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