§ 19. Mr. Hugh Jenkins
asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he is aware that Dr. V. Allen, a British subject, was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment with hard labour in Western Nigeria, that the previous charge against Dr. Allen was withdrawn, that he was then re-arrested on a new charge, and that a statement from Dr. Allen was disallowed on the grounds that it had been taken from him by the police by unlawful means; and what action he proposes to take in this regard.
§ Mr. Cledwyn Hughes
With permission, I will state the facts briefly. Dr. Allen was first arrested in Lagos on 16th June and charged under the Federal 222 Nigerian Criminal Code with the offence of managing an unlawful society. On 1st July this charge was withdrawn, and Dr. Allen, then on bail, was formally discharged. He was then charged under the Western Nigerian Criminal Code, with three others on three separate counts involving sedition. The hearing, in a Western Nigerian court, lasted until 10th October, and on 10th November all four were found guilty and sentenced to four months imprisonment on each charge, to run consecutively. Dr. Allen has been given light work in the prison printing shop. During the trial the magistrate heard evidence on the admissibility of a statement alleged to have been made by Dr. Allen and ruled that this statement could not be admitted.
The Government are satisfied that Dr. Allen has had a fair trial and that the British High Commissioner's staff in Lagos have, from the beginning, given him the maximum assistance to which he was entitled. The High Commissioner has kept my office fully in touch and will continue to do so. I am satisfied that there is no case at present for any representations to the Nigerian Government on Dr. Allen's behalf.
An appeal has now been filed. As the case is still sub judice I do not think that it would be appropriate to make any further comment.