The Vanguard,
January 4 , 2005

"On General Ibrahim Babangida, we are of the view that there is evidence to suggest that he and the two security chiefs, Brigadier General Halilu Akilu and Col. A. K. Togun are accountable for the death of Dele Giwa by letter bomb. We recommend that this case be re-open for further investigation in the public interest."

1. The Commission has attempted in this Report, to capture the faltering if slippery threads of Nigeria.s chequered history. Africa's most populous nation has faced challenges of enormous proportions. It has been battered and bruised. Its national history reflects an undulating landscape, made up of curves, hillocks, valleys and little mountains.

2. The questions persist: Where did Nigeria take the wrong turn?

What is the root of its problems? Is it with its leadership or the followership? Have its resources been its undoing or is it the inability of the ruling elite to manage or distribute these resources in a prudent, accountable and transparent manner? What went wrong? Can we put Nigeria back on track again? Or, as a famous Nigerian playwright has asked, .Are the gods to Blame?. Or else why would a nation so richly endowed turn so suicidal?

3. These and several other questions go to the heart of the interlocking problems of democracy and development, and of peace and security in the country. The problem of the Nigerian State, and of good governance in the country is ultimately bound up with the oxymoronic formulation of the federal idea as unity in diversity.

4. The Nigerian State is a multinational State in conception; yet the possibility of a Nigerian nation, demanding overarching loyalty from its diverse ethno-national groups, seems perpetually constrained and contradicted by the primordial demands of its multinational diversity. This has been, and continues to be the fundamental problem of nation-building, of democracy and development in the country.

5. How do we transform the Nigerian State into the Nigerian nation, thereby confounding the cynics who contend that, almost 87 years after amalgamation in 1914, Nigeria is no more than a mere geographical expression, or who refer to her as the mistake of 1914.

6. Despite the lingering multifaceted and complex crises it has been going through since independence in 1960, the country has remarkably held together, always pulling away from the precipice, except for the civil war years between 1967 and 1970. Indeed, many would argue that perhaps the country’s resilience is both its strength and its weakness.

7. In short, as if in a stupor, the country has tottered on, all the fears, anxieties and frustrations of nation building, notwithstanding. Many have concluded that indeed, rather than being seen as evidence of weakness or fragility, the sense and sentiments of nationhood actually run deep in the veins of Nigerians.

Nigerians love their country. They want to see it united and strong. The real problem is, at what cost and who bears the brunt?
8. The missing link appears to be the inability of the ruling elite and the political class to establish a nexus between the yearnings, desires, hopes and aspirations of its young and coming generation and the design and construction of a new future for Nigeria.

9. It is arguable that the continuing frustration about the character of the polity is not unconnected with the general feeling among the Youth in the age brackets of 30-40 and below that earlier generations of the political class have squandered their hopes and future.
10. There is the feeling that the country’s political leadership has been greedy, self-serving and lacking in serious political will, contributing in no small measure to the crises of democracy and development, which have delayed the country’’s march to nationhood.

11. When the military seized political power in January 1966, there was a general feeling in the country that they were motivated by altruistic intentions and objectives to save the country from descent nto political chaos and instability.

12. As time passed, the country’’s military rulers and the military as an institution by and large lost their sense of direction. The greed of the military dragged the nation further and further away from the project of nationhood. The result is that by the end of almost thirty years of military rule, Nigeria is far more fragmented than it was in January 1966, when the military first seized power.

13. The democratic struggle against military rule in the country, whose high water mark was the return to democratic civilian rule on 29 May 1999, symbolizes and marks the return to the project of the three Rs (Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Reconciliation), which the military enunciated after the end of the civil war in January 1970.
14. After wandering in the wilderness, the country seemed ready and prepared to return to the path it had abandoned through the military option.

15. Looking back with the benefit of hindsight, we can see that, in a way, the noble and patriotic project of the three Rs was a forerunner to the Human Rights Violations Investigation Commission. Yet, the setting up of this Commission could be considered an indictment of the Nigerian political military class.


16. This is why we believe that there is need for this country, this nation-in-the-making to reflect more seriously on its future, so as to render the establishment of a similar Commission in the future unnecessary.

17. The preceding volumes of this Report have tried to show how the Commission grappled with the problems of providing a platform for Nigerians to confront their gory past, in order to gear themselves for the difficult but essential battles of laying the foundation for a just and democratic Nigeria.

18. Generally, it was evidently clear, from most of the petitions received by the Commission and from the verbal presentations and arguments canvassed during the Commission’’s Public Hearings, that there were genuine concerns among the petitioners and the generality of our people, the citizens, that Nigerians need a nation to belong to, a nation cemented by a social contract of mutuality and reciprocity in cultural, economic, political and social relations, a nation to be proud of, one that provides its citizens with an enabling umbrella of equality of opportunities, social and distributive justice, protection and security.

19. From the sentiments re-echoed in messages received and the keen interest demonstrated in the mandate and work of the Commission by innumerable Nigerians, within and outside our country, we are convinced that, with the right social, economic and political atmosphere, a united, powerful, purposeful, compassionate and egalitarian nation will emerge from the frustrations expressed and captured by such expressions as marginalization, stranger, indigene, discrimination etc.

20. There is enough evidence on the ground to suggest that, were Nigerians to see a leadership that can synchronize public sentiments for the emergence of a Nigerian nation with genuine policy programmes of national reconciliation, reconstruction and national integration, in the next ten or so years, the country could achieve harmony.

21. In view of this, our aim in the present Volume is to highlight some of the major institutional and structural changes that the Federal Government of Nigeria needs to embark upon to ensure justice to its citizens and thus lay a durable and solid foundation for a democratic Nigerian nation.
22. After reviewing the tons of petitions submitted to it, the Commission has had to come face-to-face with the profoundly deep level of frustrations among the various communities in Nigeria.

23. But as we listened to the various petitions, we also detected the flaws in many of the assumptions. A very interesting picture emerges, when we put all the petitions together in perspective.

24. For example, it was interesting to find that there was hardly any consensus on what really constitutes marginalization. What is more, it was interesting to note that while the Ohaneze petition on behalf of the Igbos pointed accusing fingers at the Federal Government, their allegations were challenged by both the Arewa Consultative Forum, on the one hand, and the Southern Minorities on the other.

25. While the Arewa Consultative Forum claimed to represent the North, the Joint Action Committee of the Middle Belt also leveled accusations against the North, which the Arewa Constultative Forum claimed it was speaking for.

26. Indeed, from the submissions received by the Commission, it is possible to conclude that as clusters of ethnic or regional blocs, we are all marginalized, but as Nigerians, the story is different. For example, although a rather unsteady picture has emerged, most of the Memoranda received by the Commission constituted a documentation of frustrations among ethnic blocs.

27. This ethnicised anger focused on the negative and did not give much thought to the substantial progress in many other areas that the country and the communities had made together in earlier periods of our national history.

28. We are of the view that a more consistent and objective reading of the country’’s history will lead to the inevitable conclusion that much progress had been made in the country’’s earlier post-independence history. For example, despite the excesses of military rule, we heard very commendable stories among various communities relating to what some patriotic and imaginative military administrators or governors had done when they governed States that were outside their own immediate States.

29. Evidence exist of the great works done by Muslim administrators in non- Muslim States and vice versa. We also recall periods when the nation knew tolerance and accommodation across ethnic and religious divides.
30. We are therefore of the view that there is need for the country to trace where the cracks set in and seek the best means of closing these cracks, in order to re-establish trust among the various segments of Nigeria.

31. We hold that this is possible and also very much desirable. It is a much easier goal to pursue under a democracy than under military rule.
This prospect opened up by the nascent democratic dispensation in the country posed a challenge to the Commission. How could the Commission contribute to charting a course for this noble objective, which is seemingly beyond its immediate Mandate?

32. The Commission was of the view that there was need to go beyond the Mandate, in search of pathways along which the project of nation building must proceed. This is more so, because the Commission is uniquely the best opportunity that Nigerians have had in several years to forge an informed understanding of their country’s past and to put in place the necessary foundational building blocks on which a new Nigerian nation would rest.

33. After consultations with a broad spectrum of the stakeholders, it became clear to the Commission that the nature of Nigeria’’s chequered and fractured history demands that the Commission’s work should serve as a mirror to reflect the trials and tribulations of our country. This was not easy.


34. The terrain the Commission traversed was long and excruciatingly tortuous. In spite of this, the Commission believes that it has laid a firm basis for a proper understanding of its work and of the imperative need for reconciliation in the country. But the work of the Commission and the recommendations put forward in this Volume must be set in a wider globalized and globalizing perspective setting.

35. Contemporary Globalization has brought in its wake, as its predecessors had done before it, a wide range of challenges, problems and prospects.

The Commission believes that every nation must work out its own modus vivendi in making choices that will enhance its national image and advance its national interests.

36. It is in the context of the challenges of globalization that, in making our recommendations, we have taken cognizance of the fact that the choices Nigeria makes to strengthen respect for human rights and consolidate the nascent democratic experiment in the country will have an impact on the rest of Africa. Nigeria must be a model for Africa in this respect.

37. Among the first tasks of the Commission, when it began its work, was the identification of the causes and nature of all gross human rights violations in the country. This particular task required paying special attention to all cases of human rights violations committed in the country during the period (15 January 1966 to 29 May 1999) under the Commission’’s purview.

38. After reviewing the petitions, the Commission came to the conclusion that the issue was not a simple or straightforward one as such.
It discovered from the evidence tendered by the representatives of various interest groups and communities that there have been accusations and counter-accusations targeted at particular communities, institutions or groups.

39. But on the whole, it was indisputably clear, from the evidence tendered before the Commission that the citizens of Nigeria generally believe that they have suffered badly in the hands of successive governments in the country, since independence, although this was more pronounced under military rule. However, it is clear that, beyond the accusations and counteraccusations of various ethno-communal, religious and other interest groups, the roots of bad governance in the country, historically and primarily, lie deep in the colonially-inherited structure and character of the post-colonial Nigerian State, and in the manner of its continuing incorporation into the world system.

40. As we shall try to show in the recommendations, justice and the protection of human rights in Nigeria must be anchored on fundamentally redesigned and restructured institutional (constitutional-legal, cultural, political and social) and structural (economic and resource-distributive) frameworks, which will help to forge and create in every Nigerian, a civic sense of belonging to a nation where we can all live with relative peace and security, a nation in which there is enough space for Nigerian citizens to be what God wishes them to become.

41. One of the major facts to emerge from the work of the Commission was that neither the federal government of Nigeria nor the Commission itself as well as the generality of informed Nigerians had an idea of how the work of the Commission would turn out. We have tried, in this Report, to explain the many difficulties that the Commission encountered.

42. However, the Commission felt strongly that there was no way it could answer all of the questions the country needed to address. Yet, the Commission was of the considered view that its greatest strength might lie in its ability to provide Nigerians with the rare opportunity to tell their own stories, even beyond the period covered by the Commission’’s mandate and with the possibility of drawing out some of the unanticipated consequences of a broader interpretation of its mandate.

43. This is why, as we have already indicated in this Volume, members of the Commission believed that, in spite of its limitations, the Commission offered the country one of the best chances of resolving some of the thorniest and seemingly intractable issues in its political and social history.


44. In the Introductory Volume of this Report, we drew attention to the historical context for understanding not only the development of constitutional provisions for human rights but also the violations of those rights in the country. The Introductory Volume also provided a theoretical basis for understanding and appreciating the burden of our colonial legacy and its implications for, and impact on human rights violations in the country.

45. It is clear from the analysis in the Volume that our present predicament is a product of a particular historical conjuncture. It is evident that colonialism by itself constituted a gross violation of the highest order of the human rights of the peoples of Nigeria. But the colonial inheritance can no longer be presented as the only or major reason for that predicament.

Independence provided the opportunity for dissociation from that inheritance and for a new beginning. Unfortunately, the country’s political class trifled with and, therefore, lost that golden opportunity for a national renaissance.

46. A proper understanding of the nature and character of the Nigerian State, as it is presently constituted and structured, and of current political practice in the country, is, therefore, fundamental to resolving the problematic issues of the future promotion and protection of human rights, the national question and democracy and development in the country.

47. In the same Volume, the Commission also gave the background to its establishment and highlighted some of its subsequent travails. Given the fact that this was a road that the country did not tread before the Commission was established, the challenges were enormous. What was even more frustrating was the fact that it became clear that the Federal Government had not made the necessary budgetary provisions for the work of the Commission. This led to a lot of unnecessary delays.

48. The Commission is of the considered view that a work of this nature clearly needs to be insulated from the vagaries and red tape of the bureaucracy. Given that the Government has always been perceived as the accused in human rights violations, it is important that the Commission be seen to be insulated from or independent of the government. If this is seen to be the case, the better are the chances of the Commission being seen to be objective. This is more so in a society where suspicion of governments and their agencies runs high.


49. Volume Two of this Report considered the implications of the challenges posed by contemporary processes of globalization for the promotion and protection of human rights in Nigeria by looking at the International Dimensions and Contexts of Human Rights. Globalization has made it impossible for any nation to try to be an island unto itself even it wished to be so.

50. The Volume examined at considerable length the implications of this internationalization or universalization of the core moral imperatives and values of the evolving international law and practice of human rights for Nigeria’’s municipal law generally and more specifically for its human rights domestic law and practice.

51. It is clear that membership of such sub-regional, regional and universal organizations like the Economic Community of West African States, the African Union (the successor to the Organization of African Unity) and the United Nations, impose on their member-states the obligation not only to subscribe to the common values enunciated in the relevant human rights provisions of treaties, conventions and other international legal instruments to which they have duly acceded by virtue of their membership of such supranational organizations, but also to reflect them in their domestic laws and practice and to implement them as public policy accordingly.

52. In the Volume, we traced the historical and philosophical-(jurisprudential) legal origins of some of the major themes relevant for our work and we concluded that, in the main, the international community remains an important moderating force in guaranteeing the promotion and protection of human rights in the world generally and, particularly, in many developing nations.

53. In Africa in particular, the issues of human rights can no longer be left to the whims and caprices of its political leadership and the state.
For example, it is of great significance that, even in the harsh and dark days of the military regime of the late General Sani Abacha, the regime sought international legitimacy by setting up a National Human Rights Commission, despite its atrocious and abysmal human rights record. This is obviously evidence of what international pressures can do to member states.

54. Because the Commission believed that it did not possess all the wisdom and skill necessary to undertake its work, it commissioned researchers to help it unearth some very important aspects of human rights violations during the period under review, which had either been inadequately covered or neglected by the various petitions received by the Commission.

55. Volume Three of this Report, Research Reports, attempts to capture this neglected aspect of the country’’s history and politics. The Volume summarized the findings of the commissioned researchers by compressing them [the findings] into one volume.
56. The Research Reports underscored the fact that there are aspects of Nigeria’’s public life and public service that we need to take more seriously.

57. For example, given the prejudices and partisanship of both government-owned and privately-owned mass media, what happens when the rights of citizens who do not have access to sympathetic media, are infringed? This was the point or justification of the Commission’’s Public provide such an access to aggrieved citizens and communities who have had no opportunity to present their cases to the Nigerian public.
58. The Commission realized in listening to evidence of witnesses, during the Public Hearings, from various communities, especially in the Niger-Delta and in other parts of Nigeria, that there were many other communities, which had experienced and are still experiencing gross human rights violations and immiseration similar to, or worse than those experienced by the Ogonis.

59. However, the cases of such aggrieved communities never really got national or even international attention, perhaps owing to either their lack of a celebrity of the status of a Ken Saro Wiwa, or their lack of resources as vital as Oil is to the national economy or to the peripheral or politically inconsequential nature of their location in the geopolitical calculations of the ruling elite.


60. We hope that by introducing this dimension of the Commission’’s
work, we have enabled those without a voice to be heard through this outlet provided

by the Commission. In Volume 4, we have looked at the Public Hearings.
61. This is perhaps one of the most significant Volumes in the Report.
Its significance lies in the fact that it is the Volume that almost everyone who followed the proceedings is sufficiently knowledgeable about.

62. Despite the initial logistical problems over whether the Commission
should have Public Hearings, it became clear that, beyond drawing public
attention to the work of the Commission, the Public Hearings were likely to create the most interactive phase of the work of the Commission.

63. For a population that is largely illiterate, the public hearings
provided them the best opportunity to see things with their own eyes. The
effect, by all accounts, was indeed electrifying. The victims unburdened
themselves of the latent agonies they suffered and in some instances
reconciled in the full glare of the public. It was therapeutic.

64. The objective of the Volume is primarily to capture those events, without imposing our own or some other interpretation on the material that had been assembled.


65. Volume Five, titled Reparation, Restitution and Compensation,
examined the philosophical and legal basis for reparation, rehabilitation
and compensation. Each and everyone of these three concepts, by raising
ethico-philosophical issues, is loaded with a largely subjective meaning.
But for the record, it is important to make a fundamental observation, in
order to place the issues and controversies generated by the practical
application of the concepts in proper context.

66. It is important at this juncture to state that when the Federal
Government set up the Commission, it was more concerned with finding
the truth and working towards reconciliation than dealing with the
consequences or the spill-over effects of the work of the Commission.
67. Reparation and Compensation are largely consequences of the
establishment of guilt and responsibility. The Commission’’s Public Hearings were not Victim Hearings, as such. Thus, the issue of Reparation and Compensation became a bit problematic. For example, as we have indicated in the preceding paragraphs, there are ethico-philosophical questions, which we also need to pose.

68. What really constitutes compensation and how do you compute
it? How much can compensation cure and is it such an important component in reconciliation?

How much compensation is enough compensation? Who determines if compensation
meets the standard? Who sets the standards? How do you compensate for Life, Injury
(whether physical, psychological or structural?)? How do you even quantify it?

69. These questions might on the surface sound escapist or abstract,
but they are important if we are to take these concepts with the seriousness they deserve.

70. This Volume is important, even if it is to underscore the fact that
in the final analysis, arbitration to determine, and the knowledge of the
truth, attribution of guilt and admission of guilt are all part and parcel of the compensation that many seek for in, and expect from a Commission of
this nature.

71. During our Public Hearings, almost all petitioners claimed some
form of compensation and/or reparation. What is more, we need to
underscore the fact that no matter how we may try, there can be no adequate compensation for life, but there is consolation when those in power or the perpetrators at least acknowledge
the truth of the loss and sufferings of victims and their families. In Chile for example, the President, Patrcio Azocar Aylwin apologized to Chilean people over the violation of
his people’’s rights. Also Pope John Paul apologized for the excesses of the Catholic
Church during the Crusades. Following this, we recommend that all the Presidents
between 1966 and 1999 should apologize for all the human rights violations that took
place during their tenures. Failing this, the President should apologize on behalf of his
fellow former Heads of State.

72. In making our recommendations, we have not lost sight of these
problems. What is more, we are also not unaware of the fact that bringing
many of the contested issues regarding the loss of loved ones is one major
step in another direction. Indeed, in the final analysis, this must be
considered the beginning of a long road for many of the victims and the

73. As we see from the discussion of Rehabilitation in the Volume, the
Commission has attempted to draw public attention to this much neglected
theme. It is impossible for society to visualize a period when it will rid itself of deviants and criminals.

74. The process of sin, repentance and forgiveness as an endless circle
of human life is not just a philosophical issue. This is why rehabilitation and renewal must be integrated into our national agenda.
75. To this end, our attitudes towards penitents and penitentiaries
must be radically overhauled. It is to be hoped that our society will realize that, as St. Francis of Asisi is quoted as having said, at the sight of every less fortunate person, we must always say, .There goes I but for the grace
of God!. This is what is sometimes referred to as metaphysical guilt, following
Karl Jasper’’s articulation of the concept.

76. Such an attitude or .categorical imperative. will instill in us a sense
of concern for one another’’s welfare and security. This attitude will facilitate both
the process of national reconciliation and ensure the guarantee and protection of
individual and communal rights of citizens.


77. Finally, in making our Recommendations, we have had to fall back
on the relevant sections of the Instrument that set up the Commission, as
a basis for finding the way forward.
78. For us, we see the driving force for the setting up of the Commission
is the search for the truth about our past as the basis for the establishment of a framework for a just, fair and equitable Nigerian society.

79. Drawing from this, we found the relevant sections to be:
i. To find out the root causes of human rights violations in Nigeria
with special emphasis on gross human rights violations c o m m i t t e d
during the period covered by our mandate.

ii. To identify the persons, authorities, institutions or organizations
which may be held accountable and to also determine their motives.
iii. To determine whether the state embarked on these as a state policy
or whether its agents were merely overzealous.

vi. To recommend measures to be taken either against the
institutions or persons identified.

80. To be faithful to our Terms of Reference in making our
recommendations, we are conscious of the fact that certain persons and
institutions would have to be CLEARLY IDENTIFIED AS BEING DIRECTLY OR

81. We are not unaware of the fact that not all the agents and agencies
of State appeared before the Commission. But whether we rely on the
testimony of petitioners, the result of our research or even our personal
reflections as citizens on the Nigerian situation, there are certain conclusions that Nigerians are familiar with.

82. The Commission noted over and over again that it was not on a
witch-hunting mission nor was any one directly or even indirectly on trial,as such.

83. However, in reviewing the material that was submitted to us both
by our researchers and by the petitioners, we have come to the following
conclusions, regarding the agents and institutions responsible for gross
human rights violations in Nigeria.

84. We shall briefly identify them and try to show how certain State
policies have enabled certain institutions and individuals to engage in human rights violations.


85. Volume Six of the Report, entitled Findings and Recommendations,
however, presented the big but exciting challenge of sifting through the
tons of material before us and stating the Commission’’s interpretation of
the data before it.

86. There were many questions that emerged, as the Commission
embarked on the task of analyzing and interpreting the data and the evidence it had gathered in the course of its work.

87. In so doing, the Commission found it necessary to go back to its
Terms of Reference which demanded that it should try to establish not only
what happened but also the nature of the circumstances that made human
rights violations possible in the country.

We thematically summarize the findings as follows:

88 From the evidence before us, we hold that military rule has proved
to be a cure that was worse than the disease. This much was admitted or
conceded by military officers who appeared before the Commission.
89. It is plausible to argue that that in its heydays, military rule was
indeed propelled by patriotism and the need to set Nigeria on a sound footing.

Tragically, we all now know that things have worked differently. Military rule has left, in its wake, a sad legacy of human rights violations, stunted national growth, a corporatist and static state, increased corruption, destroying its own internal cohesion in the
process of governing, and posing the greatest threat to democracy and national integration.

90. Clearly, the military are to be held accountable for gross human rights
violations in the country, during the period under review. This is exemplified by
cases of torture at the Intercentre, DMI headquarters in Lagos and Jos Prison by the
military. All the other prisons in Nigeria failed so far below the standards of the
United Nations that they became torture centres.


91. Oil, one of the greatest blessings God has showered on our nation,
has turned out to be a curse. Instead of providing the basis for national
economic, political, scientific/technological and social growth and
development, cushioning its citizens from the scourge of abject poverty,
squalor and want, oil became, in the hands of the ruling elite and the political class, an instrument sounding the death-knell of such key principles of good governance as democracy, federalism, transparency, accountability and national growth. Oil was the mainstay of the economy and the junta saw any inhibition to its flow as a breach of security.
Consequently, legitimate complaints/agitations against oil pollution by host communities were violently suppressed. We therefore had to pay a heavy prize in lives and human

rights violations.

92. The long years of military rule in the country were due as much to
the greed of the military elite for power as to the collusion of equally greedy members of the country’’s political class. From the testimonies of senior military officers, those allegedly involved in coup plotting and investigations,it was clear that rich and powerful civilians played critical supportive roles to the military in destabilizing the political process and preparing the way
for the military coups that overthrew various civilian and military regimes.

93. Unable to accept defeat, some politicians often turned to their
military contacts as a means to regain access to political power and the
access to the state coffers flowing from it. Given that politics is essentially about capturing power, the business class has often been unable to subordinate its interests to those of the nation. The result is that wealthy and influential Nigerians have used their resources to bankroll coup plotters
We therefore hold that they were accomplices and therefore should be held accountable
for the resultant human rights violations. The politicians should imbibe democratic spirit. This is because the desperation to win at all costs propels them to use the army to
resolve political problems through coups with resultant violation of human rights.


94. If democracy is to take firm roots in Nigeria, then the various
segments of the stakeholders in the polity must realize that, no matter the nature of their interests, such interests can only be attained within the boundaries of a democratic and stable nation.

95. This means that politicians must learn to accept the rules of the
game. Those who win elections must realize that they have not won a price for themselves and their party, but that they have won a national trust. Those who lose elections must realize that it is easier to go back to the drawing board and wait for the political calendar to turn around than to
resort to the military solution, which has no timetable, as such.

96. One of the missing links in Nigerian politics has been in determining
and reaching a consensus on the exact role and place of religion in the
political process. The country has remained in the firm grip of so-called
believers of the two Abrahamic religions: Islam and Christianity.
97. Sadly enough, both Islam and Christianity have never really been
able to rise above the limitations of their intra- and inter- denominational and sectarian cleavages. The result is that the country is now caught up in what has come to be known as the problem of religion in Nigeria. Religious intolerance has been the main cause of communal clashes with attendant loss of lives and gross human rights violations.

98. The role of religion in politics is, therefore, largely seen in negative terms. Although we did not receive particular petitions from either Christians or Muslims as religious groups, there were submissions from various sections of the society that alleged religious discrimination, while also complaining of being under the stranglehold of religiously-inclined hegemonic groups. This much was clear in the submission by the Hausa Christian community in Northern Nigeria.

99. However, the religious bodies ought to have done much more than
they did in the struggle against human rights violations, especially during the dark days of the late Abacha regime. On the whole, the politicization of religion has undermined religion.

100. A new responsibility has now devolved on both the leadership of
Christianity and Islam to respond appropriately to the challenges of nation building and to help in laying a solid foundation for a Nigeria that promotes and respects human rights under the rule of law.


101. It is evident that under military rule, the security and survival of
the Head of State and of his regime at all cost became an obsession. Regime security was equated to national security. Power became so personalized that the state became synonymous with the government of the day and its leader. Regime security became an excuse for the excesses of state security agencies, leading to various gross human rights violations.

102. As we found out during the public sittings, security agencies tended
to resort to extra-judicial methods of extracting information from suspects.

Most of these agents and operatives were guilty of the torture, and sometimes even the
murder of innocent suspects.

103. We received petitions of the alleged deaths of many suspects in
police custody. By and large, these deaths were sometimes the result of
excessive torture by overzealous individual security agents. Nonetheless, it is clear that these tendencies are inevitable in a military environment, where violence is largely glorified and or, celebrated, and where due process is thrown overboard.

104. As was noted in Volume Five, our findings have led us to the
conclusion that security agencies will require a fundamental restructuring,so as to re-orient them to respect due process and the human rights of Nigerians, including those of suspected individuals under interrogation or investigation.


105. One of the very obvious fallouts of military rule has been its impact
on individual, family, communal and national identities. Dictatorships
function through a strategy of divide-and-rule.

106. Thus, the emergence of ethno-religious cleavages and the
subsequent hardening of these identities led to the persistence of violence,well beyond the life of the dictatorship. This climate is often ripe for treachery within many opposition groups, as government tends to co-opt willing members of these groups into its service.

107. The courts form the citizen’’s last line of defence in his unequal
combat with power and its abuse. The military, by suspending the
fundamental rights provision of the Constitution and by its various decrees containing ouster clauses emasculate the courts and turn them into toothless bulldogs.

During military dictatorship, the court found it difficult to perform their necessary function of upholding the fundamental human rights of the citizen.

108. Executive lawlessness and disregard for the rule of law became
the order of the day. Although in theory, Nigerians are said to be equal
before the law, in reality, this was not so. There were two laws: one for the ordinary Nigerian and the other for those in power. Those in power were perceived to be above the law. Impunity and abuse of power created
conducive climate for human rights violations, as security officers operated
well outside the boundaries of their powers.


109 We observed during our public hearings that some State Counsel
in the Ministries of Justice, when asked by the Police for legal advice, turned themselves into judge and jury and .decided. cases submitted for advice. This attitude may be as a result of ignorance. But we regret to say that in most cases, it looked like a deliberate attempt to protect perpetrators. We refer to the cases of Dr. Eneweri from Bayelsa State, and some cases from Kaduna, Kano and Plateau States.

110 We recommend that the Federal Ministry of Justice should try to
educate Nigerians on the nature of the country’’s international obligations,as we have noted in Volume Two of this Report.

111 The knowledge of these obligations will assist government
functionaries and the generality of our people in knowing what our
international and domestic obligations are with respect to human rights
issues that have been settled internationally. In this respect, the African Charter of Human and People’’s Rights should be popularized in the country
through seminars, workshops and publications.


112 In Nigeria, the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation is
usually fused with that of Minister/commissioners for justice. In England
and America, the two offices are separated for very good reasons. We will
recommend that what obtains in those developed countries be made to
apply to Nigeria. We therefore recommend a separation of the two offices,
so that the Attorney-General becomes, as his name implies, the Chief Law
Officer of the Federation or the State bound by the Unwritten laws of the
Legal Profession. The Office of Minister/Commissioners for Justice should
be a political office. When the two offices are separated, it will make far easier and more impartial discharge of the duties of the two offices.

113. Nigerians agree that corruption in public life, which was pronounced
under military rule, has reached alarmingly pandemic proportions, and
should now be a matter of very serious and pressing public policy concern.
114. From the evidence, which the Commission received, it is clear that
the quest for political power personal enrichment was largely the driving
force for military interventions in politics. The military tended to treat the state as a conquered territory and proceeded to treat the proceeds of state as spoils of war to be shared among the members of the military, the
conquering forces of occupation.


1. It is our contention and conclusion that the state in Nigeria has
failed its citizens. This much was clear from both the petitioners and their petitions. It is clear to us that the colonial nature of our historical experience is to a large extent responsible for the incapacity of the state to live up to its duties to its citizens.

2. It is easy to argue that colonialism was not peculiar to Nigeria
and that indeed, many other nations, which had their own colonial
experiences, have since moved on. However, Nigeria’’s peculiar regional,
religious and cultural history sets it apart from other nations. But this isnot an excuse.

3. It is clear now that the decision of the colonial administration to
merge both the Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914 was informed
by reasons of British economic interests and not those of Nigeria. The legacy of dual administration and separateness, bequeathed by amalgamation, has become an albatross, casting a pall of mutual distrust, recrimination and antagonisms over the country’’s
experiment in nation-building.

4. For example, the regional arrangements, which were introduced
gradually through constitutional changes between 1945 and 1954 created
more problems than they were designed to solve. They deepened the
centrifugal tendencies, which amalgamation had set in motion and which
were encouraged by colonial administrators.

5. What is more, the long period of preparation, during which
regions became gradually self-governing, did not facilitate the process of
integration after independence, especially in relation to national economic development and minority ethnic groups. demand for self-government.

6. The impression had been created that all three regions would
function independently, each protecting its turf and with little emphasis on inter-governmental cooperation among the regions and between them and
the federal government, in what has been described as a classic case of
dual and coordinate federalism.

7. Thus, at independence, it was evident that the three regions
had progressed differently, in such major areas as education, health, social infrastructures and economic development, generally.

8. The result has been that post independence politics threw up
challenges that ought to have been thrashed out much earlier. This largely
explains why political parties were formed along ethno-regional and,
sometimes, religious lines.

9. Our constitutional and political history is replete with many
inherent contradictions, which show very clearly that there were
discrepancies between what the colonial government sought and what
Nigerians themselves wanted. Having inherited this skewed arrangement,
our political class is responsible for not quickly addressing these visible discrepancies.

10. The result is that we have continued to tinker with the inherited
system. Unfortunately, our national history has followed the logic of postcolonial states in many respects. The inheritance elites in many post-colonial states have tended to see their roles as being merely inheritors of the apparatus of power from the departing colonial
masters. This is why we
ended up with a situation whereby local elites took up residences in what is
still referred to even today as European Quarters, Government Reservation Areas etc.

These were some of the privileges that set them apart from the rest of their societies.
11. The project of broadening the political space was delayed mainly
because the new local elites were preoccupied with defending their local
spheres of power and influence.

12. Let us take the character and nature of the Nigerian state in
three areas, to illustrate the argument advanced here.


13. We noted, while examining the texture of Nigerian history, that
not much effort was made in the first years of independence to form broad
based political parties. The fact that parties were largely formed along regional and ethnic lines bears witness to this observation.

14. There were four main parties that dominated the landscape in
immediate pre- and post- independent Nigeria. These were the Northern
Peoples. Congress (NPC), with a base mainly in the North, the Action Group (AG), with its
base in the South West, while the East was dominated by the National Council of Nigeria
and the Cameroons, later re-named the National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC).

15. The NCNC was by and large the most broadly based party that
had substantial presence beyond its catchment political base in the east.
16. There was also the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU),
which was based on a radical populist ideology, drawing the core of its
membership and electoral support from the radical, anti feudal elements in
the North, and with hardly any presence outside the Northern region.
17. What is evident is that these political parties combined and
manipulated regionalism, ethnicity and religion as a resource in competitive electoral politics.

18. But what is also evident from the structure of electoral politics
in the immediate post-independence years is the emergence of the state as the prized terrain over which the major ethnic groups staked out their
hegemonic claims for political power. Control of the state by an ethnic group or combination
of ethnic groups, under a zero-sum approach to electoral politics, was to the exclusion of other ethnic groups. In this way, electoral politics became a matter of life-and-death affair with its resultant effect on human rights.


19. The Minorities. Commission Report was testimony to the reluctance
of the leadership of the majority ethnic groups in the three regions to accede to state-creation demands from minority ethnic groups in their respective regions. We have elaborated at some length on the politics of state creation in the penultimate years of colonial rule in Chapter 3
of Volume 1 of this Report.

20. Even when concessions were grudgingly made in some of the
regions to demands of minority ethnic groups for representation in
institutions of governance, it was with a view to ridding certain ethnic blocks of members of other ethnic groups.

21. With independence in 1960, it did not take a long time for the
system to begin to overheat, as the agitations for home rule in their own
sub-regional heartlands by the various minority ethnic groups in each of
the three regions, persisted.

22. Since the expansion of the political space was a project that the
political class among the three major ethnic groups was largely averse to, it was left to the military to start and accelerate the project of state and local government creation. But, as events since the military took the initiative in this respect have shown, state creation has been beset with serious problems.

23. We are saddened that the successive fractions of the country’’s
minority ethnic group-based political class have tended to use less noble
objectives as a basis for championing the creation of new states and local
government councils in the country, under military rule.

24. While state creation was designed initially to go into the heart of
the country’’s ethnic minority problems, it appears that, much later, it became an instrument for pacifying or compensating political brokers or clients, through the creation of ethnic fiefdoms. The result, as we can see, is that state and local government council creation has tended to generate tension and crisis in its wake. What is evident is that these faulty starts, rather than hasten national integration, have only increased the pressures and resentments among the various minority ethnic and sub-ethnic groups whose demands for self-determination and self-rule were not satisfied, leading to acrimony and accusations against the state and its functionaries
25. The Commission discovered that the roots of many of the ethnic or
communal crises are to be located in this crisis of confidence and the sense of exclusion on the
part of minority ethnic and sub-ethnic groups, generated by the partisan and unfair manner in which state creation exercises were perceived to have been carried out.'

26. In many cases, the state seemed to have had very good intentions
in responding to the problems of inter-communal relations, but these were
often diluted by the voices of men and women of influence, political
entrepreneurs who deliberately misled government, regarding the
composition of the various communities in the country. The result is that
every time the state tried to liberate certain communities from their so-called enemies, it tended to create more problems for the project of nation-building in the country.

27. Given the interminable and seemingly intractable crises generated
by geopolitical rearrangements of the states and local government councils, it is evident that the
problems will persist because government is essentially trying to cure the symptoms, and not the disease.

28. The real disease is the general perception of injustice of the state, its lack of concern for the welfare of its citizens and the high handedness of government agents, which all give the impression that the state is partial to some ethnic groups, and is indeed an active protagonist in inter-ethnic or intra-ethnic conflict on the side of some ethnic groups.

29. The result is that many citizens have come to rely on this process of
tinkering with the state as a means of creating a feeling of belonging. To the\ extent that this process has created so much pain, suffering and death, as we have seen in some states in Nigeria, the state is solely responsible for the sad and ugly developments that have often led to death during state creation exercises and the inter-communal violence that followed them.

30. For example, the government of General Sani Abacha must assume
full responsibility for the tragedies that attended the creation of new local government councils in places like Osun and Delta States.
31. There is need for us to turn our attention to the specific nature
and character of the state in Nigeria that has generally turned state creation exercises into opportunities for some to engage in gross violations of the human rights of their fellow citizens.


‘‘32. The data and evidence, which the Commission gathered, very
indisputably show that the military is primarily responsible for the
persistence of human rights violations in the country. Military rule marked the rapid descent of the country into anarchy and destruction. It created conducive environment for gross violations of human rights, in three respects.

33. First, military rule violated the human rights of Nigerians to live
under constitutional or limited government. Secondly, military rule
militarized the country, creating in the process a climate of militarized fear.
In fear, citizens were forced to retreat behind the security provided by ethno-communal and religious barriers. This militarized fear has taken its toll on the psyche of ordinary
citizens in another respect: the language of the military has permeated our institutions and cultural life, through expressions that imitate military command.

34. Thirdly, the military turned their instruments of coercion on
ordinary citizens. This was done by means of military personnel acting as
enforcers for men and women of influence and power, who wish to settle
personal matters and disputes arising from civil pursuits like land, rent
and debts.

35. Ordinary citizens also fell back on their connections with military
personnel to assert their authority and power over their fellow citizens.
36. Indeed, as military men took over law enforcement, they
occasionally spun out of control in the application of their tools of violence.

The evidence that was tabled before the Commission by various communities especially in such areas as the Niger-Delta lent weight to this position. There were many instances in
which military men went out on a frolic of their own. There were also many instances in which military personnel alone or in groups used their arms to intimidate citizens.

Sometimes there were reports of pillage, rape and destruction of property. More often than not, these knee-jerk reactions by the military could be sparked off by such incidents as a motor accident around a military establishment or a quarrel.

37. In short, military rule disrupted almost every facet of our national
life in a vicious cycle of violence, which expressed itself in various dimensions: in domestic violence, in armed robberies, in the rise in the spiral of ethno-communal and religious riots and in brigandage, impunity and lawlessness. Indeed, since 1966, the country has known no reprieve from the various spates of violence, which were precipitated by the contradictions
of military rule.

38. In another sense, military rule was a fundamental violation of the
Nigerian Constitution, which, by suspending relevant sections of the
Constitution, replaced constitutional rule with rule by decree.
39. Military decrees, like the infamous Decree No. 2, were sometimes
characterized by ouster clauses, which limited the courts. ability to entertain certain cases.

In this way, the rule of law, the underlying basis for justice and democratic rule was replaced by the rule of force.

40. The pernicious impact of decrees on the promotion and protection
of human rights cannot be over-emphasized and has been discussed at
length in the preceding volumes, especially Volume 2, of this report. We
only need to underscore here the fact that human rights were invariably
the first casualty of military rule. Not only does military rule, by definition,truncate the human rights of Nigerians to constitutional government underliberal democracy, as enshrined in the constitution, it also disempowers citizens, in cases where ouster clauses are involved, by denying them of access to courts to enforce their rights.

41. It is clear from the evidence before us that the State usually refuses
to obey judgment of competent courts to the detriment of the citizens. Rights as a creditor in breach of Section 287 of the 1999 Constitution.
42. The Commission has identified the implementation of certain public
policies, like the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), by military regimes as being contributory to the violations of human rights. The reactions of Nigerians to SAP led to what came to be known in Nigeria as the SAP riots. These demonstrations took place within and outside university campuses and some students and workers lost their lives
in the process.

43. Under the government of General Muhammad Buhari for example,
we hold both himself and the Director-General of the National Security
Organization (NSO) accountable for the various violations of the rights of
several Nigerians notably Alhaji Rafindadi, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Chief
Solomon Lar, Shaahu and us, who were detained without trial in the
various detain Centre. In addition, there is an evidence from Alhaji Dikko
that he was .crated. by this regime for onward transmission to Nigeria.

44. We also hold both General Muhammed Buhari and the members
of the Supreme Military Ruling Council, along with the Attorney General
responsible for the death of Mr. Kenneth Owoh and three others over
allegations of drug involvement. This is so because the Commission found
out that their trial offended both the rule of law and the African Charter of
Peoples. Rights.

45. The case of Dele Giwa has been dealt with exhaustively in Volume
Four and we restate that the case be re-opened for thorough investigation
and possible prosecution.

46. We strongly recommend that the Federal Government reopen the
case of the death of General Shehu Yar. adua, a prominent Nigerian and
one time Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, died in prison custody in
mysterious circumstance. The Commission received a petition about his

47. With respect to the death of Chief Moshood Abiola, we hold that,
on the basis of the testimony of General Abdusalami.s Chief Security Officer, there are still more questions than answers. It is, therefore, important for the state to reopen this case along with that of the late General Sani Abacha, in order to lay some misconceptions to rest.

48. We cannot wish these cases away. Nor can we sweep them under
the carpet. What is more, there is need to create a conducive atmosphere to enable anyone who might have some relevant information regarding these ugly events to come forward with such information. It will be important for the government to guarantee such citizens enough protection.

49. Unless the cloud over these mysterious deaths of important public
figures is cleared, the truth will elude us, making the process of national
reconciliation the more difficult and tortuous.


50. From the data and evidence gathered by our field researchers and
from submissions we received from the public, Nigerians see the Police not as a friend but as offenders and agents of human rights violations in the country.

51. As the section in the volume of the report dealing with the security
agencies has illustrated, there is little doubt that the police has suffered the most in negative public perception of its role in society.

52. Since the first contact that citizens generally have with the agencies
of government regarding security is with the police, it is evident that the hostility of citizens towards the Nigeria Police has been based on the
unwholesome experiences of ordinary citizens with the Police Force. There
are many allegations that are popular among Nigerians against the police.
53. The import of this negative perception is the fundamental belief
among Nigerians that members of the Nigeria Police constitute the most
corrupt stratum of the security agencies. Although the scale of their
corruption pales into insignificance when compared to their military
counterparts, it is evident that since their victims are largely the ordinary citizens, the proverbial common man/woman, who constitute the majority of the Nigerian population, their negative impact is therefore considerable and profoundly felt. The implications of their corruption and the strategies for managing that corruption are myriad.

54. They are the ones that Nigerians seeking justice through the courts
have to go through. Here, they are considered the principal means of
obstructing justice. They do this through bribe taking, intimidation,
harassment and outright violence. In a majority of the petitions that came
before us involving assassinations, murders, disappearances, etc, the police were presented as accomplices and seen as part of the conspiracy against justice and the protection of human rights.

55. Like their military counterparts and even more so, the Nigeria Police
has been used to further the excesses of the rich and powerful. They have
been willing agents in the hands of those who have power, from the rich
and sometimes dubious businessmen, drug barons, and the top strata of
the power elite.

56. It is clear from the petitions, which we received, that the police
have often been a vital link in the chain of conspiracy against justice in
many parts of the country. From the evidence we received, police complicity is manifested in the following ways:

57. First, there were cases of victims of human rights violations in the
hands of the police often ending up as the accused. Secondly, there were
reports of the policemen and policewomen sometimes destroying evidence, losing it outright, or distorting it against the petitioner. The objective in such cases is to instill fear and deny the victims the chance to follow up their case against the police. Thirdly, we had cases of people who died in doubtful circumstances in police custody, or physically abused and injured, or victims of intimidation, unable to get justice because the police was clever in protecting some of its officers involved in such gross human rights violations. Fourthly, we discovered that the Nigeria Police was good in making police officers who were alleged to be perpetrators disappear from the area by way of very quick transfers.

Thus, if a police man/woman infringed the rights of a citizen in
Port Harcourt and was being sought out, such an officer would be transferred to a place as remote as Potiskum, Jalingo, or Katsina or some little corner of the country. Fifthly, we also discovered that in many instances, when the Governor of a State, a person of influence, a retired senior security personnel has interest in a case, it was not difficult for the police to hatch out a plan with the Office of the Attorney-General or the Director of Public Prosecutions to frustrate the case of the victim. We found some concrete examples with the Nigeria Police in Bayelsa State, Kaduna State, and Kano State, among others.

58. There are as many stories as there are victims of human rights
violations. We are aware of the fact that the inability of the police force to play its role is connected with the overbearing attitude of the military. With the capacity of the police to bear arms less visible and less threatening,soldiers never trusted the police with the ability to contain civil unrest.

59. It is evident though that the corruption within the Nigeria Police is
a product of the misapplication of funds and the attendant corruption, which has dogged
Nigeria. The Nigeria Police is starved of funds. Living under unbearable social conditions,
policemen and policewomen have had to fall back on innocent victims for .family support,.

as a means of making up for their economic shortfall. This is why Nigerian policemen and women
rationalize their bribe taking as necessary for their .family support!.
60. So, like the military, the Nigeria Police stands accused as a
perpetrator of human rights violations. Although we are aware of the fact
that there are many innocent and hard working policemen and policewomen in its fold, the Nigeria Police knows that it suffers a very serious image problem in the country.
61. Finally, we are of the view that the following factors have created a
favourable climate for human rights violations by the police to occur:
- Poor service conditions:

- Lack of working tools
- Poor training
- Low morale under the military
- Lack of trust by the citizens.
- Lack of internal discipline.
- Lack of control and monitoring of weapons among the policemen and
62. The government would do well to look closely on the
recommendations we have made about the Police in this Report.
63. The evidence before the Commission makes it clear that security
agencies were identified as major agents of human rights violations. One of the strategies that the Commission employed to elicit information in this
regard was the call for memoranda from civil society groups and the security agencies,
among others.

63. In their various submissions, civil society groups, especially the
Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Prison Rehabilitation And Welfare Agency (PRAWA)
and the Constitutional Rights Project (CRP) all presented detailed account of the experiences
of both their members and many other members of the Nigerian society in the hands of security agencies. We received so many petitions from many victims complaining of arbitrary
arrest, detention, passport seizure against the Directortae of State Security Services.
For example, Chief Frank Kokori, Femi Falana and Mr. Fidelis Aidelomon and many others.

65. From the evidence we gathered during public hearings and in
various documentations submitted to us, there were allegations of torture
during detention. Inhuman and unsanitary conditions of living and starvation or very poor feeding during detention were identified as some of the strategies employed by state security operatives.

This much was graphically underscored by the testimonies of Olisa Agbakoba (SAN),
Abdul Oroh, Professor Jide Osuntokun, Professor Femi Odekunle, Chris Anyanwu,
Shehu Sani and Gani Fawehinmi, among others.
66. In the case of the Directorate for State Security Services (SSS), the
nature of the organisation itself made it difficult for victims to name names.

More often than not, victims only came in contact with those who arrest or
detain them and not with those who ordered the arrests or detention. As
such, the common expression we found among members of the Agencies
whom we summoned to appear was simply that they were obeying orders
from above.

67. We also discovered, from the evidence gathered through research
and petitions, that the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) was
mentioned as a gross violator of human rights.

68. We visited the DMI detention cell at Apapa where civilian suspects
who had nothing to do directly with the military were detained and tortured.

69. We also had evidence to the effect that told by petitioners that the
Directorate had indeed become a place where both military and other men
and women of influence outside the military tended to send those with
whom they had a grouse to be detained at will. This was largely borne out of the
favourable climate, which the military had created that enabled men of influence
to use their connection with senior military personnel to settle

70. The case of Chuma Nzeribe exemplifies this situation most
eloquently. The petitioner had come to the Commission to state the case of
his alleged detention in a military facility, the DMI. The case ended up
dragging on for some two weeks and became a celebrated case that exposed the underbelly
of both the military as an institution and the Directorate as a tool in the hands of men of
influence. Mr. Nzeribe’s detention came at the time when the military was faced with a s
pate of bomb blasts across the country.

71. We also found that many civilians had been detained for very long
periods of time as a result of these bomb blasts, which occurred mainly
between 1996-7.

72. The Government of the late General Sani Abacha is singularly
accountable for the human rights violations during this period.
73. One of the instances in which violations of the rights of many
citizens occurred was during allegations of coups. Nigerians know already
the hundreds of lives that the country has lost as a result of allegations of
the involvement of military personnel and civilians in these alleged coup

74. The coup plots of 1995 and 1997 were cited by petitioners as those
periods in which their rights were grossly violated during the periods of
detentions and trials. From the testimonies we received, the following wereb named as perpetrators of gross violations of the rights of citizens, under
military rule: Col Frank Omenka, General Patrick Aziza, General Mujakpero,
Col John Olu, ACP Zakari Biu, Major Hamza Al-Mustafa, Brigadier-General
Ibrahim Sabo. Many of these officers have already retired or have been retired from the armed forces. Others like Colonel Frank Omenka, who was copiously mentioned in many petitions, had already fled the country. The Commission recommends that those
of them not yet retired or relieved of their jobs should be so retired forthwith.

75. From the evidence before us, the Commission is of the opinion
that there is an urgent need to seriously overhaul most of the security
agencies and also re-orientate their staff towards imbibing and respecting
the human rights of Nigerians the values of democracy.

76. The issue of the processes employed during military court
martial raised many doubts in our minds, regarding due process. The
proceedings of court martial fell far short of the Rule of Law and the
African Charter, which is now part of our domestic law (see Sani Abacha vs Fawehinmi
(2000) 6 NWR Part 660 at page 228. The process used in the court-martial fell far
short of the requirements of the Rule of Law and the African Charter which is
now part of our domestic law.

77. We received over 600 memoranda from civil servants alleging that
the federal government and state governments had violated their right to
work. From the private sector, we also received memoranda from employees, alleging violations of human rights through what the petitioners described as .wrongful dismissals.

and termination of employment, without due process.
78. Upon investigation, we discovered that the issue of the dismissals
and termination of employment in the federal public service was in response to a circular, which the Secretary to the Government of the Federation had issued to all heads of ministries and parastatals, requiring them, among other things, to reduce their staff strength, across the board, by a stipulated percentage.

79. When we took the matter up with the federal government, we were
informed that the Government had set up a committee to examine the cases. On the basis of this information, all the mentioned cases were passed on to the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation for further action.

80. We found from the content and tone of the petitions that concern
was expressed about religious, ethnic, gender and regional biases in
government appointments, promotions and retrenchment.

81. For example, there were allegations to the effect that certain senior
officials tend to effect changes in their ministries along ethnic or religious lines.

82. While some of the allegations are frivolous, others are heavy and
deserve to be taken seriously. On the whole, we hold that these allegations
are disturbing and it is hoped that the setting up of the Federal Character Commission will deal with this issue.

83. Allegations of corruption, inefficiency and ineptitude against the
public services of the federation and the states persist. In fact, there are many who believe that the public services in the country constitute the
greatest obstacle to efficiency and proficiency in the execution of government
policies at the state and federal levels.
84. We recommend that the federal and state governments effect some
very fundamental changes to enable the civil service become responsive to the
challenges of democratization.


1. The first task of the Commission was to clarify the petition it received. We identify those that amounted to gross human rights violations. The Commission thereafter decided to conduct public hearings only in respect of the cases alleging gross human rights violation.
2. The adoption of the public hearings method was meant to serve two purposes. First, for the victims, the need to get the story out was very important. For many people, this was the beginning of the healing process. There was also the secondary advantage to the petitioners, many of whom were sufficiently delighted that the rest of world had heard their stories.

3. Secondly, there was the need for the society itself to know what had gone wrong, beyond the public purview. Therefore, for many citizens, the public hearings meant a chance to heave a sigh of relief and to say: now we know!

4. The military had operated under a cloud of secrecy in many respects. What is more, except for some celebrated individuals who were prominent in society, the majority of victims who were not so well known languished in jails and detention centers without any mention by the media. They lived under very harsh and inhuman conditions. The public hearings gave them and the society a chance to hear their stories.

5. The Commission helped Nigerians through public hearings to get an idea of how their country had been run. The Commission was able to bring many of the perpetrators and victims to confront one another. This was a development that was very emotional for individuals, their communities and the nation at large.

6. We recall the developments among the Ogoni people in Port Harcourt, Rivers State where the Ogoni Four and Ogoni Nine were reconciled and reintegrated into the Ogoni Thirteen and comparative peace was brought into into Ogoni land. It is against this background that the Commission wishes to call on Nigerians to remain steadfast and firm
on the road to national integration.

7. The aim of the Commission was not to reconcile all Nigerians within the period of its sittings or its life. No one can be under any illusion that this project will be realized in the immediate future. The life of a nation is not the same as the life of an individual. We therefore call on Nigerians to be patient, whatever the difficulties and the challenges. The end of military rule, hopefully, should be the end of impunity. Under democratic rule, things may be chaotic and messy, but the system will correct itself, because we shall, in the long run, learn from our mistakes and improve on our efforts.

8. We have under our mandate to make recommendations .to redress injuries of the past and prevent or forestall future violations of human rights. i.e. to say what happened in the past should never happen again. To ensure that this does not happen again is the responsibility of every Nigerian. Our recommendations below constitute some of then strategies to ensure that what happened in the past will not happen again.

9. The Commission is not unaware that this project is merely the beginning of a very long process. This is because there is no way that any society can claim to lay down a foolproof system to ensure that these violations do not happen again. A society can only try to devise protection mechanisms and also hope that its citizens take the protection of their rights as part of their lives.

10. Many Nigerians were already complaining while the public sittings were going on that the Commission had failed to reconcile Nigerians. We are of the view that the primary aim of the Commission has been very much fulfilled.

11. We are aware that our Recommendations cannot be conclusive or even exhaustive. We believe that they will merely offer a take off point. We therefore call on the Federal Government to address some of these Recommendations with dispatch.

12. In many respects, the Commission more than anything else in the country, has offered Nigerians an opportunity to open up their minds over a range of issues that went beyond politics. It is therefore with this sense of responsibility that we are making the following Recommendations:


13. Nigerians have said it loud and clear that they are not happy with the state of the federation. Their fears, anxieties and frustrations are legitimate. The political class must not panic every time citizens question the basis of the federation. We do not believe that the cries of marginalization are evidence that Nigerians want their country to be broken into ethnic or regional kingdoms.

14. Indeed, from the inter- and intra-ethnic crises across the nation, we know that no single ethnic, regional or religious unit can lay claim to any form of homogeneity. We are aware of the fact that in the last twenty or so years, the country was subjected to gross injustice, misrule and brigandage by its rulers.

15. There is need for Nigerians to talk through the problems thrown up by their recent experience. Unlike the South Africans who had four years of negotiation before their transition ended, Nigerians had a rushed transition. We cannot undo the past, but we can at least correct the present, so that we can build a secure future for generations yet unborn.
16. We believe that there is need for Nigerians to have platforms from which to articulate their fears and grievances, beyond the present political party arrangements. These platforms need not be primarily national.

17. The discussions can start from the wards and local government councils to the states and then finally to the national level. There is need for a shopping list of issues, which Nigerians should be free to discuss. Their discussion could be summarized and finally tabled before the state assemblies, before they are forwarded to the National Assembly.
18. Since the idea of a Sovereign National Conference has become so chaotic and lacking in clarity, we believe that our alternative suggestion of a bottom-up, broad-based series of national seminars or palavers on our country’s future political and constitutional structure, would not disrupt the current one.

19. Items to be discussed at the proposed palavers might include the following: Human Rights issues, Basis for Representation; Resource Generation; Infrastructure; Taxation; Participatory democracy; Identity (religion, ethnic, communal); Constitutional Rights; Policing; Crime Prevention etc).

20. We recommend a teasing out of the results of the Commission’s work, including some of the discussions suggested above and making them part and parcel of the curricula in schools. We also recommend an urgent return to civic/moral education from Nursery to Primary, Secondary School and Tertiary levels anchored on the principle of oneness and indivisibility of Nigeria.

21. Beyond the recitation of the National Pledge and the National Anthem, there is an urgent need for Nigerians to come to grip with the dynamics of their history, emphasising...

22. It was clear to us that respect for Human Rights is very much a new concept in recent African political and social discourse. We have noted that many of the hierarchy of the security agencies did not see any thing wrong in the application of torture and kindred inhuman tactics to extract information during interrogation. We also noted that even for many victims, the idea of what constituted human rights violations was not very clear.

We therefore recommend that human rights education become fully integrated into the curricula of the military, police and other security personnel in the country. The Law Faculties in our Universities should set up Departments for the inter-disciplinary study of Human Rights Law as a matter of urgency. It is our view that as more and more of our citizens become aware of their rights, the issue of violations will be minimized greatly. The fatherhood of God necessarily implies the brotherhood of all Nigerians. We as a sovereign nation under God, are resolved, .to live in unity and harmony as one, indivisible and indissoluble sovereign nation under God..


23. We recommend that the federal government and the state governments place a moratorium on the further creation of more states and more local governments . It has become clear that states creation is far from being the answer to claims of marginalization. In fact, such exercises create more problems than they are designed to solve.

24. Many of the newly created states so far rely on Federal Government subvention and so progress development has not really been made, which the creation of states was intended to achieve has been frustrated.
25. We also recommend that state governments become more careful in creating more chiefdoms and districts as an alternative to concrete development programmes. It is important that the government realize that the fragmentation of identities could easily undermine the project of national integration.


26. The memoranda from the various communities in the Niger-Delta dwelt substantially on what has come to be known as resource control. While we commend the Federal Government for the progress that has been made by the creation of the Niger-Delta Development Commission (NDDC), we believe more can be done. For now, the Commission should be closely monitored in terms of project conception and execution, with the local communities playing a central role in the execution and evaluation of the projects.


27. Although the implicit and explicit prohibition of unconstitutional take-over of government in various Nigerian constitutions has never been respected, we recommend that from May 29, 1999, anyone who stages a coup in the country must be brought to trial, no matter for how long they had ruled and regardless of any decrees they had passed to shield themselves from future prosecution. We further recommend that thenceforth, the country must be governed by the constitution and in accordance with its provisions. No one who overthrows a government should expect to get away with it, no matter for how long they govern unconstitutionally.
28. We recommend a programme of civic and human rights education in the military formations across the country.

29. We also recommend that the military review its methods of internal discipline, especially in relation to detentions in the guardrooms, court martial and other methods of justice that violate human rights. Proceedings in guardrooms and court-martial should conform with the African Charter, especially relating to torture.

30. We recommend an overhaul of the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI), with its powers and functions limited strictly to military intelligence gathering.

31. We recommend an urgent return to professionalism while encouraging the authorities to act decisively to sanction the display of any form of religious, ethnic or sectarian sympathies in the exercise of official duties in the armed forces. Every member of the armed forces must, at least, undergo some form of training and re-ra-training. Training and re-training as an on-going process should be more vigorously be pursued.
32. The attention of the Chaplaincies of the military and those of the Directorate of Military Intelligence must be drawn to the creeping fragmentation of the Barracks, along religious lines by the intrusion of fanatics.


33. We recommend the immediate restoration of a climate that guarantees academic freedom in our universities. There is need for proper fundings of the universities to enable them pursue Research and Development.

34. We recommend that urgent steps be taken immediately to restore the Nigeria Police to its lost, dignified place in our society.
35. As a matter of urgency, we recommend an immediate restoration and boosting of morale in the Nigeria Police. This should be done through proper funding and a programme of rehabilitation of their collapsed infrastructure.

36. We therefore recommend the following as a matter of urgency:
* Acquisition of the kits and tools required for modern day policing.
* Salaries and allowances should be paid as and when due.
* An improved barracks accommodation for serving police men and women.
* The need for change of uniforms at least every two years.
* Training and retraining to enhance professionalism.
* A comprehensive programme of education on the basic tenets of the law, civic education and human rights.

* Minimum entry qualification of secondary school education
* A review of the disciplinary measures, such as orderly room procedure to ensure that the trials conform to human rights norms.


37. On the Judiciary, we recommend the immediate release of the findings and implementation of the Report of the 1997 Kayode Eso Panel of Enquiry on the Judiciary.


38. We recommend that the Federal Ministry of Justice and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) take very seriously the publication of readable summaries of citizenship rights and obligations in the country. The idea is to provide Nigerians with a guidebook on their citizenship rights and obligations.

39. We commend the Federal Government and a number of State Governments for setting up a Ministry for Women Affairs. It is the view of the Commission that this Ministry should be properly equipped to take on the major difficulties, which women encounter in Nigeria only. There is need for concrete legal codes to shelter women from the daily harassment and discrimination that they constantly suffer in Nigeria.

40. With regards to the allegations of murders, assassinations and disappearances, we recommend that the Office of the Inspector- General of Police be made to act on the cases that the Commission forwarded to it for further investigation.

41. However, in the cases of Chief Moshood Abiola, Chief Alfred Rewane, Bagauda Kaltho, Dele Giwa, such as Baguda Kaltho and the others and others, we recommend as follows:

i. With respect to the cases of Chief Rewane, Kudirat Abiola and other cases the Commission passed the relevant files to the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation for further action. The Attorney-General of the Federation then forwarded the files to the High Court in Lagos, where the cases are being prosecuted.

ii. As for the case of Dele Giwa, we are of the view that beyond the legal technicalities that some of the key witnesses hung on to, the federal government should be encouraged to re-open up this case for proper investigation.

iii. In the case of Bagauda Kaltho, there is enough prima facie to lead us to the conclusion that there was complicity by agents of government in the case. We therefore recommend that the case be re-opened for proper re-investigation and possible prosecution of the perpetrators.
iv. In the case of Chief Moshood Abiola, we are of the view that the government of the day knows much more than it has admitted. We believe that the denial of Chief Moshood Abiola.s mandate was a violation of the rights of Nigerians to freely choose their leaders. We regard this as serious infringement.

42. While we affirm that matters pending before our courts should take their normal course, we also wish to advise that in the spirit of forgiveness, reconciliation, unity and peaceful co-existence across the country, which this Commission has belaboured in this report, the President may wish to consider a political solution as an alternative to the on-going protracted judicial process.

43. We also believe that Chief Moshood Abiola’’s death was the result of his incarceration and the denial of access to adequate medical attention. The testimony of the Chief Security Officer to the then Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, was full of contradictions. From the evidence before us, Chief Abiola died in suspicious circumstances. The Commission therefore recommends a thorough investigation to throw light to and inform the Nigerian people on what killed Chief Moshood Abiola.


44. Nigerian prisons have become notorious for their inhuman conditions. We recommend an entire overhaul of the prison system in the country.
45. We recommend the rebuilding, refurbishing or renovation of all prison facilities across the country to conform with United Nations standards.
46. We also recommend the establishment of the Office of Ombudsman for Prison Welfare. This body should serve as a half-way house between the inmates, the prison authorities, government and the families of the inmates. The Ombudsman should monitor prison conditions to ensure that they meet international standards.


47. The Commission is of the view that no Commission or any constitution, for that matter, can put an end to human rights violations. Security agencies and law enforcement agencies will continue to breach the law. What is more, there will always be individuals within the system who will go beyond the call of duty.

48. We recommend the production and publication of what the Commission refers to as a Popular Version of both the relevant Human Rights provisions in our Constitution and the relevant sections of this Report. The idea is to put into the hands of the mass of our people, a document that can be the human rights version of the human rights Highway Code or of a Catechism, with a Question and Answer format. This should be a document that should be within the reach of every ordinary, literate citizen. It should be produced at very subsidized rate, in collaboration with the National Human Rights Commission.

49. In view of the importance that the international community has now placed on Human Rights, we are of the view that the Office of Minister for Human Rights should be created. There should be no conflict with the Office of the Attorney-General. In fact, the person chosen or appointed to the office need not have a legal background. This office is essentially to
serve as a whistle blower, while also seeking to coordinate and harmonize the work of the Human Rights Commission, Public Complaints Commission, Code of Conduct Bureau and the Federal Character Commission. It should offer citizens another outlet to turn to for redress. To insulate it from the public bureaucracy, the Office should be independently funded with assistance from international agencies, corporate bodies and the United Nations.


50. We propose the immediate setting up of a Human Rights Violations Rehabilitation Fund. This Fund is imperative as a foundational building block for national reconciliation. We are also of the view that this fund need not be solely a federal government venture. Afterall, during the heydays of apartheid, when Nigeria was in the forefront of the battle against the evil of apartheid, the government encouraged citizens of Nigeria to contribute to the South African Relief Fund. The response was very encouraging. We are of the view that the victims of human rights violations be treated the same way victims of other man-made disasters are treated, whether they are wars or of natural disasters like earthquakes.
51. On compensation, we believe that it is necessary for the Government to carefully reflect on Volume 5 which has set out to lay a foundation for addressing the issues of restitution and compensation.

We had earlier suggested the setting up of a Presidential Fund to address the issues of token assistance towards ameliorating the pains and sufferings of some of the petitioners. We are also of the view that if this Fund is set up, it will also serve as a means for Nigerians to begin to make their own contributions towards this process. We recommend some of the following measures:

53 That the President should direct the Special Adviser on Economic Matters and the National Planning Commission to liaise with the European Union, so as to follow up the $l0m donation which that body made to the Commission in 1998.

54 That the Federal Government should levy all States, Local Government Councils, the Ministry of Defence, the Police, Corporate Bodies and individuals through a massive campaign to raise funds for this objective. We believe that the levy should be at the discretion of the Presidency. This will help create an atmosphere of family solidarity in the country and a feeling of being one another’’s keepers.

55 We recommend a National Human Rights Day to draw public attention to the issues of human rights violations. We suggest June 14, the date of the inauguration of the Commission as that date. If this recommendation is accepted, then the relevant agencies will work towards ensuring that a series of events are prepared around this date.


56 This petition was very hurriedly written from all indications. However, read along with the petition of the non-Hausa Community in Kafanchan, it is clear that the events have been over taken. It is to be noted that the non-Muslim community in Kafanchan against whom this petition had been directed had failed to follow up their petition because their prayer had been answered by the creation of a Chiefdom by the Kaduna State Government. We are also satisfied that the Kaduna State Government has taken the appropriate steps, which in the long term, will bring lasting peace to the community. We call on the Kaduna State government to make public the findings of the Committee it set up, even if not to the public, at least to the Communities concerned, to allay their anxieties.

57 In creating Ussa Local Government, it would seem that the government ended up digging a hole to fill a hole. The Kutebs are of the view that Takum belongs to them while the Jukun/Chamba lay similar claim. Whatever may be the case it seems that two main issues are responsible for the problem. The first is the 1975 Government Gazette which revoked the existing one of 1963 which had apparently placed the control of Takum in the hands of the Kuteb. The second is the creation of Ussa Local Government Council ostensibly to deal with the Kuteb problem. It would seem from the two that there was interference with due process from above in the case of the creation and constitution of the newly created Ussa Local Government Council as can be seen from the two letters dated March 12th and April 28th.

58 We are of the view that the harm may have already been done and it is not possible to repeal the edict setting up the Local Government Council. We recommend a massive development programme of Ussa Local Government Council. The federal government should assist the state government in rehabilitating those who were displaced by the series of communal riots spanning over the last ten years or so. We also recommend the elevation of the status of the traditional institution of the Kutebs to be at par with that of the Jukun/Chamba of Wukari so as to allay their fears and anxieties and enable them to have a sense of cultural freedom.
59. The case of the Sayawa Community in Bauchi state is one of the long-standing cases of serious communal clashes in the Northern states.

Sadly, the Community has been victims of the lack of commitment of government to taking policies that may seem to be against the interest of the traditional ruling classes. When Bauchi state went through a spasm of violence in 1991, the Federal Government set up the Babalakin Commission of Enquiry. One of the most important recommendations of that Panel was the creation of a Chiefdom for the Sayawa people. Unfortunately, none of the successive governments has been courageous enough to implement this recommendation. Government has not told the people the reasons why it is unable to implement this very crucial recommendation. We very strongly recommend that the Federal Government requests the Bauchi State Government to comply with this recommendation and implement it to the fullest.

60. Secondly, we also recommend that the Bauchi State Government finds means to creating a more conducive atmosphere to guarantee harmony in the state. We are of the view that the State Government takes the necessary legal measures to ensure that the fears and anxieties of the non-Muslim communities are allayed and that adequate judicial arrangements be made to accommodate the cultural peculiarities of the State. In view of the fact that the media plays such an important role in the lives of citizens, we recommend that the state media tries to accommodate all shades of cultural and religious expressions that are not inimical to moral development and social harmony. We appeal to the Sayawa Community to cooperate with the State Government, taking cognizance that democracy now offers us all the best opportunity for resolving our conflicts through dialogue and collaboration.

61 We appeal to the Bauchi State Government to carefully go over the relevant sections of the various Panels of Enquiry and find ways of alleviating the sufferings of all those across the board who may have suffered in one crisis or the other.


62 The petition submitted by Major-General Zamani Lekwot and Six Others was titled, Violations of the Fundamental Rights of the Petitioners on the Trial of the Complainants by Justice Benedict Okadigbo Tribunal.
63 The substance of the petition is the outburst of violence that occurred in Kataf land in 1992. The violence occurred as a result of persistent misunderstanding between the local people, the Katafs and their Hausa settlers who are predominantly Muslim. It was alleged that sometime in 1992, a letter was addressed to the Emir of Zaria making references to a jihad, or a Muslim holy war. The situation deteriorated, leading to violence which left many people dead and property destroyed.

The retired General and his kinsmen were arrested amidst allegations of complicity in the violence and the deaths that followed. They were arraigned before the Justice Benedict Okadigbo tribunal and subsequently tried, convicted and sentenced to death. They alleged that the trial was a travesty of justice because, among other things, that even after the Attorney-General had filed a nolle prosequi, they were recharged, their lawyer filed a stay and applied for the right to enforce their fundamental rights. Although the order was granted, the learned judge declined to halt proceedings.

Their lawyer filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal in Kaduna but the judge continued and even ended his trial before the Appeal could be heard. They appealed to the Supreme Court but the appeal was struck out on the grounds that the record of proceedings was not supplied. The petitioners alleged that the trial violated their right to life, fair hearing and the Africa Charter. We have no right to review the sentence of a tribunal. But from the evidence before us the trial did not conform with the African Charter. Accordingly, we recommend a state pardon.

64 The Commission believes that it does not have the powers to order that a case in which the Supreme Court has ruled be opened. During the hearings the petitioners tendered a document from the African Court for Human and Peoples. Rights in which it ruled that the Federal Government of Nigeria had erred in the handling of this case.


65. This petition, titled, An Appeal for Government Intervention and Restoration of Ninzam Chiefdom, was signed by Messrs James Ambi (President) and Aku A. Amboson (Secretary), presented the problems of the Ninzam community who live in the Southern part of Kaduna State. It was dated July 20, 1999.

66 However, the creation of Districts in Kaduna State by the new government of Governor Muhammad Makarfi has put paid to the request as the Ninzam people have been duly granted a Chiefdom.


67. The above community presented a petition titled, Human Rights Violation by the Liama and Egwema on the total annihilation of the Beletiema/Egbabeleu Community of Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State on 18th July, 1997 and April 9th 1999 respectively. The petition was signed on behalf of the Community by Chiefs M. E Dakolo
Apiri, Lyton Owoidoi, Itari Collar Ikpikpi, Temple Ombu, Isaiah Bou and Alexander O. Diye.

68 The petition alleged that in the two occasions listed, they were set upon and attacked by their neighbours, the Liama community.
69 The Military Administrator of the time, Navy Captain Caleb Omoniyi Olubolade set up an Administrative Panel of Enquiry. The Community’s demands for resettlement, compensation, provision of social services and so on must have been contained in their submissions to the Panel of Enquiry.

As such, the much that the Commission can do is to request the present administration in Bayelsa to dust up the findings of the Lt Col. C. O. Omoregie Panel and implement its findings.


70 The Petition, signed by Messrs S. A. Aiyeyemi (Leader) and 11 others is titled, simply Maroko Evictees Committee and simply dated, July 1999.
71 The petition chronicled the trials of this community in the outskirts of modern day, highbrow areas of Ikoyi and Victoria Island. The petitioners alleged that they had been the target of high handedness, executive recklessness and oppression, all because those in power wanted to take over their land. Obviously, they had been having series of running battles with almost all the Governors of Lagos state, going back to Brigadier Mobolaji Johnson in 1972. Whereas most of the battles against subsequent governments in Lagos had largely been legal, the climax came in July 1990 when the Government of Col Raji Rasaki ordered heavily armed soldiers into Maroko.

Specifically on the 14th of July, the soldiers moved in and in less than one week, razed the houses of the 300,000 residents of Maroko to the ground. By the time the soldiers were through with their job, Maroko and its residents lay in ruins. This dastardly incident remains one of the greatest tragic legacies of military excesses. The Maroko residents had since then roamed the courts of Lagos State in search for justice.

72 After reviewing the evidence submitted by the petitioners, the Commission is of the view that the Lagos State government should, on behalf of its predecessors, apologise to the residents of Maroko and publicly condemn the high-handedness of Col. Rasaki.s government especially given that these innocent citizens went through this harrowing experience so as to satisfy the greed of a few elites whose residences have now sprung up in Maroko. We therefore propose that the Lagos State government should properly resettle the evictees of Maroko in the decent houses .


73 This petition, titled, Kafanchan Crisis and Human Rights Abuses sought to draw attention to the needs of those who call themselves the Indigenous People of Kafanchan. Essentially, they, like the Ninzam community were also demanding a chiefdom of their own. Again, like the Ninzam, this request has been granted by the Government of Kaduna state. In fact, the Community did not show up when their petition was called in Kano and they later informed the Commission that they felt that their petition had been overtaken by developments in Kaduna State.


74. This community submitted a petition titled, Human Rights Abuses meted out on the Nwaniba people by Ifiayong Usuk People with the support of Akwa Ibom State Police Command.

75. The body of the petition is made up of allegations of problems that border on boundary adjustment. We are of the view that the Akwa Ibom State Government should be able to deal with this problem as it is a boundary adjustment issue. The state government might need to refresh its memory by making reference to the Gazette referred to in the petitioner’’s submission.


76 After reviewing the petition from the Umuode Community, we have come to the conclusion that the issues of human rights violations are indeed not the prerogative of governments and their agencies. Individuals, communities and organizations are sometimes worse culprits. The Umuode Community case clearly demonstrates the cruel cultural practices that are capable of bringing government efforts at securing human rights for its citizens to naught. Clearly, the predicament of this community is based on the false belief by the neighbouring community that the people of Umuode fall within a category of subhuman beings known as Uhu. Elsewhere in Igboland, this invidious cultural practice classifies the
same groups as Osu. We condemn this philosophy in its entirety and call on the Federal Government to ban this assault on human dignity.

77 After reviewing the submissions by the various parties, we have come to the conclusion that although the problems are internal to the community, some influential agents within government have not helped matters. We note that this community has produced very important personalities such as a world renowned scientist. It is preposterous to think that he is such a figure is considered a non person where he hails from. We therefore call on the Enugu State Government to act immediately to resettle the people of Umuode and address the issue of creating a climate for peaceful coexistence within both communities. Over the issue of resettlement, there is the question of land. The bone of contention seems to be two pieces of land; namely, Abarri and Aguefi.

78 The Commission undertook a visit to the locus in quo and we were shown both pieces of land. Abarri land was said to be inaccessible and hence the reason why Umuode found it unacceptable. Aguefi on the other hand had been a very much litigated land. The Commission believes whichever piece of land the state Government settles on with the communities, this matter can be resolved in an amicable way. Even if the Abarri land were to be accepted, we believe that the State government can be assisted by the Federal Government to create infrastructures, provide road and water. The Enugu State Government indicated that it was ready to consider this possibility. We are of the view that if the State government were to provide roads, light and water, there is really no reason why Umuode community should not accept this option.

79 Secondly, the Commission noticed that even at its public sittings, there were altercations between both chiefs in the communities. We are of the view that the Enugu State government should restore the autonomous community status that was given during the military era. If this is done, the traditional rulers of both communities can be encouraged to go back to the status quo ante whereby the Traditional stool was rotational.

80 In view of the role of the Catholic Church has played in arbitrating this case, given the fact that they have already got a priest on the ground and they were responsible for feeding the refugees, we are of the view that the State Government should continue to let them play the role of arbitration. We also noted that the Church is well respected and trusted by both Communities.


81 This memorandum simply sought to draw public attention to the allegations of threats to the rights of the Hausa- Fulani to live under their Emirate system. This Memo was largely a response to the crises that surrounded the attempt by the Kaduna State government to install the new Emir of Kafanchan. It will be recalled that a petition had already been submitted by a group that called itself the Kafanchan Indigenes alleging subjugation to Hausa-Fulani rule in Kafanchan. That group admitted that subsequent developments in Kaduna state, leading to the creation of new chiefdoms had overtaken the petition. In this same way, the Emir of Jama’’a has long been installed. We can only recommend further that since the prayers of the various communities have been duly answered, that the community leaders will ensure that their communities remain law abiding. They are to be encouraged to preserve, nurture and protect that which has been given to them.


82. This community was apparently one of the very first to suffer hardship in the hands of some rather overzealous security agencies in the quest to protect oil installations belonging to Shell Petroleum Development Company. According to its petition, the community was attacked and their houses razed to the ground after a night is raid at the instance of the
Divisional Manager of SPDC who had alerted the Police of a planned peaceful demonstration by the community.

83. The Commission recalls that the hearing on this petition was stalled by the community lawyer who vanished in the cause of the hearings of the case. However, the Commission notes that already, the Rivers State Government had set up a Judicial Commission of Enquiry headed by Justice Opubo Inko-Tariah and a White Paper already issued. Again, we have noted that just like a lot of other Commissions on Enquiry, the community feels that the government has not implemented the findings. We therefore call on the Rivers State Government to heed the cry of the community and look more closely at the various compensatory measures recommended and duly accepted by its own White Paper and execute what remains.


84. This petition was very comprehensive in its textual form and its representation. It traversed the historical landscape, extrapolating extensive evidence of what it alleges to be the planned marginalisation of the Igbo people from the scheme of things. According to the petitioners, the civil war was the climax of the excesses of the Federal government of Nigeria against the Ndi Igbo. Despite the atrocities of the civil war, the petitioners still believe that the successive governments of the federation have constantly sought through policy articulation, to exclude the Ndi Igbo from benefiting in the economic and political life of Nigeria. The petitioners drew attention to the tragic issue of Abandoned Property enunciated in the Abandoned Property Act No 90 of 1979.

Also, Ndi Igbo argues in the petition that the absence of industrialization programmes in the entire area coterminous with the areas of abode indicate this policy of marginalisation. The petitioners argue that this marginalisation has persisted in appointments and promotions in the bureaucracy and the military, and even political offices. There were also the problems of the Aro Ikwerre Refugees and the Oji River and the murder of Gideon Akaluka, an Igbo man in the city of Kano.

85. This petition sparked off a response from across the country and we believe that Ohaneze is to be thanked for making it possible for the Commission to use this petition to elicit reactions from a cross section of the various communities in the country. After reviewing the mountain of evidence, the Commission makes the following recommendations in response to the prayers by Ohaneze Ndi Igbo:

* We are of the view that the problems of the massive claims of marginalisation cut across the entire nation and we adduced enough evidence from the swelter of petitions. From all this, we can conclude that at least, every ethnic group in Nigeria claims marginalisation. However, none of this takes away the substance of this petition. On the request for an apology from the Federal Government, we do not believe that this should be done by only one party. We are of the view that for this to happen, the Federal government along with those who led the civil war find a way of presenting a common front in working out the modalities for public apology for the civil war as an unnecessary evil.

* We are of the view that the Abandoned Property issue remains very delicate, yet, it can and needs to be dealt with. Time does not heal an injustice, only truth can. We therefore recommend that the Rivers State government find a way of carefully going through the outstanding cases of the claims with a view to making amends where necessary.

* On the issue of refugees, we are of the view that no matter the weaknesses of the Federal Government’s policy of Reconciliation, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction may have been, it provided a platform for the successive governments to address the issues of refugees. We are of the view that the persistence of the Oji River Refugee problem is an indictment to various governments in the area.

* On the issue of the Aro Ikwerre people, the Commission visited the locus in quo visit and we saw the terrible situation. However, we are of the view that the resettlement of the community cannot be the responsibility of the Government as proposed by Ndi Igbo. We however believe that the security of that community is the responsibility of the Rivers State government. We note that most of those living in the church premises were born in the area. We therefore suggest a systematic programme of their integration into the community rather than the creation of a Bantustan between Isiokpo and Elele as proposed by Ndi Igbo. Again, dialogue at the Local Government level can heal this wound.

* In the case of Gideon Akaluka, we are of the view that this matter is a great tragedy. It is very unfortunate that the Government of the day did not handle this matter with the seriousness that was required. We therefore hold the prison authorities and the police responsible for the tragic circumstances that led to Mr. Akaluka’s brutal murder. It is doubtful that much can be done in terms of compensation by the Government of Kano State. The Commission is of the view that this ugly matter be laid to rest.

* The Commission is of the view that the petitioners have a good case in their claim of marginalisation in the area of industries. However, if, as it is being said, the Federal Government is embarking on a policy of dredging the Niger, we encourage this project. We hope that it will open up opportunities for the nation to tap the vast resources available in this part of the country.

* We further recommend that the Government looks very closely at the issues of boundary adjustments and mineral development in some states in the area under consideration. Those that qualify to be included in the Niger-Delta Development Commission should be included immediately.

86. The case of the Ogoni, their experience with the Shell Petroleum Development Company and the agents of the Federal Government under the late General Sani Abacha attracted world-wide attention. The brutal murder of the writer, Ken Saro Wiwa, was the climax of the federal government.s brutality in the community. However, the Commission was glad to note the amount of harmony that was finally created by the time the Commission finalised its sittings in Port Harcourt. Essentially, the lingering problems of the so called Ogoni 4 and Ogoni 9 were resolved. There were many outstanding issues. It became clear that the Ogoni problem had four dimensions: the Ogoni 4 vs Ogoni 9, Ogoni vs Federal Government of Nigeria, Ogoni vs Rivers State Government, and Ogoni vs Shell.

87. The Commission decided to set up a platform made up of the representatives of the Ogoni, the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni (MOSOP), the Rivers State Government and representatives of SPDC. In attendance were representatives of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN and the Commission.

88. Since the end of the sittings, the Commission has had extensive meetings with all the parties. We are of the view that these meetings will be able to resolve many of the outstanding issues on the short term. On the long term, only State and Federal Government policies on the one hand and Shell’’s behaviour can restore confidence, peace and harmony in
Ogoniland. We believe that the Commission has set all parties on the path of dialogue.

Go to Part II

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