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There were reports of politically motivated disappearances during the year.
On May 24, government security operatives detained one of the imams from the Kaduna Central Mosque for allegedly inciting violence in advance of President Obasanjo's May 29 inauguration. His supporters won a decision from the Kaduna High Court ordering the Government to produce him in court. The Government did not respond to the order, and the Imam remained at year's end missing, presumed to be in detention.
On July 10, Mobile Police abducted Anambra State Governor Chris Ngige, forced his resignation, and held him for 5 hours. Ngige, a member of the ruling PDP, had allegedly pre-signed an undated resignation letter and had given it to Chris Uba, his political godfather. (A political godfather uses bribery and blackmail to help another person to obtain political office in exchange for receiving favors, usually contracts). Uba, with the aid of the Deputy Governor Okey Udeh and others, attempted to forcibly remove Ngige from office. On August 7, as prescribed by the 1999 Anambra State Constitution, a seven-member panel was convened to investigate allegations of "gross misconduct" by Udeh. On August 25, the Federal High Court ordered the panel to halt proceedings based on a motion filed by Udeh. The panel ignored the order and submitted its findings to the State House of Assembly. On September 9, the State House of Assembly voted to impeach Udeh. Udeh filed another suit with the Federal High Court claiming that his impeachment was unconstitutional, questioning the jurisdiction of the panel and State House of Assembly to move for his impeachment. On September 16, the Anambra State High Court issued an ex-parte order to terminate the previous Federal High Court order ceasing impeachment proceedings. On September 20, the Federal Government agreed to abide by the terms of the ex-parte order pending a ruling from a superior court. Legal proceedings were pending at the time of this report.
Members of ethnic groups in the oil-producing areas continued to kidnap foreign and local employees and contractors of oil companies, allegedly to press demands for increased redistribution of wealth generated by joint ventures with the state-controlled petroleum corporation. Most often the kidnappers simply demanded ransom likely to be used for personal gain, or to finance armed aggression between rival ethnic factions in the Niger Delta, particularly the Ijaw and Itsekiri. In all instances, the victims were released unharmed after negotiations between the captors and the oil firms or after the intervention of security forces. In previous years, the firms usually paid ransom and promised improved conditions; however, during the year, the major oil producers have refused ransom demands.Some kidnappings, particularly in the Delta, appear to have been part of longstanding ethnic disputes over resources. Due to limited manpower and resources, police and armed forces rarely were able to confront the perpetrators of these acts, especially in the volatile Delta region. For example, on January 14, unknown assailants kidnapped the Edo State ANPP Chairman from his office in Benin City and held him for 2 days.
On January 28, unknown assailants kidnapped the traditional ruler of Aiyetoro Ota in Ogun State and held him for 3 weeks.
On July 31, armed Ijaw youths kidnapped and later released a local Chevron worker outside of his home in Warri. Chevron reportedly refused to accede to ransom for any kidnapped employee, local or expatriate, at the request of the Government.
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