24 and 25.
asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (1), what action the Government proposes to take in view of the finding of the commission of inquiry that the firing by police at certain places, including that which occurred at Utu Etim Ekpo, in the Calabar province, Southern Nigeria, on 15th December last, by a platoon of 26 men with rifles and a Lewis gun, when 18 women were killed and 19 wounded, was not justified; (2), whether the recommendations of the Aba commission of inquiry into the disturbances in Southern Nigeria last December, particularly as regard the free pardon of certain persons, the desirability of changes in the methods of imposing taxation, and the reconsideration both of the collective fines actually imposed and of the whole subject of collective punishment, are being carried into effect?
It is not proposed to take a decision on the report of the commission until the views of the Government of Nigeria have been received and considered. The transmission of these views has been delayed owing to a change in the administration of the Government of Nigeria, but a telegram has been despatched urging expedition.
Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that, according to the report, out of 13 cases of firing which were investigated, eight were found to be not justified; and can we have some assurance that the officers responsible for these cases are at least being removed to areas which will give their qualities rather less scope?
All I can say is that there has been a change in regard to the Colonial Secretary in Nigeria, which has delayed the receipt of the report, and the Governor himself is ill in this country. We are awaiting the report, which I hope will be here shortly.