HC Deb 09 July 1930 vol 241 cc410-1

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies if the commission of inquiry into the disturbances in the eastern division of Nigeria has yet made its report; and whether that report is to be published?


I have not yet received any information as to when the report of the commission may be expected. Information has been received from the Governor of Nigeria to the effect that he proposes to publish the report, together with the evidence taken and official documents, as soon as the necessary material is available. I expect, however, that the report will be a voluminous document, and will necessarily take some time to print locally. As soon as copies are received one will be placed in the Library for the convenience of Members.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware that non-Nigerian natives resident in Aba township, in Eastern Nigeria, have petitioned the Governor against the fine of 30s. imposed on every householder under the Collective Punishment Ordinance; that this fine will have to be paid by many natives who used their influence to try to prevent the disturbances, although European residents are exempt from it; and whether he proposes to take any action in the matter?


No, Sir. My attention has previously been called to a report in the Press on the subject, and later reports appear to indicate that fines were not being levied at any rate for the present. The Governor has been asked to forward the necessary information.


Will my hon. Friend take note of the fact that there is very considerable feeling in this country, and in the Colony, against this method of punishing wholesale innocent people?


Yes, Sir; I recognise that there is a feeling against collective punishment. I would point out that in this case there was no personal injury, but a very considerable amount of looting took place at stores, and damage to the amount of over £25,000 was committed.


Is the hon. Gentleman in that sense trying to justify promiscuous punishment?


No, Sir. I am merely stating the facts.