BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Africa
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Monday, 25 June, 2001, 07:46 GMT 08:46 UK
Nigeria struggles with its past

President Obasanjo set up the commission
By Nigeria correspondent Barnaby Phillips

The special human rights commission set up by the Nigerian Government to investigate abuses under previous regimes begins its final and longest session on Monday in the capital, Abuja.

Over the next several weeks, the commission, known as the Aputa panel, is due to hear 110 cases.


Very few important revelations came out of the Lagos hearings and this failure has been repeated elsewhere

Amongst the hundreds of witnesses summoned are three former military heads of state.

The commission, modelled roughly on South Africa's truth commission, was also intended to help achieve reconciliation.

It has had successes. Its hearings in Lagos late last year attracted enormous public interest as some of the most notorious members of the late General Sani Abacha's government came under cross-examination.

But very few important revelations came out of the Lagos hearings and this failure has been repeated elsewhere.

All too often, important witnesses have not told the truth or have simply not bothered to turn up.

General Sani Abacha
Members of General Abacha's regime have been cross-examined
If the commission can convince three former military rulers to come to its hearings in Abuja, it will go a long way to enhancing its reputation.

Afterwards, the commission will submit a report to the Nigerian Government.

This may include general observations on how abuses can be avoided in the future, as well as recommendations that specific cases should go back to the law courts.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

25 Oct 00 | Africa
Horrors of the Abacha regime
22 Jan 01 | Africa
Nigeria hears Ogoni oppression
05 Jun 99 | Africa
Nigeria to probe human rights
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories