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This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published
by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action
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Nigeria: US Senate Bill Introduced
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Nigeria: US Senate Bill Introduced
Date Distributed (ymd): 951118
Washington Office on Africa
Update - November 18, 1995
Republican Senator Nancy Kassebaum, Chairman of the Senate
African Affairs Subcommittee, yesterday introduced a bill
which, if passed, would impose additional but still limited
sanctions on the Nigerian government. The bill is co-
sponsored by Senators Leahy (D-VT), Feingold (D-WI), Jeffords
(R-VT), Simon (D-IL) and Pell (D-RI). A new bill on the same
issue is also expected to be introduced in the House of
Representatives by Representative Donald Payne (D-NJ) and
Kassebaum's bill adds new sanctions, including a ban on all
new U.S. investment in Nigeria, including the energy sector;
and a freeze on the personal assets of top officials of the
Nigerian regime. The bill stops short of the comprehensive
embargo on Nigerian oil which many groups are calling for.
But it does call for the U.S. to build international support
for a multilateral arms embargo, and for consideration of a
unilateral arms embargo within three months after enactment.
Groups supporting democracy in Nigeria will be considering
over the next weeks whether the Kassebaum bill is strong
enough to deserve support as a first step, or whether there is
the possibility for finding support in Congress for even
The measures in the bill move significantly beyond the
sanctions already imposed by the Clinton administration, and
are sure to meet intense opposition from oil companies and
others opposed to economic sanctions against the Nigerian
The press release and summary of the bill prepared by Senator
Kassebaum's office are attached below:
Nancy Landon Kassebaum
United States Senator, Kansas
For Immediate Release
Kassebaum Seeks Sanctions against Nigeria
Washington, DC-November 17, 1995-In response to the executions
of nine political activists last week in Nigeria and
deteriorating economic and political conditions in the
country, Senate African Affairs Subcommittee Chairman Nancy
Landon Kassebaum, R-Kan., introduced legislation today
imposing a series of sanctions against the Nigerian
"The situation in Nigeria has reached the point where we
simply must respond in a forceful and clear manner," Kassebaum
said. "General Abacha and the Nigerian military leadership
must understand that the United States will not stand idle as
they drag their country into chaos."
The legislation imposes several new, tough sanctions including
a ban on all new U.S. investment in Nigeria, including the
energy sector, and a freeze on the personal assets of top
officials of the Nigerian regime. In addition, the measure
urges the President to build international support for other
actions, including a U.N. arms embargo, a multilateral oil
embargo, and a U.N. Human Rights Commission condemnation.
The bill also codifies a number of sanctions already imposed
by the administration, including a ban on foreign aid,
military sales, and export financing; a termination of air
flights between Nigeria and the United States; an end to U.S.
support for Nigeria the World Bank, IMF and other
international financial institutions; and a visa ban on any
Nigerian who formulates, implements or benefits from policies
which hinder Nigeria's transition to democracy.
"We must send an unambiguous and tough signal to General
Abacha," Kassebaum said. "If you move toward respecting human
rights and instituting a new, civilian regime, the sanctions
will be lifted and we will welcome Nigeria back as a partner
and friend in the international community. If you continue to
move in the wrong direction, the isolation will grow and the
economic price will be high."
Contact: Mike Horak - Press Secretary, Joel Bacon - Deputy
Press Secretary. (202) 224-4774.
Summary of Kassebaum Nigeria Sanctions Bill
November 17, 1995
The United States, working in concert with the international
community, should maintain a policy toward the Government of
Nigeria that is designed to protect internationally recognized
human rights, expedite the transition to democratic, civilian
government, and promote equitable economic development.
Codifies Current Sanctions
* No foreign assistance to the government
* Opposition to loans for Nigeria at the international
* No air flights between the United States and Nigeria
* Visa ban on the Nigerian leadership and their families
* No Eximbank, OPIC or IDA financing or activities for
Imposes New Unilateral Sanctions
* Prohibition on new U.S. investment in Nigeria
* Assets freeze for Nigerian leadership
* Sense of Congress that Nigeria should be suspended from
Encourages Multilateral Sanctions. The President should-
* Pursue a U.N. arms embargo against Nigeria
* Seek a multilateral oil embargo
* Pursue a resolution condemning Nigeria at the U.N. Human
Three months after enactment, the President must report on
progress toward democracy and respect for human rights. If
substantial progress has not been made, he must report on
steps toward a multilateral oil embargo as well as the
possibility of future actions, including unilateral oil
embargo, and a ban on the export of refined petroleum products
This material is made available by the Washington
Office on Africa (WOA). WOA is a not-for-profit
church, trade union and civil rights group supported
organization that works with Congress on Africa-related
legislation. Reposting or reproduction (with
acknowledgement) is welcomed.