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UA 176/92 - Nigeria: incommunicado detention of prisoners of conscience: Dr Beko Ransome Kuti, Femi Falana, Baba Omojola

, N° d'index: AFR 44/007/1992

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 44/07/92
Distr: UA/SC
UA 176/92 Incommunicado detention of prisoners of conscience 28 May 1992
NIGERIA: Dr Beko Ransome Kuti, doctor, human rights activist
Femi Falana, lawyer, human rights activist
Baba Omojola
Amnesty International is concerned at the arrest, on 19 May 1992, and subsequent
incommunicado detention without charge of the above three critics of the Nigerian
government. Amnesty International considers them to be prisoners of conscience,
imprisoned for the expression of their non-violent opposition to the government,
and is calling for their immediate and unconditional release.
Dr Beko Ransome Kuti, President of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights
(CDHR) and Chairman of the newly formed pro-democracy coalition, Campaign for
Democracy (CD), was arrested at his home in Lagos on 19 May 1992. According to reports,
up to 200 riot police surrounded his home in the early hours of the morning and he
was arrested at gun point. Later the same day, Femi Falana, lawyer, President of
the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADL) and leading member of the
Campaign for Democracy, was arrested at Ikeja High Court, Lagos. Another member
of the Campaign for Democracy, Baba Omojola, was also arrested in the early hours
of 19 May 1992.
Their place of detention is not known and no reason has been given for their arrest.
However, it appears that they may have been arrested in connection with the activities
of the Campaign for Democracy, a coalition of some 25 opposition and human rights
organizations which has called on the military government, the Armed Forces Ruling
Council, to resign and give way to an interim government while a national conference
is convened to debate Nigeria's political future. They may also have been suspected
of involvement in the student protests against the government's economic policies
on 13 and 14 May 1992 which sparked outbreaks of violent civil unrest in Lagos and
other major cities in Nigeria over the past two weeks.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Major devaluation of the currency in March 1992 caused prices and transport costs
to rise steeply and led to weeks of rioting and demonstrations in Lagos and elsewhere,
culminating in hundreds of arrests and reports of several deaths. In addition, up
to 300 people are reported to have been killed in violent clashes between Muslims
and Christians in and around the northern city of Kaduna over a 10-day period in
mid-May 1992.
In the process of transition to civil rule, due to be completed in January 1993,
elected civilian State Governors took office in January 1992, and legislative and
presidential elections are scheduled to take place at the end of 1992.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/express and airmail letters:
- expressing concern at the arrest, on 19 May 1992, and continued detention without
charge or trial of Dr Beko Ransome Kuti, Femi Falana and Baba Omojola;
- asking the reasons for their detention and whether they are to be charged with
any offence;
- expressing concern that they are being detained incommunicado; asking where they
are being held and urging that they be given immediate access to their families and
lawyers;
Page 2 of UA 176/92
- calling for their immediate and unconditional release as prisoners of conscience,
detained for the non-violent expression of the opposition to the government.
APPEALS TO
1) General Ibrahim Babangida Dear Mr President
President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces
State House, Ribadu Road
Ikoyi Island
Lagos, Nigeria
Telegrams: President Babangida, Lagos, Nigeria
Telexes: 21444 or 21236 EXTNAL NG (via Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
2) Admiral (Retd) Augustus Aikhomu Dear Admiral Aikhomu
Vice-President
State House, Ribadu Road
Ikoyi Island
Lagos, Nigeria
Telegrams: Vice-President Aikhomu, Lagos, Nigeria
Telexes: 21444 or 21236 EXTNAL NG (via Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
3) Clement Akpangbo Dear Minister
Attorney-General and Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
The Old Secretariat
PMB 12517, Marina
Lagos, Nigeria
Telegrams: Minister of Justice Akpangbo, Lagos, Nigeria
Telexes: 21444 or 21236 EXTNAL NG (via Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
1) Major-General (Retd) Ike O.S. Nwachukwu
Minister of External Affairs
Ministry of External Affairs
Maputo Street, Abuja
Federal Capital Territory
Nigeria
2) any of the following newspapers:
Nigerian Tribune, POB 78, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria
New Democrat, POB 4457, Kaduna South, Kaduna State, Nigeria
Daily Star, PMB 1139, Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria
The Triumph, PMB 3155, Kano, Kano State, Nigeria
National Concord, POB 4483, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
Nigerian Standard, PMB 2112, Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria
3) Campaign for Democracy
PO Box 7247
Lagos
Nigeria
and to diplomatic representatives of Nigeria in your country
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your
section office, if sending appeals after 9 July 1992.

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