18-19 August 1994 demonstrations in universities in Benin City, Edo State capital, in particular, at Ekpoma (Edo State university), and any subsequent arrests, including whether those detained are still imprisoned [NGA30976.E]

For information on student demonstrations in Edo State in August 1994, please consult NGA21864.E of 21 September 1995. For information on a 17 August 1994 riot in Benin city, Edo State, please consult NGA20343.E of 5 April 1995.

On 18 August 1994 AP reported that approximately 5,000 people rioted in Benin City and burned down a hotel owned by the Labour Minister. Two days earlier rioters, many of them university students, had burned down two mansions belonging to the same minister, and as a result, the government closed down the University of Benin. On 19 August 1994 DPA reported the Radio Nigeria announcement that the University of Benin had been shut down following "disturbances," and that according to a university statement, students had been requested to vacate the campus the previous day.

The November 1994 Amnesty International publication entitled Nigeria: Military Government Clampdown on Opposition states

In late August at least 45 people, mostly students, were detained in Edo State following protests on 18 and 19 August by students from the University of Benin in Benin City and Edo State University in Ekpoma. Others detained included Ekere Nkanga, staff coordinator of the Civil Liberties Organization in Benin City; and Faith Osadolor, a law lecturer at Edo State University in Ekpoma. Held for several weeks at police stations in Benin City, the detainees were reportedly beaten on a routine basis. Some are believed to have been transferred to Oko Prisons in Benin City in early October, where conditions are apparently very harsh. On 28 September Justice C.O. Idahosa, in the High Court in Benin City, ordered the release of Olu Aderibigbe and 30 other detainees, but the authorities have ignored the order.
Following violent protests in Benin City and Ekpoma in Edo State in July and August in which the homes of a government minister and other government supporters were destroyed, at least 12 people, mostly students, were allegedly killed unlawfully by the security forces, five of them on 21 August when troops fired at protestors marching on the home of former Vice-President Augustus Aikhomu near Ekpoma. Others were reportedly killed or assaulted when the security forces searched student residences in the area; on 21 August Godwin Ehiagwina, a 21-year-old student at Edo State University in Ekpoma, was shot dead in unexplained circumstances by the security forces, and about 30 women students at the University of Benin in Benin City were reportedly raped by soldiers. Some reports suggested that as many as 180 had been killed but human rights investigators have been denied information or access to the mortuary to establish the identity or numbers of those who died.

Reports on the status of the persons who were detained because of their participation in the 18-19 August 1994 Benin demonstrations could not be found.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Amnesty International (AI). November 1994. Nigeria: Military Clampdown on Opposition. External. (AI Index: AFR 44/13/94). London: Amnesty International. [Internet], http://www.amnesty.org [Accessed 3 Feb. 1999]

The Associated Press (AP). 18 August 1994. AM Cycle. Frank Aigbogun. "Oil Minister Urges Workers to be Back by Monday." (NEXIS)

Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA). 19 August 1994. BC Cycle. "Nigerian Labour Minister Calls Up Retired Oil Workers." (NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted

Africa Research Bulletin [Oxford]. Monthly. August-October 1994.

Amnesty International Report. Yearly. 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1994. 1995.

Critique: Review of the Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. Yearly. 1995, 1996, 1997.

Human Rights Watch World Report. Yearly. 1994, 1995.

Keesing's Record of World Events [Cambridge]. Monthly. August-September 1994.

Parliamentary Human Rights Group. June 1996. Kayode Fayemi. Nigeria: Crisis of Nationhood II. (WWW)

Resource Centre. "Nigeria" country file. 15 August-8 September 1994.

West Africa [London]. Weekly. 15 August-18 September 1994.

Electronic sources: Internet, IRB Databases, NEXIS.