Treatment by government authorities of non-Ijaw supporters of militant Ijaw groups (1998 to May 2000) [NGA34472.E]

In the sources consulted by the Research Directorate, reports of the activities of militant Ijaw groups do not specifically mention the involvement of non-Ijaws in these activities. However, two reports from The Guardian relate to the detention of persons whose ethnicity is unclear.

In November 1999, The Guardian reported that 56 persons who had been arrested "in connection with the disturbances in Ajegunle" the previous weekend were from various tribes (3 Nov. 1999). The disturbances involved clashes between Ijaw residents and supporters of the O'odua People's Congress (ibid.).

A 31 December 1999 Guardian report stated that the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, and the Police Commissioner, were being sued by three persons in detention. They were suing for their release and, according to the report, they had been detained by police on 2 November 1999 after police arrived at a Lagos church and "raided" it in search of "militant Ijaw youths who allegedly took shelter there during the Ajegunle mayhem" (ibid.). The Guardian reported that according to a deposition filed with the Lagos High Court:

apart from whisking the detainees away, the police ... [allegedly] also killed many women and children in the shoot-out that followed the raid at the church.
Tanimowo [the deponent] further averred that the police set the church on fire and proceeded to the junction roundabout ... where four refugees were burnt by them (police).
Tanimowo, who is also second in command in the church, said since the incident, members of the church, sympathisers and relations of the applicants have gone to police stations to seek their release to no avail (ibid.).

The report does not mention the ethnicity of the detained persons.

In other information, a spokesperson for the Council of Ijaw Associations Abroad (CIAA) alleged that security agents in Bayelsa State engage in "indiscriminate harassment of youths," without stating whether non-Ijaw are included (The Guardian 23 Nov. 1999).

A 3 January 1999 Post Express report noted that "The People's Democratic Party has thrown its weight behind the agitation by the Ijaw youths of the Niger-Delta, for a better deal from the Federal Government and oil companies in the area, with a promise that it would find lasting solutions to their plight if it forms the next government." However, the party also stated that dialogue would be more effective than confrontation (ibid.).

For further information on the Nigerian government's response to events in the Niger Delta region, including those involving militant Ijaw groups, please consult NGA34455.E of 26 May 2000 and Human Rights Watch Crackdown in the Niger Delta (May 1999) available in Regional Documentation Centres. For information on "The Chikoko Movement, a network of ethnic minority groups active in the Niger Delta region, and the treatment of its members, please consult NGA34342.E of 11 May 2000 and NGA34-57.E of 19 April 2000.

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 sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


The Guardian [Lagos]. 31 December 1999. "Cleric, Two Others Sue Okiro, Commissioner Over Detention." [Accessed 29 May 2000]

_____. 23 November 1999. "Troop Deployment Will Hurt Democracy, Say Groups." [Accessed 29 May 2000]

_____. 3 November 1999. "Police Arraign 56 for Ajegunle Riot." [Accessed 29 May 2000]

Post Express [Lagos]. 3 January 1999. Tom Chiahemen. "PDP Supports Ijaw Agitation." [Accessed 26 May 2000]

Additional Sources Consulted

Africa Research Bulletin: Political, Social and Cultural Series [Oxford]. January 1998 - March 2000.

IRB databases



Resource Centre. Nigeria country file. January 1998 - May 2000.

World News Connection (WNC)

Internet sites including:

Keesing's Record of World Events [Cambridge].

Newswatch [Lagos].

Nigeria News Network.

Post Express [Lagos].