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Abiola's Death: Abubakar ordered to appear in Chicago court or face arrest.

July 12, 2006

A Chicago district court hearing the case of former head of state, General Abdusalam Abubakar (rtd) has ordered him to appear in person in the Chicago courtroom or face contempt charges. This order followed refusal by Abubakar to file a status report as ordered by the district court as well as his refusal to appear in person at the court hearing as required by Judge Kennelly of the United States District Court,Northern District of Illinois. Subsequently, General Abubakar and his lawyer, Emeka Ugwonye have been ordered to appear in court on July 26 2006 at 9:30 AM


Earlier today, in an interview with the Plaintiff’s attorney, Mr. Kayode Oladele, he said that the show cause order was made by the court sua sponte, that is, on its own accord and it is strictly between General Abubakar, his attorney and the Court. The Court, according to Oladele, “was simply not impressed by their disobedience to its order and the reasons they gave for their failure to obey the order.”  On what would be the consequences of disobeying the show cause order?  “Well, I don’t want to hazard any guess for now, but I think it would be in his best interest to obey the Order because the consequences of disobeying it may be very unpleasant.” said Oladele



With this order, Judge Kennelly is setting the ground for the arrest of the defendant for his involvement in human rights abuses during military rule. An international arrest warrant may be issued for General Abubakar should he fail to honor the order of the court. In making the order, the district high court judge ignored a motion filed by Abubakar lawyers claiming that he is a member of the “National Security Council” and as such could not travel out of Nigeria without clearance citing security reasons but that claim was immediately dismissed by foremost human rights activist and president of the West Africa Bar Association (WBA), Femi Falana. He dismissed the claim by Abubakar of his membership of the National Security Council as fallacious, saying no such position exist, instead he  drew attention to the “Council of State” which he said is an advisory body to the president, which all former heads of state belong. He spoke to Saharareporters yesterday at the John F Kennedy Airport in New York on his way to Lagos enroute London. According to him, “General Abubakar doesn’t need any clearance to travel out of Nigeria from anyone, therefore his excuse is not tenable and I am really happy that Judge Kennelly could see through the veil”.


Just as Judge Kennelly was giving his order, human rights activists in Nigeria have stepped up high level contacts in New York with Human Rights Watch regarding General Ibrahim Babangida, leaders of the human rights community have commenced discussions with Mr. Reed Brody, a veteran human rights defender and special counsel with Human Rights Watch in New York to bring charges against IBB over his well documented abuses of human rights during his eight year rule. Reed Brody is also responsible for bringing former Chadian dictator, Hissene Habre’s case to the attention of the international community leading to his arrest in Senegal. Saharareporters asked Mr. Femi Falana about plans to bring IBB to trial and he said serious discussions are going on between the human rights community in Nigeria as well as international human rights organizations and international justice groups to effect the trial of IBB for his crimes against humanity very soon.

The human rights community in Nigeria is planning to give IBB the “Habre Treatment”

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