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Cablegate: Plateau State Update: Emergency Powers Approved,

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

230722Z Jun 04

UNCLAS ABUJA 001118

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV CASC KDEM NI
SUBJECT: PLATEAU STATE UPDATE: EMERGENCY POWERS APPROVED,
COURT CHALLENGES FILED


1. On June 1, both houses of the National Assembly approved
President Obasanjo's petition to establish emergency powers
under Plateau State's State of Emergency (SOE). Included in
the petition are sections regarding detention of persons,
curfew, processions and meetings, and control of arms and
explosives. The President's petition calls for summary
trials and convictions for violators, and gives the sole
administrator the power to detain persons indefinitely.

2. Although the President based his petition on Nigeria's
Emergency Powers Act of 1961, the Senate stripped any
reference to that act from the approved version of the
petition. The House then modified its version, and the
President signed the bill into law.

3. Also on June 1, civil rights activists, including
National Conscience Party chairman Chief Gani Fawehinmi,
filed two suits in Federal High Court in Abuja while the
National Assembly was debating the emergency powers petition.
The suits seek a judicial determination whether whether
President Obasanjo's actions under the SOE, including the
suspension of the elected governor and state Assembly and
appointment of a sole administrator, are constitutional. The
two suits also claim that because the Emergency Powers Act of
1961 is no longer valid, the President's emergency powers
petition is invalid, an argument the Senate sought to head
off by removing references to the 1961 Act. On June 16, the
GON responded to the lawsuits by seeking to have them
dismissed on minor legal technicalities. On June 21, the
Abuja High Court ruled that three of the lawsuits should be
consolidated into a single case and scheduled a hearing for
July 15-17.

4. On June 4 at a breakfast meeting, Gen. Alli was sworn in
as the Plateau State sole administrator by President
Obasanjo. Meanwhile, the suspended Plateau State Assembly
challenged the body's suspension in Abuja and Jos courts,
claiming that the Assembly was ready to perform its
constitutional duties and should not have been suspended. On
June 21, the Federal High Court in Jos adjourned the case to
July 2.
CAMPBELL

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