whose sentences were carried out shortly after the confirmation of the
sentences by the Provisional Ruling Council (see also paras. 67-76).

36.  The Special Rapporteur informed the Commission that he had sent four
urgent appeals to the Government of Nigeria in 1995, as well as two joint
appeals with the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers,
the latter two concerning the trials of the nine Ogoni leaders.  In addition,
in 1995 he reported 14 cases containing allegations of extrajudicial, summary
or arbitrary executions of over 200 persons.  The majority of the allegations
related to killings by security forces, and a considerable number of cases
concerned abuse of power in response to peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations.
The Special Rapporteur expressed deep concern about the trials of civilians by
special or military courts, which are reportedly subject to Government
interference.  He stated that he was deeply disturbed by persistent
allegations about the unfairness of trials such as that of Ken Saro-Wiwa and
the eight other Ogoni leaders, which led to their execution, and he deplored
the complete lack of the right of appeal of persons receiving the death
sentence after such trials.  He called upon the Nigerian Government to ensure
that proceedings before the special and military tribunals conformed to
standards for fair trial procedures as contained in pertinent international
instruments.  

37.  During 1996, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or
arbitrary executions continued to receive numerous allegations concerning
violations of the right to life in Nigeria. 

38.  On 6 May 1996, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal to the
Government of Nigeria drawing the attention of the Government to information
indicating that Innocent Chukwuma, coordinator of international lobby projects
of the Civil Liberties Organization, a human rights organization based in
Lagos, had reportedly been subjected to harassment and intimidation by members
of the Nigerian delegation during the fifty-second session of the Commission
on Human Rights which took place at Geneva from 18 March to 26 April 1996. 
The Special Rapporteur requested the Government to investigate the allegations
and to inform him about steps taken to ensure effective protection of the
right to life and physical integrity of Innocent Chukwuma.  At the time the
present report was finalized, no reply from the Government had been received
to that urgent appeal.

39.  On 4 June 1996, the Special Rapporteur sent to the Government of Nigeria
a number of allegations of violations of the right to life.  He stated that he
had received reports indicating that on 4 January 1996, Nigerian soldiers had
intervened in non-violent demonstrations held by members of the Ogoni minority
commemorating the International Day of the World's Indigenous People. 
According to the reports received, three minors were allegedly killed, a large
number of people were reportedly injured and many others were allegedly
arrested, including the parents of Ken Saro-Wiwa.  The reports also alleged
that those detained were held in secret detention centres where they might be
subjected to torture or ill-treatment.  The Special Rapporteur also drew the
Government's attention to allegations he had received concerning a large
number of Ogoni who had been detained after the fact-finding mission of the
Secretary-General.  Their arrest and detention was said to be related to their
cooperation with the mission.  Further, the Special Rapporteur informed the
Government that he had received reports about the abuse of force by law
enforcement officials on several occasions.  Moreover, reports indicated that
the death penalty continued to be carried out after trials falling short of
international fair trial standards.  In addition, the Special Rapporteur
stated that he had received reports of massive public executions. 

40.  The following allegations concerning individual cases were sent to the
Government by the Special Rapporteur on 4 June 1996:  (1) Prince
N. A. Ayamolowo, who had reportedly been shot by the police force at a
checkpoint on 29 April 1994; (2) three minors who had allegedly died during
the demonstrations of 4 January 1996 referred to above:  Gbarabe N. Lucky, 12
years of age, who reportedly died as a result of head injuries caused by
indiscriminate shooting by the army; Kpannem Nicodimus, 13 years of age, who
reportedly had been shot by members of the armed forces and died of his wounds
on 6 January 1996; and Barisi Deemus, 14 years of age, who reportedly was shot
by members of the armed forces; (3) seven persons reportedly killed by the
police on 15 February 1994:  Ebimoye Kebo, Douyi Kebo, Goddy Kebo,
Mathias Omotayo, Flint Ororgun, Ezekiel Fakura and Akpos Daniah Ekiyo;
(4) Lawald Moshood and Saleh Mohammed and 41 unidentified persons, who
reportedly had been convicted by armed robbery and firearms tribunals and
executed on 22 July 1995 in Lagos, after trials falling short of international
guarantees for a fair trial; it was alleged that they had not had the right to
appeal their sentences to a higher court; (5) Taiwo Akinola, member of the
State Security Service, who reportedly had been shot by a corporal of the
barracks police station in Ojuelegba on 2 February 1994; (6) Isyaku Ibrahim,
who reportedly had been shot and killed by a policeman on 30 June 1994;
(7) Mufutau Lasisi, who had reportedly been killed by a police officer on
2 December 1994; and (8) Felicia Attah, who reportedly died on 3 December 1994
as a result of gunshot wounds sustained in an encounter with a policeman.  At
the time the present report was finalized, no reply had been received from the
Government of Nigeria.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Human Rights Committee

41.  The Human rights Committee recommended, inter alia, that:

     (a) the State party consider the abolition of the death penalty; that
until its abolition, the State party must ensure that the application of the
death penalty be strictly limited to the most serious crimes, as required by
article 6 (2), of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,
and that the number of crimes for which the death penalty is imposed be
reduced to the minimum;

     (b) the Nigerian authorities take effective measures to prevent
arbitrary, extrajudicial and summary executions, as well as torture, ill-
treatment, and arbitrary arrest and detention by members of the security
forces, and to investigate any such cases in order to bring before the courts
those suspected of having committed or participated in such crimes, to punish
them if found guilty and to provide compensation to victims or to their
families.

Conclusions and recommendations of the fact-finding mission of the Secretary-
General

42.  The fact-finding mission of the Secretary-General recommended,
inter alia, that in the case of the trials of Ken Saro-Wiwa and others, the
Government of Nigeria should consider establishing a panel of eminent jurists,
nominated by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, to establish the modalities to
determine who and to what extent financial relief could be accorded to the
dependants of the families of those executed.


          B.  Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment

43.  In 1996 many reports were received regarding the continued use of
torture and ill-treatment in Nigeria.  The Special Rapporteur on the question
of torture intervened on several occasions.

44.  On 6 May 1996, the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture,
Mr. Nigel Rodley, transmitted a number of cases to the Government of Nigeria
regarding the use of torture and other forms of ill-treatment.  Referring to
State Security Decree No. 2 of 1984, the Special Rapporteur pointed to the
fact that detainees may be held indefinitely, incommunicado and without
opportunity to challenge the legality of their detention.  In practice, this
reportedly leads to situations in which detainees are held incommunicado in
overcrowded and unsanitary cells, with inadequate food and washing facilities
and without exercise or exposure to fresh air.  The Special Rapporteur
transmitted to the Government allegations related to the case of George Mbah,
a journalist, reportedly suffering from neurological problems, who had lost
consciousness as the result of ill-treatment to which he was allegedly
subjected following his arrest in May 1995.  The Special Rapporteur also drew
the attention of the Government to allegations he had received with regard to
the treatment of several members of the Ogoni community who had been detained
since 1994:  Baribor Bera, who was reportedly stripped naked, tied to a
pillar, flogged with a horsewhip and forced to swallow his teeth that had been
knocked out as a result of the beatings; Clement Tusima, who had reportedly
died in prison in August 1995 as a result of medical neglect while in
detention; Benjamin Bere, who, with a number of other detainees, had
reportedly been detained at a military camp in Bori where they were allegedly
beaten each day with a cane and given food only every three days.  Mr. Bere
had reportedly been released and had been hospitalized for his injuries.

45.  The Special Rapporteur also transmitted to the Government allegations
concerning the case of Adoba Bamiyi, who had allegedly been subjected to
torture at the Ajeromi police station in Apapa in Lagos State to extract a
confession from him, which reportedly resulted in a written declaration in
which he made a confession.  After this, he was reportedly again subjected to
torture upon transfer to the anti-robbery squad headquarters at Ikeja.

46.  On 17 June 1996, the Special Rapporteur transmitted to the Government of
Nigeria an urgent appeal for Nnimmo Bassey, chairman of two non-governmental
organizations, Environmental Rights Action and Southern Zone of the Civil
Liberties Organization.  According to information received, he had been
arrested on 5 June 1996 as he was leaving Nigeria to attend an environmental
conference in Ghana.  The source reported that he had been held at the Lagos
headquarters of the State Security Service and then transferred to the Federal
Investigations and Intelligence Bureau headquarters in Lagos.  Fears had been
expressed that he might be subjected to torture or other ill-treatment while
in detention.

47.  At the time the present report was finalized, no reply had been received
from the Government to any of the urgent appeals of the Special Rapporteur on
the question of torture.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Human Rights Committee

48.  The Human Rights Committee recommended, inter alia, that the Nigerian
authorities take effective measures to prevent torture, ill-treatment and
arbitrary arrest and detention by members of the security forces and to
investigate any such cases in order to bring before the courts those suspected
of having committed or participated in such crimes, to punish them if found
guilty and to provide compensation to victims or their families.


                            C.  Arbitrary detention

49.  The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention intervened in many cases of
reported arbitrary detention throughout 1996 and took several decisions about
the arbitrary character of specific cases.

50.  On 7 February 1996, a joint urgent appeal was sent by the Chairman of
the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Special Rapporteur on the
independence of judges and lawyers, on behalf of Gani Fawehinmi, a human
rights lawyer, who had reportedly been arrested at his house in Lagos on
30 January 1996 by officers of the State Security Service.  It was alleged
that no charges had been brought against him and that he was being held
incommunicado at the headquarters of the State Security Service in Shangisha,
near Lagos.  His detention was said to be related to his criticism of the
Government and his activities as a human rights lawyer, including legal
challenges to the constitutionality of the Civil Disturbances Special
Tribunal, which was due to try 19 Ogoni prisoners on charges of murder in
connection with the May 1994 killings of four Ogoni leaders, and to the
constitutionality of the continuing detention or trial of Nosa Igiebor,
Editor-in-Chief of Tell Magazine.  Gani Fawehinmi had reportedly also
challenged the constitutionality of the trials and subsequent executions of
Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight Ogoni prisoners in November 1995.

51.  On 20 February 1996, the chairman of the Working Group on Arbitrary
Detention and the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers
transmitted a joint urgent appeal to the Government concerning the arrest and
incommunicado detention, since 14 February 1996, of Femi Falana, human rights
activist and president of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers.  It
was alleged that his detention might be due to his involvement in legal
challenges against the Government of Nigeria.

52.  On 18 April 1996, the Chairman of the Working Group on Arbitrary
Detention and the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture transmitted a
joint urgent appeal to the Government of Nigeria concerning 18 supporters of
the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People who had reportedly been
detained in Ogoniland and Port Harcourt since late March 1996, allegedly for
the purpose of preventing them from meeting with the United Nations mission
that visited the region on 9 and 10 April 1996.  They were identified as
follows:  Tulee Gokana, Tonny Goddy, Kpoobari Deeker, Yaayaa Sigalo,
Bariaalo Kpoora, Barida Biee, Sunday Torbel, Joseph Deekor, Hawkin Poronen,
Adolphus Gbarabe, Barinem Zighakol, Josephine Zighakol, Temhbari Mene Gbigha,
John Baaba, Chief Sunday Legbara, Mrs. Mercy Legbara and Bariture Legbara. 
Some of the persons mentioned were said to be detained at a military camp in
Afram.  In the same urgent appeal, the Government's attention was drawn to the
situation of Anyakwee Nsirimovu, the Executive Director of the Institute of
Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, who had reportedly been arrested by the
security forces on 27 March 1996, following a raid on the Institute's
headquarters in Port Harcourt.  The security forces were said to be looking
for documents, including a report on the trial of Ken Saro-Wiwa, executed
president of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People.  Anyakwee was
reportedly held without charge at an unknown location.  The Chairman of the
Working Group and the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture requested
from the Government any information it could provide about the situation of
the above-mentioned persons, including their trial or release and the legal
basis for their detention, and asked if it could assure the humane treatment
of all the detained persons.

53.  On 23 May 1996, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention adopted a
decision concerning the arbitrary character of the detention of
General Olesugun Obasanjo, former Head of State of Nigeria, and 19 other
persons.  The following persons were reportedly given life sentences by a
military tribunal after proceedings which fell short of international
guarantees for a fair trial and did not allow the right to appeal:  Captain
U. S. Suleiman; Captain A. A. Ogunsunyi; Captain M. A. Ibrahim; Lieutenant-
Colonel Peter Ojaola; Second Lieutenant Richard Emonvhe; State Security
Officer Julius Abajo; Kunle Ajibade, journalist of The News magazine;
C. P. Izuorgu; Alhaji Sanusi Mato; and Felix Ndamaigida.  The following
persons had reportedly been tried by the same tribunal and sentenced to prison
terms ranging from two to 25 years:  Colonel D. Usman; Staff Sergeant
Patrick Usikpeko; Shehu Sani, vice-chairman of Campaign for Democracy;
Christine Anyanwu, editor-in-chief of The Sunday magazine; Ben Charles Obi,
editor of the magazine Classique; and Queenett Allogoa, female companion of
Colonel Gwadabe.  The following three persons had also been convicted, but
their sentences were not known to the source: Lieutenant-Colonel I. Shaibu,
Colonel Emanuel Ndubueze and Akinloye Akinyemi.  Another 40 unidentified
defendants were also said to be detained who had been convicted reportedly on
charges ranging from treason to the publishing of articles deemed critical of
the Government.

54.  The Working Group's communication of 23 May 1996 also referred to the
cases of Beko Kuti, chairman of the Campaign for Democracy; Tunji Abayomi,
chairman of Human Rights Africa, and Chima Ubani, head of the Civil Liberties
Organization's human rights programme, who had reportedly been arrested
without warrants and were being held incommunicado.  The Working Group decided
that in view of the fact that none of the allegations had been refuted by the
Government, the detention of all persons mentioned above was declared to be
arbitrary.  The Government of Nigeria was requested to remedy the situation.

55.  On 11 June 1996, the Chairman of the Working Group on Arbitrary
Detention transmitted to the Government of Nigeria the Working Group's
decision on a number of cases of alleged arbitrary detention.  The Working
Group informed the Government that on 22 May 1996 it had decided that the
detentions of Karanwi Meschack, Mitee Batom and Loolo Lekue were to be
declared arbitrary, being in contravention of articles 8, 9, 10, 11 and 19 of
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 2/ and articles 9, 14 and 19 of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 1/  The persons
mentioned had reportedly been arrested on 4 August 1994 in Port Harcourt,
Rivers State, following their appearance before the Commonwealth Human Rights
Committee.  The forces reportedly holding them at a special military camp near
Port Harcourt were said to belong to the State Intelligence and Investigations
Bureau.  According to the source, they had never officially been charged, and
their right to apply for habeas corpus had been abrogated by Decree No. 14 of
1994.  The Working Group requested the Government of Nigeria to take the
necessary steps to remedy the situation in order to bring it into conformity
with the provisions and principles incorporated in the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 

56.  On 13 August 1996, the Chairman of the Working Group on Arbitrary
Detention sent an urgent appeal to the Government of Nigeria concerning the
alleged arbitrary detention of the following 20 persons:  Sampson Ntignee,
Nyieda Nasikpo, Benjamin Kabare, Friday Gburuma, Chief Popgbara Zorzor,
Samuel Asiga, John Banaty, Barritule Lebe, Adam Kaa, Kagbara Bassee,
Blessing Israel, Babina Deekor, Godwin Gboelor, Alainbare Abere Papah,
Babina Vizor, Taaghalobari K. Monsi, Nabaa Baoui, Babiina Kumanwee,
Michael Dogala and Sunday Nyorben.  According to the information received, the
20 persons mentioned were among 150 who had been arrested in June 1994 in
relation to the killing of four Ogoni leaders.  They had reportedly been
incarcerated since 1994 and had been brought before a magistrate for the first
time on 17 July 1996; the hearings on their holding charges were reported to
have been postponed until 3 September and 3 October 1996.  In his appeal, the
Chairman of the Working Group called upon the Nigerian Government in a
humanitarian spirit to allow the detainees access to medical care and to do
its utmost to guarantee their right to physical and mental integrity.

57.  At the time the present report was finalized, no substantive reply had
been received from the Government to the decisions or urgent appeals of the
Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Human Rights Committee

58.  The Human Rights Committee recommended, inter alia, that:

     (a) the Nigerian authorities take effective measures to prevent
arbitrary arrest and detention by members of the security forces and to
investigate any such cases in order to bring before the courts those suspected
of having committed or participated in such crimes, to punish them if found
guilty and to provide compensation to victims or to their families; 

     (b) steps be taken to release all persons who have been detained
arbitrarily or without charge and to reduce the period of pre-trial detention;
the practice of incommunicado detention should cease; and compensation should
be provided in the cases indicated by article 9 (5) of the Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights;

     (c) all necessary measures be taken to ensure that the conditions of
detention of persons deprived of their liberty fully meet article 10 of the
Covenant and the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. 3/ 
The overcrowding of prisons should be reduced by overcoming delays in the
trial process, by considering alternative forms of punishment or by expanding
the number of prison places.

Conclusions and recommendations of the fact-finding mission of the Secretary-
General

59.  The conclusions and recommendations of the fact-finding mission of the
Secretary-General are given in paragraph 90 below.


            D.  Independence and impartiality of judges and lawyers

60.  According to numerous reports from different sources, the Government
continues to interfere with the independence of the judiciary.  The judicial
system in Nigeria is a dual system, with both ordinary courts at the state and
Federal level and special tribunals created by the military.  The military
tribunals, established in Nigeria since 1984, are, at the state level, the
armed robbery and firearms tribunals, whose decisions are submitted to the
military administrator for confirmation; at the Federal level there is no
appeal to a higher court from a military tribunal but only to a special appeal
tribunal, where decision is subject to confirmation by the Provisional Ruling
Council.

61.  Pursuant to Decree No. 12 of 1994, the supervisory jurisdiction of the
ordinary courts over actions of the government done or taken under a decree or
edict has been virtually ousted.  Section 2 (b) (1) of Decree No. 12 reads as
follows:  "No civil proceedings shall lie or be instituted in any court for or
on account of or in respect of any act, matter or thing done or purported to
be done under or pursuant to any decree or edict, and if such proceedings are
instituted before or after the commencement of this decree the proceedings
shall abate, be discharged and made void."  It has been learned that most
ordinary courts cite this ouster clause as an excuse to decline jurisdiction
in cases involving violations of human rights by military authorities.  Decree
No. 12 of 1994 appears to amount to a usurpation of the judicial power of
ordinary courts.

62.  A number of new military tribunals were established in 1995, with
authority to oust the supervisory jurisdiction and judicial review of the high
courts with no appeal from decisions of the tribunals.  Up to the present time
there have been no fewer than 14 decrees creating military tribunals, and 41
decrees have been issued ousting the jurisdiction of the ordinary courts. 
Most of the trials before these courts are reportedly held in secret, and the
rules of due process, as well as the right to presumption of innocence, are
routinely ignored.  Examples of such trials are those that took place in 1995
against alleged coup plotters.

63.  It has been reported that the working conditions of judges are very poor
and that the court system in Nigeria is seriously short of funds.  According
to the sources, the number of courtrooms is insufficient and are generally in
bad condition - overcrowded, badly equipped and poorly ventilated.  The
salaries of judges, magistrates and other court officers, including
prosecutors and the police, who often act as prosecutors, are reported to be
extremely low.  Judges are sometimes forced to bring their own paper and pens
to record their judgements in long hand.  The cost of legal defence is also
reported to be very high, and proceedings of both criminal and civil cases
tend to last a very long time.  As a result of the financial crisis in the
judiciary, bribery is reported to be a common trend among the judiciary.

64.  Moreover, the Government is reportedly disregarding court orders on a
regular basis.  As an example, in June 1996 a court of appeal ordered that the
wife and doctor of Gani Fawehinmi, a human rights lawyer and pro-democracy
activist who reportedly has been detained since January 1996, should be
allowed to see him in the Bauchi prison where he is being held.  The source
reports that when his wife and doctor went to the prison following the court's
order they were denied access.


                    1.  Appointment and dismissal of judges

65.  According to information received, the executive arm of the Government
in Nigeria has been primarily responsible for the appointment of judges; the
Constitution of 1979 provided for the appointment of Federal judges by the
President on the advice of a federal judicial service commission, which is
reportedly composed of members appointed by the President.

66.  After the military coup in 1983, the Constitution (Suspension and
Modification) Decree No. 1 of 1984 empowered the Provisional Ruling Council to
appoint judges to both the state and the Federal courts, on the advice of an
advisory judicial committee.  The Provisional Ruling Council, however, is not
under any obligation to follow the advice of the advisory judicial committee. 
Judicial appointments are thus subject to unrestrained executive power.  At
the state level, state governors are reported to have a certain degree of
influence through state judicial committees, which are responsible for the
appointments of judicial officers in magistrates' courts and customary courts
(in southern Nigeria) and district and area courts (in northern Nigeria).


                             2.  Special tribunals

67.  The establishment of special tribunals is reported to have seriously
undermined the functioning of the regular court system in Nigeria.  Tribunals
have been created to try politically sensitive cases and purportedly to bypass
the delays of the court system that occur in the trial of high-profile crimes.

Examples of special tribunals include the robbery and firearms (special
provisions) tribunals, the civil disturbances special tribunals and the
treason and other offences special military tribunals.  In comparison to the
normal courts, these special tribunals have far better resources and their
staff is better paid, resulting in further diminution of the pool of competent
judges and legal staff available to the ordinary courts.

68.  The salient features of all these tribunals are the same.  They are all
established on an ad hoc basis; the members of the tribunals are appointed by
the Federal Military Government; the jurisdiction of the ordinary courts is
ousted; there is no right of appeal to a higher tribunal; and the tribunals do
not respect international standards on the right to a fair trial.  These
features of the special tribunals are highlighted in the cases of the Ogoni
Nine and the coup plotters.

(a)  Civil Disturbances Special Tribunal

69.  The Government may establish a civil disturbances special tribunal
pursuant to Decree No. 2 of 1987.  Under part I, section 1, the Decree
envisages the constitution of a civil disturbances investigation committee
whenever the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, forms the
opinion that any one of the following four conditions exist:

     (a) Civil disturbances, commotions or unrest have occurred in any part
of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;

     (b) There has been a breach of the peace that would have the effect of
destabilizing the peace and tranquillity of the nation;

     (c) The public order and public safety of Nigeria is being threatened by
any disturbance;

     (d) A riot or civil disturbances of a riotous nature have occurred or
are likely to occur, resulting or likely to result, as the case may be, in
loss of life and property and injury to persons.

70.  The Decree requires the investigation committee to conduct an important
investigation into the civil disturbances and to make recommendations for the
trial of any person or persons involved in them.  The committee thus
constituted shall consist of such persons as the President may appoint and
may, subject to any general or specific directions that may be given by the
President, regulate its own proceedings as it sees fit.

71.  Part II, section 3, of the Decree provides that the special tribunal
shall try the offences specified in the first schedule of the Decree; the
jurisdiction of the regular criminal courts is ousted.  With regard to this
section of the Decree, the report of the fact-finding mission of the
Secretary-General concluded that conditions for the constitution of a special
tribunal must be found to exist before its constitution.  Specifically, the
report states that "the expression 'may constitute a special investigation
committee' used in section 1 of the Act has ... to be construed as being
mandatory in character and the word 'may', in the context, means 'shall'".

72.  Part III, section 7, of the Act provides for the "confirmation" of the
sentence, as follows:

         "7. (1) Where a tribunal finds the accused guilty of any offence
     referred to in this Act, the record of the proceedings of the tribunal
     shall be transmitted to the confirming authority for the confirmation of
     the sentence imposed by the tribunal; ...

         "(4) For the purposes of this Act, the confirming authority shall be
     the Armed Forces Ruling Council."

73.  Part III, section 8, of the Act ousts the jurisdiction of the court of
law to inquire into the validity of any decision, sentence, judgement,
confirmation, direction or notice given or made under the Act.  These
provisions effectively deny the right of appeal to a defendant appearing
before a civil disturbances special tribunal, in violation of international
standards set forth in the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights and in Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary.

74.  The legal flaws of the Civil Disturbances Special Tribunal are
highlighted by the case of the Ogoni Nine.  Following the murder of four Ogoni
leaders that occurred in the riots of 21 May 1994 during an election campaign
in Gauche, Gokana, 15 people were charged eight months later with the crime of
murder.  An ad hoc tribunal was appointed by the Federal Military Government
to try the offenders arising out of that riot.  The establishment of such a
tribunal is inconsistent with principle 5 of Basic Principles on the
Independence of the Judiciary, which provides, inter alia, that:  "Everyone
shall have the right to be tried by ordinary courts or tribunals using
established legal procedures." 3/ Further, this tribunal was composed of two
judges (Justice Ibrahim Nadhi Auta, judge of the Federal High Court, in Lagos,
and Justice Etowa Enyong Arikpo, judge in the Cross River State High Court)
and Lieutenant-Colonel Hammid Ibrahim Ali, an army officer, who allegedly had
been handpicked by the executive.

75.  A constitutional challenge to the jurisdiction of the tribunal, filed
before the ordinary courts, has still not been heard.

76.  The fact that the judges were appointed by the Executive calls seriously
into question the independence and impartiality of the tribunal and is
inconsistent with principle 14 of Basic Principles on the Independence of the
Judiciary, which provides that:  "The assignment of cases to judges within the
court to which they belong is an internal matter of judicial
administration." 3/ The report of the mission of the Secretary-General reached
a similar conclusion, finding that the presence of a military officer on the
tribunal is contrary to the standard of impartiality and independence set out
in article 7 (1) (d) and article 26 of the African Charter of Human and
Peoples' Rights and article 14 (1) of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights. 

77.  The mission of the Secretary-General also concluded that the order
constituting the tribunal was void ab initio and therefore non est.  This
conclusion was based on the fact that a civil disturbance committee had not
been constituted, as required by part I, section 1, of Act No. 2 of 1987. 

78.  There were also serious allegations that there was a lack of due process
during the course of the trial.  These allegations were substantiated by the
mission of the Secretary-General, which found that procedures followed in the
trial were not fair, as illustrated by the following:

     (a) There was denial of access to counsel for a long period prior to the
opening of the trials.  The mission noted that Ken Saro-Wiwa and others were
detained on the night of the incident, 21 May 1994, without charge, and
brought to trial on 6 February 1995.  During this period they were held in
inhuman conditions and denied access to counsel;

     (b) Whereas after the opening of the proceedings, the tribunal accorded
two weeks for the defence counsel to prepare the brief, access to counsel was
limited by the detention of the accused in a military base;

     (c) The military was involved in all phases of the trial, as a result of
which serious allegations were made concerning the credibility of witnesses,
freedom of access to the tribunal, and intimidation of the accused, their
relatives and other members of the public;

     (d) The members of the defence counsel were harassed by the military
personnel, which required them to request permission to enter the courts and
submitted them in the process to hardship, indignities and waste of time;

     (e) Instead of furnishing the copies of the statements of witnesses as
recorded by the investigation agency, only a summary of the statements was
furnished to the accused;

     (f) A videotape which was relied upon by the defence as an important
piece of evidence was not permitted to be produced before the tribunal;

     (g) Mr. Ken Saro-Wiwa had a prepared statement which he tendered to the
commission to be taken into consideration as his statement.  The tribunal
refused to received the statement;

     (h) Affidavits on behalf of the defence by some of the witnesses
examined by the prosecution, stating that they had been bribed by the
authorities to make their statements, were not received in evidence;

     (i) The tribunal refused to stay further proceedings even though a
request was made to that effect on the ground that an appeal had been
preferred requesting the appellate court to stay the further proceedings
before the tribunal on the ground that its members were biased against the
accused.

(b)  Special Military Tribunal

79.  A number of decrees issued by the respective military Governments allow
for the establishment of special military tribunals.  The procedural flaws in
these tribunals are clearly demonstrated in the so-called coup plotters'
trial. 

80.  The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary
executions, in his report to the Commission on Human Rights (E/CN.4/1996/4)
cited information that had been brought to his attention in 1995 concerning
the secret trials held before the Special Military Court in Lagos of more than
30 military officials and civilians accused of being involved in an alleged
attempted coup d'e'tat.  Subsequent reports indicated that in March 1995,
several officers of the armed forces and some civilians were arrested and
charged with plotting a coup against the military Government.  The tribunal
was specifically constituted to hear the case under the Treason and Other
Offences Special Tribunal Decree No. 1 of 1986.  Pursuant to that decree, the
tribunal is empowered to try "any person whether or not a member of the armed
forces who, in connection with any act of rebellion against the Federal
Government, has committed the offence of treason, murder or any offence under
Nigerian Law".  The tribunal constituted to try the alleged coup plotters was
composed entirely of military personnel, presided over by Brigadier General
Patrick Aziza, a member of the Provisional Ruling Council.

81.  The trial was conducted in June and July 1995.  As in the case of the
Ogoni Nine, there was a lack of due process during the course of the
proceedings. Those tried were denied legal representation of their choice;
instead, military lawyers were appointed to defend them.  These lawyers were
answerable only to the tribunal, and most of the documents needed for the
defence were allegedly not available.  In addition, the trial was held in
secret.

82.  The trial culminated in the conviction of 41 persons, and the sentences
ranged from the death penalty to long prison terms.  As in the case of the
Ogoni Nine, there was no right of appeal to a higher tribunal; appeal against
the tribunal's judgement could only be made to the Provisional Ruling Council.

Fourteen of the accused, including General Shehu Yar'adua, a former deputy
Head of State, and R. S. B. Bello Fadile, a lawyer, were convicted of treason
and sentenced to death, although the death sentences were commuted in October
1995, after international appeals, to terms of imprisonment.  Fourteen others,
including Beko Ransome Kuti, chairman of the Campaign for Democracy, and
journalists Chris Anyawu, George Mbah and Kunle Ajibude, were each sentenced
to 25 years' imprisonment.  Former Head of State General Olesugun Obasanjo and
three others were given life sentences, later commuted to 15 years.  According
to a doctor who visited General Obasanjo on 18 June 1995, he was suffering
from acute high blood pressure, malaria, diabetes and fatigue and was in need
of immediate medical attention.  This medical report has allegedly been
ignored by officials.  General Obasanjo reportedly was recently transferred
from Jos to Yola Prison.


                     3.  Customary courts and area courts

83.  Reports indicate that there is serious concern with regard to
proceedings before customary courts and area courts.  According to the
information received, judges in customary courts and area courts are not
required to be legally qualified.  Concern has also been expressed that those
serving as judges might be closely linked to the executive authorities in the
areas in which they operate. 


                   4.  Activities of the Special Rapporteur

84.  On 4 December 1995, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges
and lawyers addressed a letter to the Government of Nigeria with regard to the
case of at least 17 Ogoni activists who were arrested in mid-1994 following
the alleged murder of four Ogoni leaders in May 1994.  According to the
source, they had reportedly been detained incommunicado and without charge
from mid-1994 until June 1995.  It was reported that they were brought before
a magistrate's court in Port Harcourt on a "holding charge", believed to be
for murder.  The source further reported that four other men, whose identities
were not known, were reportedly arrested on 24 October 1995 and charged with
murder, also in connection with the May 1994 murders.  Following the execution
of the Ogoni Nine on 10 November 1995, the source expressed concerns that the
21 Ogoni activists could be unfairly tried and sentenced to death by the Civil
Disturbances Special Tribunal, which it considers not to be independent and
from whose decisions there is no right of appeal.  It is left to the
discretion of the Executive to confirm the conviction and death sentence.  The
Special Rapporteur stated that if the allegations are correct, the 21 Ogoni
activists would be tried by a tribunal devoid of the universally accepted
basic norms for independent and impartial justice.  As stated in the Special
Rapporteur's report to the fifty-second session of the Commission on Human
Rights (E/CN.4/1996/37), no reply to this communication had been received from
the Government. 

85.  On 8 February 1996, the Special Rapporteur sent a letter to the
Government of Nigeria containing allegations regarding the detention for
several hours of Olisa Agbakoba, one of the lawyers who represented human
rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and the eight other Ogonis who were executed in
November 1995.  The detention of Mr. Agbakoba followed the detention of Gani
Fawehinmi on whose behalf a joint urgent appeal had been sent by the Special
Rapporteur and the Chairman of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on 7
February 1996 (see para. 50 above).

86.  On 20 February 1996, the Special Rapporteur and the Working Group on
Arbitrary Detention sent a joint urgent appeal concerning Femi Falana, human
rights activist and president of the National Association of Democratic
Lawyers (see para. 51 above).

87.  On 15 August 1996, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges
and lawyers sent a letter to the Government of Nigeria containing the
following allegations:

     (a) Robert Azibola and Uche Okwukwu, lawyers of 19 Ogoni activists who
had been detained since July 1994, had reportedly been arrested and detained
on 3 August 1996.  According to the source, the two lawyers were arrested by
members of the security forces at the State and Intelligence Investigations
Bureau, in Port Harcourt, after assisting a photographer whose camera the
security forces had attempted to confiscate after he had photographed four of
the defendants.  The Special Rapporteur had been informed that the lawyers
were charged with "obstructing the course of justice" and were subsequently
released on bail on 4 or 5 August 1996;

     (b) With regard to the trial of the 19 Ogoni activists, the Special
Rapporteur drew the Government's attention to the fact that he had been
informed that the defendants were first brought before a magistrate court on
19 May 1995 for a holding charge.  On 17 July 1996, they were reportedly
brought before two separate magistrate courts, 14 of them before Magistrate
Court 2 and four or five before Magistrate Court 3, respectively, after the
counsel had encountered difficulties in trying to have the defendants brought
before the court.  The counsel's intention to have the holding charges
examined by the magistrate courts was reportedly based on the deteriorating
physical condition of the detainees, resulting from harsh prison conditions
and alleged torture.  The Special Rapporteur also drew the Government's
attention to the fact that the 19 Ogoni activists had been brought before the
two magistrate courts, in spite of the fact that those courts reportedly
lacked jurisdiction, since the Rivers State High Court is reported to have
jurisdiction in these cases.  Concern was also expressed to the Special
Rapporteur about reports that although the defendants had been accused of the
same crime, they would be tried in two separate trials, before separate
courts.  Further, the defence lawyer of the 14 Ogoni who had been brought
before Magistrate Court 2 reportedly stated that he had been allowed to see
only 8 of the defendants and had not been provided with any information
related to the cases.  Four or five other Ogoni were reportedly brought before
Magistrate Court 3 on 5 August 1996.  Information received indicated that the
police prosecutor in the matter had been quizzed for bringing the 14 Ogoni
before court on 17 July and had been ordered not to bring them before court
except with prior permission from his superiors.  The Special Rapporteur had,
moreover, been informed that Magistrate Mrs. Kate Abiri had further adjourned
the hearing of the defendants until 3 September 1996 and 3 October 1996.  In
this regard, the Special Rapporteur brought to the attention of the Government
principles 7, 8, 16, 21 and 27 of the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers
and guideline 4 of the Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors.

88.  In the same communication, the Special Rapporteur reminded the
Government of Nigeria of allegations transmitted to the Government earlier in
the year relating to the detention of Gani Fawehinmi, on whose behalf a joint
communication had been sent with the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on
7 February 1996 (see para. 50 above).  The Special Rapporteur pointed out that
no reply had been received concerning the allegations transmitted to the
Government, on 8 February 1996, regarding the temporary detention of lawyer
Olisa Agbakoba.  The Special Rapporteur requested a reply to allegations
concerning the case of Femi Falana for whom an urgent appeal was sent, jointly
with the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, on 20 February 1996 (see
para. 51 above).  The Special Rapporteur expressed his specific interest in
learning about the status of the proceedings against the persons mentioned,
the charges brought against them and the conditions of detention.  At the time
the present report was finalized, the Special Rapporteur had not received a
substantive reply to his communication of 15 August 1996, nor to the previous
communications.   

Conclusions and recommendations of the Human Rights Committee

89.  The Human Rights Committee recommended, inter alia, that:

     (a) As already recommended, all decrees revoking or limiting guarantees
of fundamental rights and freedoms should be abrogated; all courts must comply
with all standards of fair trials and guarantees of justice prescribed by
article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

     (b) Urgent steps should be taken to ensure that persons facing trial are
afforded all the guarantees of a fair trial, as provided for in article 14
(1), (2) and (3) of the Covenant, and to ensure their right to have their
conviction and sentence reviewed by a higher tribunal, in accordance with
article 14 (5) of the Covenant.

Conclusions and recommendations of the fact-finding mission of the
Secretary-General

90.  The fact-finding mission of the Secretary-General recommended, inter
alia, that:

     (a) The Government should repeal the Civil Disturbances (Special
Tribunal) Act of 18 March 1987 so that offences of this type are tried by the
ordinary criminal courts;

     (b) Alternatively, the following amendments should be made to the Act:

     (i) Section 2 (2b) of the Act, providing for appointment of a serving
         member of the armed forces as a member of the Special Tribunal,
         should be deleted;

    (ii) A specific provision should be incorporated to the effect that the
         members of the Special Tribunal shall be appointed on the
         recommendation of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria;

   (iii) Section 7 of the Act should be amended to provide for confirmation
         of the order of conviction and sentence by the Nigerian Court of
         Appeal in place of confirmation by the Provisional Ruling Council;

    (iv) Section 8 of the Act, which excludes the jurisdiction of the courts
         of law to review the decision of the Special Tribunal, should be
         deleted and the power of the superior courts to issue a writ of
         habeas corpus should be restored;

     (v) A specific provision should be made for an appeal against the
         decision of the Special Tribunal to the Supreme Court of Nigeria; 

     (c) All trials pending and contemplated under the Civil Disturbances
(Special Tribunal) Act should be suspended and further action taken only after
the above-mentioned amendments are made.


                          E.  Transition to democracy

91.  The Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers
considers a constitutional Government based on the rule of law as pivotal for
an independent and impartial judiciary.  He is concerned about reports he has
received indicating that there are no significant signs towards
democratization in Nigeria, as promised by the Government. 

92.  In January 1994, the Government announced that a national constitutional
conference would be called to draft a new constitution and set the stage for
holding elections.  In December 1994, the constitutional conference
recommended that the Government hand over power to an elected civilian
Government by 1 January 1996.  However, it reversed this decision in April
1995.  The conference prepared a report and a draft constitution which was
presented to General Abacha on 27 June 1995.  Although General Abacha is
reported to have stated that the draft constitution would be considered and
approved within three months by the Provisional Ruling Council, that has not
happened and the draft has not been published.

93.  On 1 October 1995, on the occasion of the thirty-fifth anniversary of
Nigerian independence, General Sani Abacha announced a timetable for return to
civilian rule.  A gradual restoration of elected government was envisaged,
with election at local government and state levels, and national presidential
elections would take place in 1998.  The creation of a number of bodies was
announced to oversee the transition process:  a new national electoral
commission of Nigeria; a Federal character commission, with the task of
elaborating an equitable formula for sharing of Federal and state posts; a
transition implementation committee; a national reconciliation committee; and
a state creation and local government boundary adjustment commission.  In
addition, Decree No. 22 of 1995 provided for the establishment of a national
human rights commission to deal with all matters relating to the protection of
human rights as guaranteed by the constitution and international treaties to
which Nigeria is a signatory.  The National Human Rights Commission was
officially inaugurated on 17 June 1996.

94. The following detailed timetable was provided for in the Transition to
Civil Rule (Political Programme) Decree No. 1 of 1996, schedules one to four:

     October-December 1995:  Approval of the draft Constitution, lifting of
the ban on political activities; establishment of the National Electoral
Commission of Nigeria; creation of a transition implementation committee, a
national reconciliation committee and a federal character commission;
appointment of a panel for the creation of a state and local government
boundary adjustment commission;

     January-March 1996:  Election and inauguration of local government
councils on a "non-party" basis;

     April-June 1996:  Creation of states and local governments; commencement
of political party registration;

     July-September 1996:  Registration of political parties; delineation of
constituencies; production of an authentic voters' register;

     October-December 1996:  Election of local government councils at party
level; sitting of local government election tribunals and conduct of
by-elections;

     January-March 1997:  Inauguration of party-elected local government
councils; consolidation of new political party structures;

     April-June 1997:  Party states primaries to select candidates for the
state assembly and governorship elections; screening and approval of
candidates by the National Electoral Commission of Nigeria;

     July-September 1997:  State assembly elections:  sitting of state
election tribunals and conduct of by-elections;

     October-December 1997:  Election of state governors:  sitting of state
election tribunals and conduct of by-elections;

     January-March 1998:  Inauguration of state assemblies and swearing in of
state governors; party primaries to select candidates for National Assembly
elections; National Assembly election campaigns;

     April-June 1998:  National Assembly elections; sitting of National
Assembly election tribunals and conduct of by-elections; primaries to select
candidates for presidential elections; commencement of nationwide campaign for
the presidential elections;

     July-September 1998:  Presidential elections;

     1 October 1998:  Swearing-in of newly elected president and final
disengagement by the armed forces.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Human Rights Committee

95.  The Human Rights Committee recommended, inter alia, that: 

     (a) Immediate steps should be taken to restore democracy and full
constitutional rights in Nigeria without delay; 

     (b) A review of the legal framework for the protection of human rights
in Nigeria should be undertaken in order to ensure that the principles of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights are incorporated into the
legal system and that effective remedies are provided in case of violations of
rights;

     (c) Decree No. 107, and any other measures which abrogate the
application of the basic rights enshrined in the 1979 Constitution, should be
abrogated; 

     (d) The Government of Nigeria should ensure that the National Human
Rights Commission takes steps to inform and educate the community about the
rights and freedoms protected by the Covenant and the Constitution and about
the remedies available in case of violation of rights; it should seek the
assistance of the technical and advisory services of the United Nations Centre
for Human Rights in this process.

Conclusions and recommendations of the fact-finding mission of the
Secretary-General

96.  The fact-finding mission of the Secretary-General recommended, inter
alia, that the Government:

     (a) Strengthen the existing committees and commissions established to
usher in democratic civil rule by including persons holding different shades
of opinion and persons representing professional associations, political
groups and ethnic minorities;

     (b) Invite an international team, composed of observers from the United
Nations and/or the Organization of African Unity, to be stationed in Nigeria
to monitor the implementation of all the remaining stages of the transition
programme, including the elections;

     (c) Designate a review committee, under the chairmanship of a judge of
the Superior Court, to examine the decrees promulgated by the military
Government to date to identify and recommend the repeal of those decrees or
provisions that encroach on the human rights provisions of the Constitution or
otherwise hinder the supremacy of the rule of law;

     (d) Ensure that the executive branches of Government and, in particular,
the various state and armed forces security agencies respect and promptly
carry out the decisions, orders and judgements of the courts;

     (e) Release all persons detained under Decree No. 2 of 1984, and similar
decrees, and grant amnesty to persons who have been convicted for political
offences; 

     (f) Lift the existing restrictions in law, in fact and in practice and
refrain from imposing other restrictions on political and professional
associations and labour unions, in accordance with the national and
international norms on freedom of association;

     (g) Remove restrictions on the right of freedom of expression of the
press, release journalists and refrain from harassing the media;

     (h) Give wide publicity to and make available copies of the 1995 draft
constitution.


                          F.  Situation of minorities

97.  As stated earlier, the population of Nigeria is composed of some 400
ethnic, religious or linguistic groupings.  Violations of the rights of the
Ogoni population have obtained much publicity, in particular since October
1990, when the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People was established. 
A bill of rights for the Ogoni was declared soon after, demanding, inter alia,
autonomy for the Ogoni.  Information received from different sources indicates
that following a series of protests in early 1993 against the military
Government and the Shell Petroleum Development Company, activists of the
Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People were repeatedly arrested and
detained.  As protests continued, mounting disagreement regarding the
structure of the Movement and its strategy reportedly created a rift in the
organization's leadership.

98.  According to government reports, violence in Ogoniland that occurred
prior to May 1994 was the result of ethnic clashes between the Ogoni and
neighbouring ethnic groups.  However, it has been alleged that the Government
played an active role in fomenting ethnic antagonism.  Further, plain-clothes
army troops were reported to have participated in secret military raids.

99.  Following the murder of four prominent Ogoni leaders during a riot in
Giokoo in 1994, the Rivers State internal security task force, a military unit
created in January 1994, was reinforced and conducted a series of raids on
Ogoni villages.  The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary
executions transmitted several cases to the Government of Nigeria in previous
years containing allegations of extrajudicial executions carried out by the
Nigerian security forces and in particular by the special task force. 
Hundreds of Ogoni are reported to have been arrested or detained in May and
June 1994 by the Rivers State internal task force and are alleged to have been
kept in appalling conditions.

100. Reports indicate that restrictions on freedom of association, expression
and assembly are not confined to members of the Ogoni community.  Other
communities are reported also to have received warnings of the dangers of
protesting against government policies, and leaders have reportedly been
threatened that if they did not obey the Government they would be locked up.

101. Information received shortly before the present report was finalized
contains allegations of clashes between security forces and members of a
religious minority which allegedly resulted in the massacres, in two separate
incidents, of 14 and 50 members of the Shiite minority in Kaduna State by
members of security and police forces, respectively.  The two Special
Rapporteurs wish to take up this issue in greater detail during their visit to
Nigeria.

Recommendations of the fact-finding mission of the Secretary-General

102. The fact-finding mission of the Secretary-General recommended, inter
alia, that the constitution of a committee comprised of representatives of the
Ogoni community and other minority groups in the region be chaired by a
retired judge of the High Court so as to introduce improvements in the
socio-economic conditions of those communities, enhance employment
opportunities and health, education and welfare services and act as ombudsman
in any complaints/ allegations of harassment at the hands of the authorities. 
The committee may make recommendations for the Government to carry out.



                V.  PRELIMINARY CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

103. The Special Rapporteurs consider the following conclusions and
recommendations to be preliminary in nature, pending the findings of their
mission to Nigeria.

Conclusions

     (1) The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary
executions remains deeply concerned about the application of the death penalty
in Nigeria; the use of force by law enforcement officials; the continuing
occurrence of communal violence and apparent lack of preventive measures; and
extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the large number of deaths in
detention and the high rate of impunity;  

     (2) The Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers
expresses grave concern that in Nigeria today substantial judicial power,
particularly in the administration of criminal justice, is vested in the
military and special ad hoc tribunals to the exclusion of the ordinary courts.

Such tribunals cannot possibly be independent and impartial, let alone be seen
to be so.  Further, these tribunals do not appear to apply the universally
accepted principles of due process in the administration of justice.  With
appeals to, and the supervisory powers of, the ordinary courts so severely
restricted, these tribunals now appear to exercise unbridled judicial power in
the administration of criminal justice.  Thus, the rule of law in Nigeria
appears seriously in jeopardy.

Preliminary recommendations

     (1) The two Special Rapporteurs appeal to the Government of Nigeria to
fully implement the recommendations made by the fact-finding mission of the
Secretary-General following its visit in April 1996, as well as the
recommendations made by the Human Rights Committee following the examination
of  the initial report of Nigeria under article 40 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  In particular, all persons detained
under Decree No. 2 of 1984 and similar decrees should be immediately released
or be brought to trial before the ordinary courts if there are any criminal
charges against them.  The Ogoni detained since mid-1994 pending trial must be
brought to trial without further delay before the ordinary courts or else be
released unconditionally.  In the interim, their physical and medical needs
must be attended to forthwith;
 
     (2) The two Special Rapporteurs also urge the Government to take
measures to prevent the occurrence of intercommunal violence.  Allegations of
killings as a result of intercommunal violence should be investigated
immediately;

     (3) The two Special Rapporteurs request the Government of Nigeria to
undertake all necessary efforts to ensure that the mission of the Special
Rapporteurs can be carried out without any hindrance; that they will have
access to all authorities, individuals or groups of people with whom they wish
to meet; that no reprisals or repressive measures will be taken against any
persons who wish to contact or have contacted the two Special Rapporteurs or
who have been in contact with the fact-finding mission of the
Secretary-General; that representatives of non-governmental organizations,
churches and ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities will be allowed to
travel without hindrance to the places where they would meet with the mission;
that the two Special Rapporteurs will have access to all regions, towns,
villages and buildings they wish to visit in order to carry out their mission;
and that they will have access to all documentation or information they deem
necessary for their respective mandates.


                                     Notes

     1/  General Assembly resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex, adopted on
16 December 1966.

     2/  General Assembly resolution 217 A (III), adopted on 10 December
1948.

     3/  See Human Rights:  A Compilation of International Instruments
(United Nations publication, Sales No. E.88.XIV.1), sect. G.


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