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Nigeria: Fear of torture or ill-treatment / legal concern:

, رقم الوثيقة: AFR 44/030/1997

Lieutenant-General D. Oladipo Diya, Major-General Abdulkarim Adisa, Major-General Tajudeen Olanrewaju, Colonel Daniel Akintonde, Colonel Edwin Jandu, Colonel Emmanuel Shoda, Colonel Femi Peters, Lieutenant-Colonel Olu Akinyode, Major Biliaminu M. Mohammed, Major Olasehun Fadikpe, Major K. A. Isufu Ishako and Professor Femi Odekunle: On 21 December 1997, the Nigerian government annouced that a coup plot had been thwarted and that the above-named individuals, 11 senior armed forces officers and one civilian, had subsequently been arrested.

EXTERNAL AI Index: AFR 44/30/97
UA 406/97 Fear of torture or ill-treatment / legal concern 22 December 1997
NIGERIALieutenant-General D. Oladipo Diya, Vice-Chairman, Provisional Ruling
Council and Chief of General Staff
Major-General Abdulkarim Adisa, former Minister of Works and Housing
Major-General Tajudeen Olanrewaju, former Minister of Communications
Colonel Daniel Akintonde, former State Military Administrator
Colonel Edwin Jandu, artillery brigade commander
Colonel Emmanuel Shoda, military assistant to Lieutenant-General Oladipo Diya
Colonel Femi Peters, National War College, Abuja
Lieutenant-Colonel Olu Akinyode, former special assistant to Major-General
Tajudeen Olanrewaju
Major Biliaminu M. Mohammed, administrative officer, Presidency
Major Olasehun Fadikpe, chief security officer to Lieutenant-General Oladipo
Diya
Major K. A. Isufu Ishako, commander, artillery detachment, Abuja
Professor Femi Odekunle, political adviser to Lieutenant-General Oladipo Diya
On 21 December 1997, the Nigerian government announced that a coup plot had
been thwarted and that 11 senior armed forces officers and one civilian had
been arrested. Those arrested include Lieutenant-General D. Oladipo Diya,
the Vice-Chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council, and former members of
the military government removed in a recent reshuffle. No details were given
of the alleged coup plot.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The military have ruled Nigeria since 1983 when the last elected civilian
government was overthrown. In 1986, 10 members of the military were executed
for alleged coup plotting, and in 1990, 69 armed forces officers were executed
after a coup attempt in Lagos in which at least one person was killed. All
were executed after secret, grossly unfair trials by military tribunals headed
by members of the military government.
In 1995, 14 officers and retired officers were sentenced to death after such
secret trials, although their sentences were later commuted to lengthy prison
terms after intense international and national pressure. They were accused
of coup plotting but no convincing evidence was produced against them, and
the trials were used to imprison leading critics of the government, including
human rights defenders and journalists. Some of the armed forces officers
arrested were reportedly tortured in an attempt to coerce them to testify against
former head of state General (Retired) Olusegun Obasanjo and his former deputy
Major General (Retired) Shehu Musa Yar'Adua who had headed the only military
government to hand over power to an elected civilian government, in 1979.
Shehu Musa Yar'Adua and another of the more than 40 prisoners of conscience
convicted in the 1995 trials, staff-sergeant Patrick Usikekpo, died in prison
earlier in December 1997 in unexplained circumstances (see UA 387/97, AFR
44/27/97, 9 December 1997 and update, AFR 44/28/97, 19 December) They appear
to have succumbed to the harsh and life-threatening prison conditions suffered
by most political prisoners, and indeed most prisoners, in Nigeria's
under-resourced prison system in which malnutrition and almost complete medical
neglect are the norm.
At least one political detainee in 1997, Gbenga Adebusuyi, was reportedly
tortured or ill-treated in an attempt to coerce him to implicate a leading
pro-democracy exile in a wave of bomb attacks in Nigeria since 1995, most of
2
them against military targets. He is among a group of prisoners, including
leading critics of the military government and prominent pro-democracy exiles,
who remain in incommunicado detention after being charged with treason in March
1997. Their trial before the ordinary courts has been repeatedly stalled.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in
English or your own language:
- calling on the authorities to ensure that all those arrested are not subjected
to torture or ill-treatment and are given appropriate medical care while in
custody;
- urging that they be held in conditions which conform to international
humanitarian standards and that they are given immediate access to families,
lawyers and doctors of their own choice;
- urging that they be immediately released if they are not to be charged with
a recognizably criminal offence and tried promptly and fairly in accordance
with international standards for fair trial.
APPEALS TO:
General Sani Abacha
Chairman, Provisional Ruling Council
State House, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria
Telegrams: General Abacha, Abuja, Nigeria
Faxes: +234 9 523 2138
Salutation: Dear General
Major-General Abdulsalam Abubakar
Chief of Defence Staff
c/o State House, Aso Rock, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria
Telegrams: Chief of Defence Staff, State House, Abujua, Nigeria
Salutation: Dear Major-General
COPIES TO:
Chief Tom Ikimi
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maputo Street
PMB 130, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria
Mr Justice P.K. Nwokedi, Chairman
National Human Rights Commission
National Assembly Complex, Maitama
PMB 444, Garki
Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria
The Editor, The Guardian, PMB 1217, Oshodi, Lagos, Nigeria The Editor, Sunday
Vanguard, PMB 1007, Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria
The Editor, Nigerian Tribune, PO Box 78, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria
The Editor, Sunday Punch, PMB 21204, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
and to diplomatic representatives of NIGERIA accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 10 February 1998.

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