HC Deb 31 October 1956 vol 558 cc1414-5
6. Mr. Fenner Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the circumstances attending the arrest of 29 persons who have been sentenced to terms of imprisonment from one to four years for provoking a breach of the peace during the election campaign for the Northern Nigerian House of Representatives.

Mr. Maclay

On 25th September there were disturbances at the village of Tsakuwa in Kano Emirate during the holding of a primary election. 35 persons were later tried under Muslim law in the Emir of Kano's court on charges of disorderly conduct, riot and incitement to riot, and 32 were sentenced to imprisonment.

Mr. Brockway

While welcoming the Under-Secretary of State to his new post, may I ask him if he has read reports of the conditions under which these elections took place? If so, does he not regard them as absolutely fantastic as an expression of democracy, with meetings prohibited, the premises of the Native Authority used only by the Governmental party and the information services, and cinema vans being used for propaganda? Will he establish an inquiry to enable proper democratic arrangements to be pursued in these elections?

Mr. Maclay

I am certainly not prepared to subscribe to the view that the present system of elections in the north is undemocratic. I agree that liberty must be preserved, but so must public order.

Forward to