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Nigeria: Fear of torture or ill-treatment / possible prisoners of conscience

, Index number: AFR 44/003/1997

Gbenga Adebusuyi, Bankole Akinrinade, Femi Akrinrinade, Philip Arogheo, Peter Ogunyamoju: There is concern for the safety of the above five men who have been detained, following reports that one of them, Gbenga Adebusyi, has been tortured at the Directorate of Military Intelligence headquarters in Apapa, Lagos. There is also concern that they may be prisoners of conscience, detained solely because they are relatives or friends, or relatives of friends, of retired Lieutenant-General Alani Akinrinade, a leading member of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) in exile. He has been publicly accused by the authorities of responsibility for bombings in Nigeria in 1996. The detainees are being held incommunicado and without charge.

EXTERNAL AI Index: AFR 44/03/97
UA 35/97 Fear of torture or ill-treatment /
Possible prisoners of conscience 31 January 1997
NIGERIAGbenga Adebusuyi, mid-40s, farm manager
Bankole Akinrinade, 43, businessman in shipping
Femi Akinrinade, 47, businessman
Philip Arogheo, 30, driver
Peter Ogunyamoju, 26, printer
Fears for the safety of five detainees have been heightened by reports that
one of them has been tortured in custody. The five men appear to be prisoners
of conscience, detained solely because they are relatives or friends, or
relatives of friends, of retired Lieutenant-General Alani Akinrinade. General
Akinrinade is a leading member of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO)
in exile who has been publicly accused by the Nigerian authorities of
responsibility for bombings in Nigeria in 1996.
General Akinrinade’s farm manager, Gbenga Adebusuyi, was arrested in December
1996. He is reported to have been hung up by his feet and to have had his
head kicked while in detention at the Directorate of Military Intelligence
headquarters in Apapa, Lagos.
General Akinrinade's driver, Philip Arogheo, was apparently arrested in
mid-January 1997. One of his brothers, Femi Akinrinade, was arrested on 13
January. His sister-in-law, Bola Akinrinade, a 32-year-old civil servant,
was also arrested on 13 January, and held effectively as a hostage for six
days in place of her husband, Bankole Akinrinade, also a brother of General
Akinrinade. During her detention, Bola Akinrinade was held incommunicado and
without charge or trial at the headquarters of the Federal Intelligence and
Investigations Bureau, the criminal investigation police, in Ikoyi, Lagos.
Her family was unable to establish her whereabouts or send in food for her.
She was released after Bankole Akinrinade was arrested on 18 January.
Peter Ogunyamoju was reportedly arrested in mid-January 1997 at the home of
his cousin, Dr Amos Akingba, a business colleague and friend of General
Akinrinade. He appears to have been detained, also effectively as a hostage,
because the security police were unable to find Dr Akingba.
No charges have been brought against those detained, who are probably held
under the State Security (Detention of Persons) Decree, No. 2 of 1984, which
allows the indefinite, incommunicado detention without charge or trial of any
person deemed to have threatened the security of the state. There is no legal
recourse against such detention; this military decree specifically excludes
the jurisdiction of the courts. Following criticism by a UN
Secretary-General’s mission in 1996, the government promised that security
detentions would be subject to review. However, the review is not conducted
by an independent, judicial body. The review panel set up in October 1996
is headed by security officials and conducts its reviews in secret, providing
no safeguards for detainees against torture or arbitrary detention.
The authorities have made unsubstantiated accusations that NADECO was
responsible for bomb attacks in northern Nigeria in January 1996 and a car-bomb
on 14 November 1996 at Lagos international airport. Two weeks after the
car-bomb, the police said that one of the three victims, the chief airport
security officer, had been a NADECO agent who had blown himself up by accident
-- accusations denied by both NADECO and the officer’s family -- and that another
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of the victims was carrying a cheque to deliver to General Akinrinade. General
Akinrinade is the highest-ranking former military officer to have supported
NADECO, which believes that the accusations against him are
politically-motivated. In early May 1996 his home in Lagos was fire-bombed
by unidentified attackers, and on 23 May 1996 his friend and business partner,
retired Rear Admiral Olu Victor Omotenhinwa, was shot dead by unidentified
gunmen. This was one of a number of killings in 1996 of Nigerians with
connections to the pro-democracy movement which are feared to have been
instigated by government agents, acting with or without the knowledge of the
central authorities.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in English or your own language:
- expressing concern at the detention, incommunicado and without charge or
trial, of the five people named above, and asking to know the reason for their
continued detention;
- expressing particular concern at reports that Gbenga Adebusuyi has been
tortured in detention;
- urging that he and the other detainees be immediately safeguarded against
further torture or ill-treatment and given access to their lawyers, families
and doctors of their own choice;
- calling for them to be released if they are not to be charged with recognizably
criminal offences and promptly and fairly tried.
APPEALS TO:
Dr Auwalu Hamisu Yadudu
Special adviser to the Head of State on judicial matters
State House, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria
Telegrams: Dr Yadudu, State House, Abuja, Nigeria
Salutation: Dear Dr Yadudu
Major-General Abdulsalam A. Abubakar
Chief of Defence Staff
Provisional Ruling Council, State House
Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria
Telegrams: Chief of Defence Staff, Abuja, Nigeria
Salutation: Dear Major-General
Colonel Ibrahim Sabo
Director, Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI)
Park Lane, Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria
Telegrams: Colonel Sabo, Director, DMI, Lagos, Nigeria
Salutation: Dear Colonel
COPIES TO:
Mr Justice P.K. Nwokedi, Chairman
National Human Rights Commission
c/o Ministry of Justice, Marina, Lagos, Nigeria
The Editor, The News, PMB 21531, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
The Editor, Sunday Concord, POB 4483, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
The Editor, Newswatch, PMB 21499, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
The Editor, This Day, PO Box 54749, Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria
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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 22 March 1997.

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