Update to NGA31599 of 8 April 1999 on the present whereabouts of Colonel Kemi Peters [NGA31923.E]

Post Express reported on three consecutive days that a Colonel Kemi Peters of the National War College was among those arrested in December 1997 for participation in an alleged coup plot in Nigeria (22, 23, 24 Dec. 1997). Africa Research Bulletin reported a Colonel Femi Peters of the National War College as among those arrested (Dec. 1997). In February 1998 West Africa reported that Colonel Kemi Peters of the War College was one of three persons not arraigned at the beginning of the "coup trial" (16-22 Feb. 1998, 214), while Post Express reported on 14 February 1998 that Kemi Peters was one of a number of people whose fate would be decided by the Special Military Tribunal created to try those alleged to have been involved in a coup plot.

However, on 28 October 1998 P.M. News reported that Colonel Kemi Peters was

one of the former military aides of Gen. Diya who escaped the dragnet of the Special Investigation Panel. ... He allegedly left the country directly from a party he was attending last December when he heard that he had been linked with a coup plot and had been arrested.
Col. Peters chose to flee Nigeria immediately but returned in September, thinking that the coast was clear with the coming of Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar to power, sources revealed. He is now said to be in a DMI cell undergoing trial for Absent Without Official Leave (AWOL) offence. He was seen last week at the Directorate of Military Intelligence where he is currently being detained.
When P.M. News contacted Lt. Col. Felix Chukwuma, the Army PRO on the whereabouts and fate of Col. Peters, he said: 'I don't know.'

In another account on 9 November 1998 P.M. News reported that

Colonel Olukemi Peters...who escaped abroad in the heat of December 21, 1997 coup, has returned and gone on trial for being Absent Without Official Leave (AWOL). It was learnt that Col. Peters heard his name announced as a suspect the very night the controversial coup was announced and subsequently disappeared into thin air.

Correspondence from the Secretary for Organisation of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) - a Lagos based pro-democracy coalition whose "activities include rendering legal aid and assistance to indigent victims of human rights violations, human rights campaigns and education encompassing workshops, seminars and publications" corroborated this latter information (CDHR 27 May 1999). The Secretary for Organisation said "the military authorities in December 1997 did mention Colonel Kemi Peters as one of the persons arrested for an alleged coup plot. However it was later found out that he was never arrested." He added that Colonel Kemi Peters returned to Nigeria after the death of General Abacha, but was arrested and then court-martialled for being Absent Without Official Leave (AWOL). Furthermore, "although we have no official confirmation of his whereabouts, it is strongly believed he may be in one of the detention centres in Lagos."

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.


Africa Research Bulletin: Political, Social and Cultural Series [Oxford]. December 1997. Vol. 34, No. 12. "Nigeria: Diya Arrested."

Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Lagos. 27 May 1999. Correspondence from the Secretary of Organization.

P.M. News [Lagos]. 9 November 1998. "Nigeria: Today in Nigerian Newspapers." (Africa News/NEXIS)

_____. 28 October 1998. Tunji Wusu. "Nigeria; Coup Suspect Arrested." (Africa News/NEXIS)

Post Express [Lagos]. 14 February 1998. "The Chicken Has Come to Roast." [Internet] http://www.postexpresswired.com [Accessed 6 May 1999]

_____. 24 December 1997. Kelechi Ogbamgba and Philip Nwosu. "Foiled Coup Scheduled for Dec 21, Says Defence Hq." [Internet] http://www.postexpresswired.com [Accessed 6 May 1999]

_____. 23 December 1997. Amaechi Dike, Tom Chiahemen, and Mato Adamu. "Diya, Adisa Arrested for Alleged Coup Plot - 10 Others Also - Reports of Sporadic Shooting in Abuja." [Internet] http://www.postexpresswired.com [Accessed 6 May 1999]

_____. 22 December 1997. "List of Those Arrested." [Internet] http://www.postexpresswired.com [Accessed 6 May 1999]

West Africa [London]. 16 - 22 February 1998. "Africa This Week: Nigeria: Coup Trial Begins."

Additional Sources Consulted

Keesing's Record of World Events [Cambridge]. 1998.

Post Express [Lagos]. Website.

Resource Centre. Nigeria country file. November 1998-present.

_____. Nigeria: Amnesty International country file. November 1998-present.

Electronic sources: IRB Databases, LEXIS/NEXIS, Internet, REFWORLD, World News Connection (WNC).

Two non-documentary sources contacted did not provide information on the requested subject.