102/93 Constitutional Rights Project / Nigeria The Facts as submitted by the Author 1. On 12th June 1993 a presidential election was held in Nigeria. Both foreign and local election elections was [sic] free and fair. 2. Three days later, the National Electoral Commission began announcing the election results. The National Electoral Commission announced the results from 14 States including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, before it was restrained by an Abuja High Court from announcing the election results. On June 23rd the Federal Military Government announced the annulment of the June 12th election results. Various reasons were given for this action. The communication alleges that these reasons included the fact that the military government was not happy that Abiola, the Social Democratic candidate, appeared to have won the election. 3. Dissatisfied with the decision of the Federal Military Government to annul election results, Abiola, together with the Governors of all the States controlled by the Social Democratic Party, went to the Supreme Court to seek redress. Shortly thereafter the Federal Military Government promulgated several Decrees ousting the jurisdiction of the courts and restating the decision of the Nigerian government to annul the election results. 4. Decree No. 41 of 1993 states in part: Notwithstanding anything contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1979, as amended, the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act or any other enactment, no proceeding shall lie or be instituted in any court for, or on account of any act matter or thing done or purported to be done in respect of this Decree. 5. The other Decrees promulgated are Presidential Election (Basic Constitutional and Transitional Provisions) (Repeal) Decree No. 39, 1993; Transition to Civil Rule (Disqualification and Prohibition of Certain Presidential Aspirants) (Repeal) Decree No. 42, 1993. These Decrees gave legal backing to the annulment of 12th June election results and ensure that the two presidential candidates were banned from contesting any presidential elections in the country. 6. When activists and journalists protested the annulment of the elections, the government arrested and detained many persons, several of whom are named in the communication. 7. The government also seized thousands of copies of magazines. The News Magazine was proscribed by military decree in June 1993. Even prior to its proscription, copies of the magazine were seized by security agents and four of its editors declared wanted by the police. 50,000 copies of Tempo, a weekly news magazine, were seized by security agents and the police. The State party's response and observations 8. The government has made no written submission in respect of this case. In an oral submission before the Commission (31st March 1996, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Chris Osah, Head of Delegation), the government stated that the elections were held in circumstances that "the government felt were not propitious". The representative of the government stated that "[A]nnulling the election and setting up a government, as was done, to all intents and purposes, was a coup". The government admitted that many people were arrested and detained at the time the elections were annulled, but that "many have now been released". 9. The government contends that it was within its own constitutional rights to make laws for the order and good governance of the country, which it did in annulling the election results. The government felt that there were irregularities which may not have been detected by the observers and that although the elections may have been adjudged to be free and fair by all, there were fundamental problems which the government could not brush aside. In such circumstances the government decided that rather than put in place a government that was going to create more problems, it should form a different government. The government formed was in any case not a military government but an interim national government in which people from both parties were appointed to serve. 10. The government maintains that these actions were justified because some people abandoned their offices and went to their villages, creating a chaotic situation. "What the government did was to salvage a situation that was bad. And whatever laws it made at that time, I want this Commission to look at it in terms of [the government] holding a solution to the problem, not as if this were geared to any particular group of 1

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