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Cablegate: Leaders of Yoruba Militia Group Arrested

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



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: The leaders of two warring factions of the
outlawed militant group Odua People's Congress (OPC),
Fredrick Fasehun and Gani Adams, were charged by a Lagos
Magistrate Court last week. OPC is the Yoruba militia
responsible for violent communal clashes in Lagos and other
parts of the Southwest. The prosecution charged Fasehun and
Adams with six counts, including murder, arson, looting,
unlawful assembly and illegal possession of arms. End

2. Adams and Fasehun were arrested October 21 in Lagos and
briefly detained in Abuja. On 27 October, police in Lagos
arraigned Fasehun, Adams and 11 others before an Igbosere
Magistrate Court, a precinct within Lagos metropolis. They
were brought to the court amid tight security. Chief
Magistrate Akintunde Isaac upheld the prosecution,s
application that the OPC leaders be remanded to prison to
allow full investigations by the police into their violent
activities during the recent communal conflicts in Lagos.

3. The OPC leaders are charged under Section 236 (3) of
Criminal Procedure Law Cap C18, Volume 2 Laws of Lagos State.
They are charged with committing the following offences:

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---&On 21 October, in Iyana-Ipaja, Lagos, the accused
persons conspired to commit arson, murder, malicious damage
to properties-offences punishable under Section 516 of the
Criminal Code;

---They killed Sunday Ojo, Kehinde Obayemi, Alaba Alimi,
Iduyatu Kareem and others yet to be identified;

---The accused persons set ablaze houses, vehicles and other
valuable properties;

---They unlawfully assembled themselves and participated in a

---They caused fear and harm to members of the public by
openly carrying out firearms without license and;

---They managed the two factions of an unlawful body called
the OPC, an offence punishable under Section 63 of the Lagos
Criminal Code.8

The above charges if successfully proved carry many years of
imprisonment without an option of fines.

4. The police clamped down on the OPC following bloody
clashes between the two rival factions that paralyzed
commercial and social activities in parts of Lagos two weeks
ago. At least 8 people were reportedly killed while 50
vehicles and other valuable properties were destroyed as
members of the militia battle each other for supremacy. Last
week police also arrested at least 40 other members of the
two OPC factions in Ajegunle and Ajamgbadi, two sprawling
Lagos suburbs where these factions often flex their muscles.

5. COMMENT: Since 1999, the OPC has continued to unleash
terror on hapless residents in Lagos and other parts of the
Southwest in total disregard for Nigerian laws. These recent
arrests may signal a strengthened resolve by the Nigerian
authorities to decisively deal with troublemakers in the
country. In the past, feeble attempts were made to clip the
wings of the OPC leaders, but they turned out to be more
empty rhetoric than any serious action. The OPC arrests also
seem to be part of a wider trend of arrests of grassroots
ethnic leaders from around Nigeria. Others recently arrested
include Dokubo Asari, leader of a militant group from the
Niger Delta, Ralph Uwazurike, one of the leaders of the
Biafran separatist group MASSOB, and several dozen members of
the Arewa Youth Congress in the north. Whether these arrests
will eventually lead to any convictions remains to be seen.
Post will continue to monitor this trend and report any
significant developments.


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