HC Deb 09 December 1953 vol 521 cc231-2W
66. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secreatry of State for the Colonies, in view of the misunderstanding by members of the recent Nigerian Conference in respect of their assumption that he would consider determining the position of Lagos only within the scope of four stated alternatives, if he will make it clear that he will welcome discussion between representatives of the Northern Region and representatives of the other regions in order that they may reach amicable agreement on the question of Lagos; and whether the matter can be reconsidered at the January conference.

Mr. Lyttelton

There was no room for misunderstanding, nor was there any reference to "four stated alternatives." Her Majesty's Government would always welcome discussions between political parties and regions in Nigeria likely to promote its interests and unity.

On Lagos, I have already made it clear that if the majority parties of the three regions freely agree among themselves on some alternative solution, I shall be willing to consider it on its merits and in the interests of Nigeria as a whole. But the onus for initiating any such discussions rests with the party which is seeking to secure an alteration in arbitral award which I made at the request of all the parties on the understanding that they would all accept my decision, whatever it might be.

The question whether the position of Lagos can be discussed at the January conference will be a matter for the conference, which will, I imagine, be guided by the outcome of any discussions in the meantime. It would be fruitless to reopen this subject if there were no prospect of an agreed and durable settlement on different lines.