HC Deb 21 October 1953 vol 518 cc1944-6
5. Mr. Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the conclusions of the Conference with Nigerian representatives regarding the Constitution of the Colony.

7. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a detailed and comprehensive statement of the subjects discussed, the decisions taken and the recommendations made by the Conference last August in London with Nigerian representatives; and what steps he proposes to take to implement those recommendations.

Mr. Lyttelton

I would refer the hon. Members to the Report of the Conference, which was published as Command Paper No. 8934.

Mr. Brockway

Will the right hon. Gentleman watch carefully the situation in Nigeria in this transitional period and secure the rights of minorities, as, for example, in Northern Nigeria?

Mr. Lyttelton

It is part of my duty to watch the situation while the constitutional instruments are being prepared.

Mr. Hughes

Is it not a fact that there are still outstanding problems, such as the one relating to the status of Lagos, which are not dealt with in the document referred to; and will the right hon. Gentleman make a statement on that subject?

Mr. Lyttelton

There are still outstanding questions, but the matter whether Lagos should be the federal capital in the federal area was referred to me for my decision by all the parties at the Conference, who undertook to abide by that decision, which I see no reason to alter.

Mr. Sorensen

Is there to be a recall of the Conference some time in the New Year? Will it be the same Conference?

Mr. Lyttelton

Yes, Sir. We hope to have a further Conference in January, when the constitutional instruments will have been prepared. The date is governed to some extent by the time taken by the Fiscal Commission to resolve the very difficult questions which are before it, but I hope that it will take place before the end of January.

25. Mr. J. Johnson

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why the Minority Report of the Action Group delegation was not incorporated in the Official Report of the Nigeria Constitution Conference.

Mr. Lyttelton

At the meeting at which it approved the draft of its Report, the Conference agreed that a footnote recording the Action Group delegation's disagreement with some of the recommendations should be inserted. This was done.

Mr. Johnson

Does not the Minister admit that it would be a little thing to have added, as an addendum, the report of the Action Group? They would then have gone back in a much better humour. Does not he honestly think that if he wishes to get a settlement of this very delicate and difficult situation out there, he might do this sort of thing and make the atmosphere much more conciliatory on both sides?

Mr. Lyttelton

The hon. Member puts his questions in a very agreeable manner, but on this occasion he is on quite the wrong track. The Action Group withdrew from the Conference, and it is not customary to publish a minority report of someone who is not a member of a conference. They returned to the Conference on the last day, and it was made quite clear by my right hon. Friend, who happened to preside on that day—and words were added to this effect—that the Action Group were quite free to make public any detailed statement they wished to make.

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