CHAIRMAN: Professor E.V.O. Dankwa
VICE CHAIRPERSON: Mrs. Julienne Ondziel-Gnelenga
COMMISSIONERS: Professor Isaac Nguema, Dr. Hatem Ben Salem, Mr.
Kamel Rezag-Bara, Dr. Nyameko Barney Pityana, Mr. Andrew Ranganayi
Chigovera, Mrs. Vera Mlangazuwa Chirwa, Mrs. Jainaba Johm
|Aminu v. Nigeria, Decision, Comm.
205/97 (ACmHPR, May. 11, 2000)
|IHRDA, Compilation of Decisions on
Communications of the African Commission On Human and Peoples’
Rights Extracted from the Commission’s Activity Reports 1994-2001,
at 282 (2002); Documents of the African Commission on Human and
Peoples’ Rights, Vol. 2, at 183 (Malcolm D. Evans & Rachel Murray
eds., 2009); (2000) AHRLR 258 (ACHPR 2000)
22nd session: Commissioner Dankwa
23rd session: Commissioner Dankwa
24th session: Commissioner Dankwa
25th session: Commissioner Dankwa
26th session: Commissioner Dankwa
27th session: Commissioner Dankwa
SUMMARY OF FACTS
1. The complainant alleges that Mr. Ayodele Ameen (hereinafter referred to
as “client”), a citizen of Nigeria was arbitrarily arrested, detained and
tortured by Nigerian Security officials on several occasions between 1995
and the date of the complaint.
2. The complainant alleges that Mr. Ayodele Ameen while in detention on one
occasion was denied medical treatment and also subjected to inhuman
3. The complainant alleges that his client is being sought after by the
Nigerian Security Agents as a result of his political inclination which
manifested itself in his role and involvement in agitation within the
Nigerian society for a validation of the previously annulled June 12 1994
elections by the Nigerian Military Government.
4. The complainant alleges that his client has resorted to the courts for
protection but to no avail by virtue of the provisions of Decree No. 2 of
1984 as amended.
5. As of the date of the communication, the complainant alleges that his
client is in hiding after escaping arrest at the Aminu Kano International
airport, Kano on his way to Sudan.
6. The complainant states that the matter is not pending in any court of
7. The complainant asserts that the following articles of the African
Charter have been violated:
Articles 3(2), 4, 6 and 10(1).
8. The communication is dated 11 July 1997, and was received at the
Secretariat of the Commission on 18 August 1997.
9. At its 23rd ordinary session held in Banjul, The Gambia, the Commission
decided to be seized of the matter and to notify the Government of Nigeria
accordingly. Further information was requested regarding the current
situation of the victim.
10. At its 26th ordinary session of the Commission held in Kigali, Rwanda,
the Commission declared the communication admissible and requested parties
to submit their arguments on the merits of the case.
11. The condition for the admissibility of this case was based on Article
56(5) of the Charter. This provision requires the exhaustion of local
remedies before its consideration by the Commission.
12. The complainant alleged that his client had resorted to the courts for
protection but to no avail, because of the operation of Decree No. 2 of
1984, as amended. This decree, it is alleged contains an ouster clause,
which like most other decrees promulgated by the military government of
Nigeria excludes the courts from entertaining any matter or proceedings
relating to it.
13. Relying on its case law, (see Communications 87/93, 101/93 and 129/94)
the Commission held that local remedies would not only be ineffective, but
are sure to yield no positive result. Secondly, the Commission noted that
the complainant's client is in hiding and still fears for his life. In this
regard, the Commission calls in aid the statement of the representative of
Nigeria in Communication 102/93 about the "chaotic" situation that had
transpired after the annulment of the elections (see paragraph 57), the
validation which the complainant's client is agitating for. Given the above
situation and the constructive notice the Commission has about the
prevailing situation under the Nigerian military regime, decided that it
would not be proper to insist on the fulfilment of this requirement.
For the above reasons, the Commission declared the case admissible.
14. The complainant alleges a violation of Article 3(2) of the Charter by
the Respondent State. Article 3(2) provides:
Every individual shall be entitled to equal protection of the law
15. The Commission finds that the rampant arrests and detention of Mr.
Kazeem Aminu by the Nigerian Security officials, which eventually led to his
going into hiding for fear of his life has deprived him of his right to
equal protection of the law guaranteed under Article 3 of the Charter.
16. The complainant had alleged that his client was tortured and subjected
to inhuman treatment on several occasions by the Nigerian Security
operatives. The allegation has not been substantiated. In the absence of
specific information on the nature of the acts complained of, the Commission
is unable to find a violation as alleged.
17. The complainant alleged that the series of arrests and detention
suffered by his client, and his subsequent going into hiding is in violation
of his right to life under Article 4 of the Charter.
18. The Commission notes that the complainant's client (victim) is still
alive but in hiding for fear of his life. It would be a narrow
interpretation to this right to think that it can only be violated when one
is deprived of it. It cannot be said that the right to respect for one's
life and the dignity of his person, which this article guarantees would be
protected in a state of constant fear and/or threats, as experienced by Mr.
Kazeem Aminu. The Commission therefore finds the above acts of the security
agents of the Respondent State in violation of Article 4 of the Charter.
Article 4 provides:
“Human beings are inviolable. Every human being shall be entitled to respect
for his life and the integrity of his person. No one may be arbitrarily
deprived of this right.”
19. It is alleged that Mr. Kazeem Aminu was arbitrarily arrested and
detained on several occasions between 1995 and the date of filing this
communication (11 July 1997). In his explanation, the complainant asserts
that he has resorted to the courts for protection but to no avail, because
of the provisions of Decree No. 2 of 1984 as amended. The Decree, it is
alleged, like other decrees promulgated by the military regime, contains an
ouster clause barring courts from entertaining proceedings relating to it.
20. It is the duty of the State Party to apprehend persons whom it
reasonably believes have committed or are in the process of committing
offences recognised by its laws. However, such arrests and or detention must
be in accordance with known laws, which in turn must be in accordance with
the provisions of the Charter.
21. In the instant case, the Commission finds the above situation where the
complainant's client is constantly arrested and detained, without charge and
any recourse to the courts for redress arbitrary and in contravention of
Article 6 of the Charter. Article 6 provides:
“Every individual shall have the right to liberty and the security of
No one may be deprived of his freedom except for the reasons and conditions
laid down by law. In particular, no one may be arbitrarily arrested or
22. The complainant further alleged that the Respondent State is in
violation of Article 10(1) of the Charter, in that his client is being
sought after by the Nigerian security agents as a result of his political
belief which manifested itself in his involvement in the agitation for the
validation of the annulled June 12 elections. Article 10(1) provides:
“Every individual shall have the right to free association provided that he
abides by the law.”
23. In considering the above, the Commission duly takes cognisance of the
problem created as a result of the annulment of the elections in Nigeria and
its earlier decision thereof (see decision on Communication 102/93). In the
circumstance, the Commission finds the acts of the security agents towards
Mr. Kazeem Aminu in contravention of his right to free association
guaranteed under Article 10(1) of the Charter.
24. Unfortunately, the government of Nigeria has not responded to the
several requests from the Commission for its reaction to the communication.
25. The African Commission in several previous decisions has set out the
principle that where allegations of human rights violations go uncontested
by the government concerned, particularly after repeated notification or
request for information on the case, the Commission must decide on the facts
provided by the complainant and treat those facts as given (see
communications Nos. 59/91, 60/91, 64/91, 87/93 and 101/93).
26. In the circumstances, the Commission finds itself compelled to adopt the
position that the facts alleged by the complainant are true.
FOR THE ABOVE REASONS, THE COMMISSION finds the Federal Republic of Nigeria
in violation of Articles 3(2), 4, 5, 6 and 10(1) of the Charter; requests
the government of Nigeria to take necessary measures to comply with its
obligations under the Charter.
Done in Algiers, Algeria on 11 May 2000.