on Ethnic Relations / Rapports sur les relations
following section is consisted of part, full or summaries of articles
from diverses sources (newspapers, newsletters, etc...).
La section suivante est constituée d'exraits, de la totalité
ou de résumés d'articles provenant d'origines diverses
/ 29 / 2002
Article: "Islamic council overrules fatwa on
leading Islamic council, Jama'atu Nasril Islam, on Thursday overruled
the death sentence or fatwa passed on a local newspaper reporter
for an article considered blasphemous by Muslims.
northern state of Zamfara had urged Muslims on Monday to kill
Isioma Daniel of Thisday daily as a religious obligation for her
article dismissing Muslim opposition to the hosting of the Miss
World contest in Nigeria. In the article, Daniel, who has since
fled Nigeria, suggested prophet Mohammed may have chosen one of
the contestants for a wife.
Zamfara state government has no authority to issue fatwas and
the fatwa issued by it should be ignored," a statement signed
by Lateef Adegbite, the council’s secretary general, said.
statement said the leader of Nigerian Muslims, the Sultan of Sokoto,
Muhammadu Macido, had asked the fatwa committee to meet and discuss
Daniel ’s article, having noted the apology made by the
protests against the Thisday article had degenerated into four
days of sectarian violence in the northern city of Kaduna last
week in which more than 200 people died. The Miss World organisers
cancelled the contest, which was to have held in the Nigerian
capital, Abuja, and moved it to London.
Olusegun Obasanjo travelled on Thursday to Kaduna, where he visited
some of the wounded in hospital. He told a meeting of religious
and traditional rulers he had directed the security agencies to
apprehend those responsible for the violence.
leaders remained critical of the government’s handling of
the crisis, saying most of the casualties were non-Muslims. "If
the government fails to protect us, our people will be left with
no option but to defend and protect themselves by whatever means
available to them," Methodist Archbishop Ola Makinde, told
blamed the increasing cases of sectarian violence in Nigeria on
the introduction of strict Islamic or Shari’ah law by 12
states in the predominantly Muslim north. More than 2,000 people
died in Kaduna in 2000 in violence that erupted over an attempt
by the government to introduce the Islamic legal code.
/ 28 / 2002
Article: "30,000 displaced by religious riots
- Red Cross"
than 30,000 people were displaced during four days of religious
riots in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna, the Nigerian Red
Cross said on Thursday.
Cross spokesman Patrick Bawa said more than 1,000 people were
injured while over 200 died in the clashes between Christians
violence had erupted last week after Muslim militants protested
against a 16 November article in the Thisday daily dismissing
their opposition to the Miss World contest which was due to be
held in Nigeria. The writer, Isioma Daniel, suggested that the
Prophet Mohammed would have approved of the beauty pageant and
may even have chosen one of the contestants for a wife.
than 7,000 families were displaced in the violence, and if you
multiply the number by an average of five people a family you
get more than 30,000," Bawa told IRIN.
Nigerian security forces brought the situation in Kaduna under
control on Sunday, although tension was still high in the city.
Bawa said some of those who had fled their homes had started going
back. The Red Cross, he said, planned to conduct a fresh needs
assessment in the city to determine the numbers yet to return
and their current plight.
workers in Kaduna said many of the displaced remained in the police
and military barracks where they had taken refuge, afraid of renewed
violence if they went home. Thousands of residents, especially
Christians from southern Nigeria, were leaving the city and returning
to their home regions, they said.
of religious violence spread to other parts of Nigeria's predominantly
Muslim north after the pro-Islamic Zamfara State government issued
a fatwa - religious edict - urging Muslims to kill Daniel.
Kaduna-based New Nigerian newspaper reported on Tuesday that Zamfara
Deputy Governor Aliyu Shinkafi, called on Muslims to kill Daniel
at a rally on Monday in the state capital, Gusau. He remarked
that her case was similar to that of the author, Salman Rushdie,
sentenced to death by the late Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini.
Salman Rushdie, the blood of the ThisDay writer can be shed,"
Shinkafi was quoted as saying.
federal government described the fatwa as being of no effect.
"The constitution is the supreme law of the land, and the
laws do not provide for anyone who has done something like Thisday
has done to be killed," Minister of Information Jerry Gana
relaxed form of Shari'ah had existed for decades in northern Nigeria.
However, two years ago, Zamfara introduced a stricter version
of the Islamic code. Some 11 other states have since followed
suit, heightening tension with the largely Christian south.
than 2,000 people died in sectarian violence in Kaduna two years
ago over attempts by the state government to introduce strict
decision of the Zamfara authorities to impose the death sentence
on the Thisday reporter appeared to contradict the National Supreme
Council for Islamic Affairs, which had already accepted the repeated
apologies issued by the newspaper for carrying the report.
/ 26 / 2002
Article: "25 new parties seek registration"
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said on Monday
that 25 new political parties had applied for registration for
general elections to be held next year following a relaxation
of stringent eligibility criteria.
applications came after the Supreme Court threw out most of the
conditions imposed by the electoral body for the registration
of political parties. The court had ruled last month in favour
of five political parties that challenged their disqualification
by INEC on the grounds that the eligibility conditions were unconstitutional.
said any party meeting the revised guidelines would be registered.
"As far as this commission is concerned, we are a creation
of the constitution and we must obey the constitution," INEC's
spokesman Okpo Sam Okpo said. "Any of these political associations
that applied for registration as a political party that meets
the guidelines would certainly be registered."
list of registered parties would be announced by 5 December, he
registered in the current exercise will join six existing ones,
including three registered in June. INEC has tentatively set the
elections for the period between 29 March and 29 April.
three parties, including the ruling People's Democratic Party
and the opposition All Nigeria People's Party and the Alliance
for Democracy participated in the 1999 polls that brought President
Olusegun Obasanjo to power and ended more than 16 years of military
The Article: "350 charged in connection with
350 people arrested during four days of religious riots in Nigeria's
northern city of Kaduna, were charged on Monday with arson, rioting,
culpable homicide and other offences, officials said.
said people arrested in predominantly Muslim areas of the city
were taken to Shari'ah courts, while those picked up in the mainly
Christian areas were given a choice between customary and magistrate
courts. According to the police, more than 1,000 people will face
charges over the coming days.
separate trials reflect the religious tensions that have gripped
the city which, over the past two years, has experienced waves
of sectarian violence.
than 200 people died in last week's riots, sparked by a newspaper
article considered by Muslims as sacrilegious. Several unidentified
corpses were taken on Monday from the city's hospitals and given
a mass burial.
was calm but tense under heavy security presence this week. Leaders
of Christian communities in the state held a news conference on
Monday in which they accused Kaduna Governor Ahmed Makarfi of
inaction in the face of security reports indicating that Muslim
militants planned violent protests.
Maj-Gen Yohanna Kure, the spokesman for the group, said military
personnel deployed to quell the riots shot at unarmed people from
the Christian communities.
we do not provoke, we shall no longer tolerate any act of provocative
killing, maiming or burning of our churches by anybody for no
wrong committed by us as we shall return fire for fire,"
/ 25 / 2002
Article: "Tense calm in Kaduna after riots"
situation in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna was reported
to be tense but calm on Monday following riots and clashes between
Muslims and Christians that killed more than 200 people, according
to hospital sources and relief workers.
violence began on Wednesday when Muslim youths began protesting
against an article published on Saturday 16 November in a local
newspaper, the report suggested in response to opposition by Muslims
to the staging of the Miss World beauty contest in Nigeria that
the Prophet Mohamed might have approved of it. The organisers
of the contest decided on Saturday to move it to London, but clashes
between Christians and Muslims continued in Kaduna.
have so far counted more than 200 people dead since the violence
started," Enoch Dangana, a hospital worker in Kaduna, told
IRIN. Officials of the Nigerian Red Cross Society put the casualties
at 215 dead and more than 500 injured. They said more than 5,000
people had been displaced from their homes and had taken refuge
at police stations and military barracks.
Monday the security forces had tightened their grip on Kaduna,
bringing the situation to a tense calm. The police authorities
in Kaduna State said more than 1,000 people arrested in connection
with the riots would face charges in court on Monday.
were fears the violence might spread to other cities after Muslim
youths burnt cars in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, on Friday and Muslims
were attacked in the southeastern city of Aba on Sunday.
Nigeria is predominantly Muslim while the south is populated by
mainly Christians and followers of traditional African faiths.
Nigeria was awarded hosting rights for Miss World, there had been
threats of a worldwide boycott in protest against the sentencing
of a single mother, Aminal Lawal, to death by stoning for having
a baby out of wedlock. President Olusegun Obasanjo's government
pledged not to allow the sentence to be carried out, and the some
92 Miss World contestants arrived in Nigeria two weeks ago.
Muslim clerics opposed the idea of hosting the beauty contest
on the grounds that it would be a parade of nudity offensive to
Islamic sensibilities. The Thisday newspaper article of 16 November
saying Mohammed would probably have chosen one of the contestants
for a wife if he were alive added fuel to a smouldering fire.
Saturday, the contestants hurriedly left Nigeria for London, after
the organisers switched the venue of the 7 December pageant to
the British capital.
decision was taken after careful consideration of all the issues
involved and in the overall interests of Nigeria and the contestants
participating in this year's edition," the organisers said
in a statement.
has condemned the newspaper, saying the authorities will take
legal action against it. The daily, which has published repeated
apologies to Muslims, said its Saturday editor, Simon Kolawole,
had been arrested by state security police. The author of the
controversial article, Isioma Daniel, was asked to turn herself
Article: "Nigeria: Relocation of beauty contest
is international conspiracy - Minister of Information"
reaction to the relocation of the Miss World beauty pageant to
London, England, Information and National Orientation Minister,
Professor Jerry Gana, has pointed accusing fingers at foreign
and local media saying they were responsible for the nation's
failed attempt to host the event.
a result of outbreak of violence in Kaduna and the nation's capital
city, Abuja, last week organisers moved the event whose finale
was to have held on December 7 in Abuja, to London.
is an international conspiracy just to show that an African country
like Nigeria cannot host this thing.
think Nigerians should be really angry with the international
press." The minister said, according to the French news agency,
Murray-Bruce, Chairman of the Nigerian Organising Committee and
DG of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), said a huge opportunity
to showcase Nigeria to the outside world has been lost.
the violence escalated, Miss. Canada and Miss South Korea decided
to pull out on Friday - before the change of venue was announced.
contestant, Miss South Africa, who had initially boycotted the
event in Nigeria, told newspapers she would not be going to London
because of commitments in South Africa.
of trouble could have been avoided and now over 100 people have
died in riots for no reason," 22-year-old Vanessa Carreira,
spokeswoman for the organisers, Stella Din, said on Sunday the
contestants were "feeling really, really miserable."
/ 24 / 2002
Article: "Nigeria: Suspects in Kaduna riot face
trial today" (Saxone
Akhaine, Martins Oloja & Alex Olise)
1,000 persons arrested by the police in the thick of the four-day
violence that devastated Kaduna last week, are to be arraigned
in court today.
immediate prosecution may have been prompted by the position of
the Kaduna State government that a judicial commission of inquiry
into the crisis was unnecessary.
a broadcast at the weekend, Governor Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi said
the violence had nothing to do with religion and ethnicity but
the action of those who do not want peace in the state.
of the suspects were paraded at the weekend at an open field in
the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) where they are being interrogated.
in Abuja, about 100 persons have been arrested in connection with
the riots, which spread to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)
Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun, has equally ordered
the deployment of more anti-riot policemen to some flash points
in the North.
Makarfi, who sued for peace in his broadcast, said the state will
not leave any stone unturned in bringing the culprits to book.
protests were sparked off by Moslem youths in Kaduna on Wednesday
over Nigeria's hosting of the Miss World pageant and an alleged
blasphemous article in a national daily.
of the accused persons had various degree of injuries from gunshots,
matchet cuts and such other harmful objects. They were placed
under heavy security.
said the government would not inaugurate a commission of inquiry,
but insisted that "those who will be involved shall be punished
according to the law".
are left with no option but to take a very much more decisive
action against perpetrators of crisis and the dastardly acts",
governor pointed out that "religion or ethnicity has nothing
to do with the violence but rather it is the intention of the
perpetrators to turn it to a wider conflict and if we had given
in to their desire, they would have succeeded.
must all fight these people through a resistance to violence.
And the authorities have been fully mandated to take punitive
measures to deal with the situation. Also, all those arrested
either for murder, theft, and arson will be charged to court on
Monday" (today), Makarfi disclosed.
added: "We shall deal with individuals as they were caught
committing any offence, and such shall be done no matter how highly
placed the individual maybe."
the sermon in most churches in Kaduna metropolis yesterday centred
on peaceful co-existence.
the Living Faith Church, the Presiding Bishop, David Abioye, enjoined
Christians in the state to be law abiding. He also urged the government
to embark on policies that will alleviate poverty, which is the
root of the violence.
All Nigeria Peoples Party's (ANPP) chieftain, Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi
who spoke with The Guardian, warned: "We must be wary of
accusing politicians of having exploited the crisis in Kaduna."
is because even though one heard around here in Kaduna attempt
to symbolise the protest against the personality of the incumbent
state governor, Alhaji Makarfi, I don't think any generalisation
of politicians having something to do with the protest is justified,"
said what was justifiable is the cumulative consequences of the
type of governance we have, in leaving unemployed people on the
renowned Islamic scholar, Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, in reaction to
the crisis condemned the action of moslems who attacked and killed
Christians that knew nothing about the blasphemous publication.
should be regarded as transgressors."
should have sued (ThisDay and the writer of the article rather
than attack innocent Christians. Those who carried out that attack
at this period of Ramadan cannot be regarded as true moslems,"
a Northern group, the Civil Rights Congress (CRC), has said: "We
unambiguously condemn the resort to violence that has brought
about lawlessness and disorder in the process."
Secretary General, Malam Nasiru Abbas, observed that "the
steps taken by the government and security agents were too belated.
action was taken earlier, many lives could have been saved",
on the security checks put in place, Force Public Relations Officer,
Chris Olakpe, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), explained
that there are more police presence in the entire northern states,
especially Abuja and Kaduna where the riots were fiercest.
said military personnel had been dispatched to the trouble spots
to complement the anti-riot police efforts.
police spokesman also denied reports that sophisticated weapons
like AK47 rifles were freely used during the riots.
police have not recovered any firearm, we didn't see any gun from
those arrested so far," he said A source in Abuja traced
the genesis of the protest to a lawyer in Abuja who leaked offensive
publication to a Moslem leader in Kaduna.
/ 22 / 2002
Article: "Group to take Odi killings to international
Nigerian human rights group said on the third anniversary of the
invasion by the military of the southern town of Odi that it had
documented enough evidence to lodge a case at the International
Rights Action (ERA), which is affiliated to the global Friends
of the Earth, said President Olusegun Obasanjo, who ordered the
attack, General Victor Malu - who was army chief at the time -
and soldiers who participated in the attack on Odi on 20 November
1999 were guilty of crimes against humanity.
was destroyed in the attack, ordered in response to the killing
of 12 policemen by local militants. According to the ERA report
titled 'A Blanket of Silence: Images of Odi Genocide', 2,483 people
from 109 families were killed in the raid, after which only a
bank and a church were left standing.
report was presented by the group's director, Oronto Douglas,
at a commemorative rally in the town.
have come to the conclusion that what happened in Odi was a crime
against humanity," Douglas said. "The Geneva Convention
and other such international instruments do not condone crimes
against humanity. We have documented and compiled a justification
to bring those who visited the atrocities on Odi before the International
Minister of Defence, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, had defended
the Odi invasion as aimed at protecting oil operations in the
southern Niger Delta region. Over the past decade militants have
routinely attacked the operations of international oil companies
to back demands for access to more oil wealth and amenities for
their impoverished communities.
year after the attack on Odi, Obasanjo visited the town and acknowledged
that the soldiers had gone "beyond their brief". But,
ERA said, he offered neither an apology nor compensation to the
group said it would start a case against Malu, who was retired
last year, and the soldiers who participated in the mission. It
said it would await the end of Obasanjo's tenure in office to
has also been blamed for ordering a similar attack in central
state of Benue last year after a local militia killed 19 soldiers
sent to halt ethnic clashes there. Hundreds of people were killed
and scores of houses destroyed, including that of Malu.
/ 21 / 2002
Article: "Muslims protest against news report"
of Muslim demonstrators in Nigeria's northern Kaduna State staged
violent protests on Wednesday and Thursday over what they deemed
an offensive reference to the Prophet Mohammed by a national daily,
said more than 500 angry people invaded the office of "Thisday"
daily on Wednesday morning and set it ablaze. No one was reported
injured. The violence continued on Thursday with the burning of
some churches and damaging of cars by the protesters.
the Kaduna office was burned down. Today several churches have
been set alight in the mainly Muslim areas of the city,"
Jonah Bako, a resident, told IRIN.
protesters were apparently angered by a report in Thisday's Saturday
edition on the Miss World Beauty contest being hosted by Nigeria.
The report contained a comment dismissing Muslim opposition to
the contest by suggesting Prophet Mohammed would have probably
chosen one of the beauty queens as a wife.
subsequently ran front-page apologies to Muslims saying the comments
were published in error after they had been removed by the supervising
the anger appeared to have deepened after clerics condemned the
newspaper at mosques and urged prayers for its downfall. Residents
of Kaduna said vendors have since stopped displaying Thisday for
has since mounted in the city, populated by roughly equal numbers
of Muslims and non-Muslims. Policemen deployed to the streets
in large numbers to stop the violence from further escalating
fought with angry mobs throwing stones and bottles. Unconfirmed
reports said a number of people had been killed.
than 2,000 people died in the city in 2000 in clashes between
Muslims and Christians over an attempt by the state government
to introduce strict Islamic law.
dozen states in Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north have introduced
the strict Islamic or Shar'iah legal code in the past three years.
Miss World contest has been steeped in controversy as a result
of across the world for a boycott in protest against the sentencing
to death of a woman, Amina Lawal, for having a baby out of wedlock.
More than 90 contestants arrived in Nigeria last week to start
the contest after the Nigerian federal government gave assurances
it would not allow the stoning sentences to be carried out.
Muslims have expressed anger that the contest, describing it as
"a parade of nudity" and offensive to their religious
sensibilities. The contestants are currently on a tour of the
mainly Christian south, while the contest itself is scheduled
for 7 December in the capital, Abuja.
were fears that the violence in kaduna might spread to the volatile
city of Kano and other mainly Muslim towns farther north.
/ 19 / 2002
Article: "Human Rights Watch testifies on Benue
Rights Watch, the US-based international human rights group on
Monday began testifying in Nigeria on the massacre of hundreds
of civilians by the military during ethnic clashes last year in
the country's central region.
group's Nigeria researcher, Carina Tertsakian, appeared before
a government commission in the capital, Abuja, to defend its report
holding the military culpable for reprisal attacks against unarmed
civilians after 19 soldiers were killed by a local militia.
commission, headed by Okwuchukwu Opene, a judge of Nigeria's federal
high court, was appointed by President Olusegun Obasanjo to probe
the causes of the ethnic conflicts which have wracked Benue, Taraba,
Nasarawa and Plateau states in the last two years.
defended the rights group against suggestions by the counsel to
the security forces, Bello Fadile, that its report blaming soldiers
for killing over 200 civilians of the Tiv community was full of
"fabrications" and "half-truths".
operations in Benue State were well planned," she said. "All
the witnesses we interviewed confirmed that the military operatives
came in large numbers and the command structure of those who executed
the killings was perfect, showing that the authorities gave their
overwhelming evidence that soldiers carried out the killings,
the military authorities in Nigeria have yet to officially accept
responsibility for the massacre.
initially defended the deployment of the soldiers to the region
where Tivs and their Jukun neighbours were locked in conflict
over land disputes. But last month he apologised to a delegation
from Benue State on a courtesy visit to the presidential residence
for the killings.
Benue killings and a similar attack also ordred by the government
in Odi town, in the southern oil region in 1999, were among reasons
given by federal legislators for their move to begin impeachment
proceedings against the president.
testimony of Human Rights Watch is expected to last two days.
/ 18 / 2002
Article: "Blast rocks newspaper office in central
least five people were seriously injured when explosions rocked
the offices of a newspaper in Nigeria's central region city of
Ilorin on Friday.
of the National Pilot were busy working on the paper's weekend
edition when explosions shook the building in a suspected bomb
attack, forcing the roof of the building to cave in. Five people,
including a woman and four men were seriously injured.
spokesman, Chris Olakpe, who confirmed the incident, said bomb
experts had started investigations to determine the cause of the
blasts. He also denied earlier media reports that five people
had been killed in the incident.
Yomi Olabanji, editor-in-chief of the newspaper told reporters
he suspected explosives had been flung on the roof of the building
by some assailants. "I was in my office at about 2.25 pm
working when I heard a deafening explosion," he said. "The
thing just came from the roof top. Somebody could have flung them
there and run away."
is widespread belief among the newspaper's journalists that its
role in opposition against the Kwara State government may have
made it the target of violent attacks by those hurt by its criticisms.
National Pilot is owned by Olusola Saraki, a former presidential
aspirant in the All Nigeria People's Party, who leads a faction
of the ruling party in the state opposed to governor Mohammed
has witnessed some of the worst political violence growing in
Nigeria ahead of next year's elections. In August Ahmad Pategi
the state chairman of President Olusegun Obasanjo's ruling People
Democratic Party was assassinated by unknown gunmen.
/ 14 / 2002
article: "Obasanjo pardons former secessionist
President Olusegun Obasanjo has pardoned 80 ex-soldiers who fought
against the federal government during the 1967-70 Biafra War.
decision was announced on Tuesday at the end of a meeting of the
National Council of State, which comprises the president and governors
of the country 36 states.
main beneficiaries were soldiers who had left the Nigerian armed
forces to join the army of the shortlived republic of Biafra.
pardon wipes out the stigma of dismissal," said Ogun State
Governor Segun Osoba, who briefed reporters at the end of the
meeting. The soldiers were also restored to their former ranks,
making them eligible for retirement benefits 32 years after the
end of the civil war.
Nigeria, then governed by Col Emeka Ojukwu, declared itself an
independent state called Biafra following massacres in northern
Nigeria in which tens of thousands of people, mainly Igbos from
the southeast, lost their lives.
months of fighting followed and more than one million people,
mostly Igbos, died in what was then described as Africa's worst
modern war. Ojukwu himself was pardoned in 1981. That enabled
him to return to Nigeria after a 10-year exile in Cote d'Ivoire.[ENDS]
committee issues recommendation on border dispute"
Senate on Wednesday adopted a recommendation by its special committee
that the government prepare the country's armed forces for war
over a border dispute with neighbouring Cameroon.
recommendation by the senate committee on public petitions followed
complaints by legislators representing the disputed Bakassi Peninsula,
awarded to Cameroon on 10 October by the International Court of
Justice. President Olusegun Obasanjo's government rejected the
a diplomatic solution is being sought," the report said,
"efforts should not only be made to strengthen our military
presence in Bakassi, everything must be done to make Nigeria combat
senate also urged that funds be made available to the foreign
ministry to evacuate Nigerians living in Cameroon, whom it estimated
at four million, "in the unfortunate event of war".
said on Monday he would meet Cameroon's President Paul Biya in
Geneva on Friday to seek a solution to the dispute over the oil-rich
peninsula. The meeting, at the initiative of UN Secretary-General
Kofi Annan, would be the first between the two leaders since the
from both countries have clashed on occasion in the disputed frontier
territory in the past decade. Tension has remained high in the
area since the ICJ ruling ended an eight-year legal battle. [ENDS]
shot in clash with security forces"
people were shot dead this week in a clash with security forces
in Nigeria's central Plateau State, news organisations reported.
to the BBC, they were the first victims of a shoot-on-sight policy
introduced two weeks ago by the state governor in an attempt to
curb ethnic and religious violence that has lasted in the state
for a year.
quoted a police official in the state capital, Jos, as saying
that the deaths occurred after persons yet to be identified fired
on a patrolling police officers, who then retaliated.
State's longstanding reputation for peace was shattered in September
2001 by a major eruption of violence between Christian indigenes
and Muslim settlers. More than 1,000 people died in a week of
violence. Since then the state has been the scene of a low-intensity
conflict, in which more than 200 people are estimated to have
/ 11 / 2002
Article: "Supreme Court gives green light to
Supreme Court has unanimously thrown out several guidelines used
by the country's electoral body to deny registration to five political
court's seven judges, led by Chief Justice Mohammed Uwais, ruled
that 11 of 18 conditions imposed by the Independent National Electoral
Commission (INEC) for the registration of political parties were
registration of political parties in Nigeria is governed by the
provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,"
the constitution, a political party is only required to submit
to INEC copies of its logo and constitution, along with the addresses
of its offices and principal officials.
June 2002, INEC had registered only three of 24 political parties
seeking to contest elections due next year. They reasons it gave
for rejecting the others included the fact that they did not have
offices in at least 24 of Nigeria's 36 states.
of the parties challenged INEC in an appeal court and won, but
the commission filed an appeal in the Supreme Court. Following
Friday's ruling, officials of the five parties said they intended
to seek certificates of registration from INEC.
the impediments have been removed we are deemed registered,"
Gani Fawehinmi, lawyer for the parties and leader of the National
Conscience Party, told reporters. "I am happy that the Supreme
Court has enfranchised millions of Nigerians.
Article: "No deaths by stoning, government official
government has said it will not allow people to be stoned to death
on the order of Sharia courts.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Dubem Onyia said in a statement on
Friday that the government was aware of widespread international
concern over recent death sentences imposed by Islamic courts
and would "use its constitutional powers to thwart any negative
ruling which is deemed injurious to its people".
restate that no person shall be condemned to death by stoning
in Nigeria," he said.
has come under severe international pressure for the sentences,
especially after a 31-year-old mother, Amina Lawal, was condemned
to be stoned to death for adultery. This year's Miss World beauty
pageant, scheduled to be held in Nigeria in December, has faced
boycotts by many would-be contestants in protest against the sentence.
total of 12 states in Nigeria's mainly Muslim north have adopted
Islamic law in the past three years. Two other people have appealed
against death sentences for adultery and one for rape.
federal government has repeatedly condemned the sentences as unconstitutional
but had declined to intervene in deference to the country's federal
system. The latest statement is the strongest indication yet that
it is ready to stop the sentences from being carried out.