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Further information on UA 219/94 (AFR 44/05/94, 8 June) - Nigeria: prisoners of conscience / death penalty: Ameh Ebute, Chief Polycarp Nwite, Onyeka A Okoroafor; and new names: Abu Ibrahim, Rev Dr Maconyemechi O Nwulu, Bola Ahmed Tinubu

, N° d'index: AFR 44/008/1994

The six former senators named above remain in detention awaiting trial. They are prisoners of conscience. They were arrested between 2 and 6 June 1994 and charged on 14 June with "treasonable felony" and conspiracy. These charges relate to a secret meeting of former members of the Senate and the subsequent publication on 1 June of a statement urging General Sani Abacha, the head of state, to stand down and calling for the restoration of democratic institutions. They are among hundreds of pro-democracy activists who have been imprisoned in recent weeks. Among those on bail awaiting trial are Chief Olusegun Osoba, Air Commodore (retd) Jonah Jang, Air Commodore (retd) Dan Suleiman and Beko Ransome-Kuti.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 44/08/94
Distr: UA/SC
21 July 1994
Further information on UA 219/94 (AFR 44/05/94, 8 June 1994) - Prisoner of
conscience / death penalty
NIGERIA: Ameh Ebute, lawyer, former President of the Senate
Chief Polycarp Nwite, former Senator
Onyeka A. Okoroafor, former Abia State Senator
new names: Abu Ibrahim, former Katsina State Senator
The Reverend Dr Maconyemechi O. Nwulu, former Senator
Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Senator
The six former Senators named above remain in detention awaiting trial.
Amnesty International is calling for their immediate and unconditional release
as prisoners of conscience, imprisoned because of their non-violent political
activities.
The six, arrested between 2 and 6 June 1994, were charged on 14 June with
"treasonable felony" and conspiracy. Treasonable felony is a lesser charge
than the capital charge of treason, and is punishable by life imprisonment.
The charges relate to the secret meeting of former members of the Senate and
the subsequent publication on 1 June of a statement urging General Sani Abacha,
the head of state, to stand down and calling for the restoration of democratic
institutions. The six were remanded in custody to await trial and are detained
at Alagbon Close police station, Ikoyi, Lagos.
They are among hundreds of pro-democracy activists who have been imprisoned
in recent weeks, many following demonstrations and protests, some of which
have resulted in clashes with police. On 18 July, at least 20 demonstrators
were reportedly killed by police during rioting in Lagos.
Many of those arrested have been released without charge; others have been
released on bail to await trial. Founding members of the National Democratic
Coalition (NADECO), a grouping of former political leaders and pro-democracy
activists, have been charged with forming an illegal organization: Chief
Olusegun Osoba, former Ogun State Governor (listed on the original UA), Air
Commodore (retd) Jonah Jang, former Benue State Governor, and Air Commodore
(retd) Dan Suleiman, former Plateau State Governor, were charged on 9 June
and released on bail pending trial. Beko Ransome-Kuti, President of the
Campaign for Democracy and the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, was
arrested on 9 June and detained incommunicado until 28 June when he was released
on bail to await trial on charges of treasonable felony, accused of publishing
a pamphlet which declares the military government to be illegal.
Amnesty International is also calling for a halt to the prosecution of all
those, whether in detention or currently released on bail, who have been charged
with treasonable felony or other political offences and who would become
prisoners of conscience if convicted and sentenced to prison terms.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/express and airmail
letters:
- expressing concern at the continued remand in custody of Ameh Ebute, Chief
Polycarp Nwite, Onyeka A. Okoroafor, Abu Ibrahim, the Reverend Dr Maconyemechi
2
O. Nwulu and Bola Ahmed Tinubu;
- calling for their immediate and unconditional release on the grounds that
they are prisoners of conscience, detained for their non-violent political
activities and criticism of the government;
- calling also for a halt to the prosecution of all those, whether in detention
or currently released on bail, who have been charged with treasonable felony
or other political offences and who would become prisoners of conscience if
convicted and sentenced to prison terms.
APPEALS TO:
1. General Sani Abacha
Chairman, Provisional Ruling Council,
Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and Minister of Defence
State House, Abuja
Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria
Telexes: (0905) 91529 or 91530 EXTNAL NG (via Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Telegrams: General Abacha, Abuja, Nigeria
Salutation: Dear General Abacha
2. Lieutenant-General D.O. Diya
Chief of General Staff
State House, Abuja
Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria
Telegrams: Chief of Staff Diya, Abuja, Nigeria
Salutation: Dear Lieutenant-General Diya
3. Dr Olu Onagoruwa
Minister of Justice and Attorney General
Ministry of Justice
Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria
Telegrams: Minister of Justice Onagoruwa, Abuja, Nigeria
Salutation: Dear Minister
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Baba Gana Kingibe
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
PMB 130, Abuja
Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria
The Editor, The Punch, PMB 21204, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
The Editor, The Guardian, PMB 1217, Oshodi, Lagos, Nigeria
The Editor, Daily Express, POB 163, Lagos, Nigeria
The Editor, Newswatch, PMB 21499, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
The Editor, Nigerian Standard, PMB 2112, Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria
The Editor, Weekly Sunray, 220 Aba Road, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, 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 31 August 1994.

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