1. Deeply concerned by recent executions after trials
that were not in conformity with provisions of the Covenant, the Human
Rights Committee on 29 November 1995, acting through its Chairman, requested
the Government of Nigeria to submit its initial report without further
delay for consideration by the Committee at its fifty-sixth session
in March/April 1996 and, in any event, to submit by 31 January 1996
a report, in summary form if necessary, relating to the application
of articles 6, 7, 9 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights in the current situation.
2. The Committee appreciates the decision of the Government
of Nigeria to submit its initial report (CCPR/C/92/Add.1) in time for
consideration at its fifty-sixth session as scheduled.
3. Given the importance of the report in the current situation
and the constraints of the Nigerian delegation in being available for
only one day, the Committee decided to divide the examination of the
report into two parts, namely, the first part on Articles 6, 7, 9 and
14, and the second part on the remaining articles of the Covenant.
4. The first part was considered at the 1494th and 1495th
meetings of the Committee held on 1 April 1996 (see CCPR/C/SR.1494 and
1495). Further consideration of the report was adjourned to the fifty-seventh
session of the Committee (Geneva, July 1996).
5. In the light of the examination of the first part of
the report and the observations made by members of the Committee, the
Committee, at its 1499th meeting, on 3 March 1996, adopted the following
preliminary observations and urgent recommendations:
B. Principal concerns in respect of articles 6, 7, 9 and 14
6. The Committee noted fundamental inconsistencies between
the obligations undertaken by Nigeria under the Covenant to respect
and ensure rights guaranteed under the Covenant and the implementation
of those rights in Nigeria.
7. In particular, the incommunicado detention for an indefinite
period and the suppression of habeas corpus constitute violations of
article 9 of the Covenant.
8. The establishment by presidential decree of several
types of special tribunals, including their composition and rules of
procedure which exclude the free choice of a lawyer, and the absence
of any provisions for appeals, constitute violations of rights provided
under article 14 of the Covenant as well as violations of article 6,
paragraph 1, and article 6, paragraph 2, of the Covenant when a sentence
of death is pronounced.
9. The failure to respect these guarantees has led to
the arbitrary deprivation of life of Mr. Ken Saro Wiwa and the other
10. There would not appear to have been any serious investigations
into allegations of torture, ill-treatment or conditions of detention
which raise serious issues under article 7 of the Covenant.
C. Urgent recommendations
11. The Committee, in particular, recommends that all
the decrees establishing special tribunals or revoking normal constitutional
guarantees of fundamental rights or the jurisdiction of the normal courts
(such as State Security (Detention of Persons) Decree No. 2 of 1984,
the Federal Military Government (Supremacy and Enforcement of Powers)
Decree No. 12 of 1994, Civil Disturbances (Special Tribunal) Decree
No. 2 of 1987, Treason and Other Offences (Special Military Tribunal)
Decree No. 1 of 1986) which violate some of the basic rights under the
Covenant, be abrogated and that any trials before such special tribunals
be immediately suspended.
12. The Committee recommends that urgent steps be taken
to ensure that persons facing trials are afforded all the guarantees
of a fair trial as explicitly provided in article 14 (1), (2) and (3)
and to have their conviction and sentence reviewed by a higher tribunal
in accordance with article 14 (5) of the Covenant.
13. The Committee requests the Government of Nigeria to
inform the Committee at the resumed consideration of the report in July
1996 of the steps it has taken to implement the above recommendations.