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Note: 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 from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

Nigeria: Recent Documents
Any links to other sites in this file from 1996 are not clickable,
given the difficulty in maintaining up-to-date links in old files.
However, we hope they may still provide leads for your research.
Nigeria: Recent Documents
Date Distributed (ymd): 960208

An Open Letter to President Clinton and Members of Congress

December 27, 1995

On November 10, we were all shocked by the executions of Ken
Saro-Wiwa and the eight other Ogoni activists in Nigeria.
Since that time, despite worldwide condemnation, the military
government of General Sani Abacha has remained unbending in
the face of internal and international protest.  While we
appreciate and applaud the efforts taken by the Clinton
Administration and individual members of Congress to isolate
the Nigerian government, the situation demands more clear and
forceful action.

Many prominent Nigerians who have stood up against human
rights abuses and environmental degradation remain in prison
awaiting dire fates, while the Nigerian people continue to
live in fear.  The multinational oil companies, in particular
Royal Dutch Shell, continue their business as usual at the
expense of the environment, human rights, community stability,
and democracy in Nigeria.  Oil is central to the Nigerian
regime, accounting for over 90% of its exports.  Oil wealth
gives General Abacha the means to remain intransigent and to
continue his reign of terror.

We, the undersigned, representing the millions of Americans in
the human rights, Africa-American, labor, church, progressive
investment, socially responsible business, and environmental
communities, urgently call on you to institute sanctions
targeted at the Nigerian oil economy, up to and including a
ban on new investments, a ban on US exports targeted at
replacement parts for the energy sector, and an oil embargo.

The United States has a special moral responsibility for the
continuing oppression and pollution in Nigeria.  We consume
more than 40% of Nigeria's oil and we are Nigeria's largest
customer of oil.  However, Nigerian oil imports make up only
a fraction of total US oil consumption.  Eight percent of our
imports, which is only 3.5% of our total oil consumption,
comes from Nigeria.  It is both economically possible and
morally imperative that we stop the consumption of the oil
that fuels the current regime.

President Nelson Mandela of South Africa has called for a
multilateral oil embargo.  We urge you to support that call
through any number of avenues, including support for Senate
Bill 1419, the Nigerian Democracy Act sponsored by Senators
Kassebaum, Leahy, Feingold, Simon, Pell and Jeffords.
Further, we urge you to take the lead internationally to see
that an oil embargo is agreed to multilaterally.

These sanctions should remain in effect until the Nigerian
government releases political prisoners, repeals repressive
laws, adopts a six-month timetable for transition to a freely
elected civilian government, and guarantees freedom of all
communities affected by oil operations to address
environmental concerns and to seek redress for environmental

Our country should not tolerate the continued abuses in
Nigeria.  We must take strong action to prevent the ongoing
violence in Nigeria against the voices calling for democracy
and environmental justice.


Affordable Housing Development Co. * Africa Faith and Justice
Network * The Africa Fund * American Consumer Insurance
Agency, Inc. * Association of Concerned Africa Scholars * ASEED
* The Body Shop, Inc. * Bread for the World * Center for
Constitutional Rights * Center for Economic and Social Rights
* Chicago Coalition for a Democratic Nigeria * Citizen Action
* Civil Liberties Organization (Nigeria) * Co-Op America *
Coalition Against Dictatorships * Coalition of Black Trade
Unionists * Columbian Fathers Justice and Peace Office *
Committee to Protect Journalists * Development Gap * Domini
Social Equity Fund * EarthAction * Eco-Tropic Works *
Environmental Defense Fund * Environmental Working Group *
Fellowship for Reconciliation * Fenton Communications *
Foundation for National Progress * Franklin Research and
Development Corporation * Friends Committee on National
Legislation * Friends of the Earth * Graham Contracting, Inc.
* Greenpeace * Hantman Foundation * Human Rights Advocates *
Human Rights Watch * International Human Rights Law Group *
International Federation for the Protection of the Rights of
Ethnic, Religious, Linguistic and Other Minorities *
International Rivers Network * International Roundtable on
Nigeria * International Union of Electronic, Electrical,
Salaried, Machine and Furniture Workers * Marion Foundation *
Marvin Blitz Real Estate Company * Maryknoll Justice and Peace
Office * Maryknoll Mission Association of the Faithful *
Mother Jones * Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People
* NALICON (Nigeria) * National Wildlife Federation * Natural
Heritage Institute * Natural Resources Defence Council *
Nicaragua Network * Nigerian Democratic Awareness Committee *
Nigerian Democratic Coalition * Nigerian Democratic Movement
* Nigerian Forum for Democracy * Nigeria Freedom Foundation *
Nigerian Peoples Forum * Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers
Union * Organization of Nigerians in the Americas *
Organization for the Advancement of Nigerians * OzoneAction *
Patagonia * Physicians for Social Responsibility * Progressive
Alliance for the Restoration of Nigeria * Putumayo *
Rainforest Action Network * Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center
for Human Rights * Service Employees International Union *
Seventh Generation * Sierra Club * Sierra Club Legal Defense
Fund * Social and Environmental Rights Action Centre (Nigeria)
* Stonyfield Farm, Inc. * Student Environmental Action Network
* TransAfrica * United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners
of America * United Church of Christ * Untied Methodist
Church, General Board of Church and Society * Unrepresented
Nations and Peoples Organization * Until There's A Cure
Foundation * Washington Office on Africa * Wetlands * White
Dog Cafe * Working Assets Long Distance * WorldView *
WorldWise *

AFRICA NEWS Online/Panafrican News Agency 28 January 1995

***** New York City Council Resolution on Nigeria *****

This is a sample of the more than three dozen news articles,
documents and other resources distributed by Africa News
Online on the World Wide Web each day. To see the full text of
these articles and much more look up Africa News on the World
Wide Web ( For more information:

DOCUMENT ... via AFRICA NEWS ONLINE January 25, 1996

New York - The following is the text of a resolution passed by
a committee of  Council of the City of New York on Thursday,
January 25, 1996 regarding Nigeria. The full council is
expected to vote approval in the next few weeks.

Resolution Number 1002-A

Resolution commending the Nigerian people for their courageous
struggle against repression and tyranny, condemning the
violent actions of the present Nigerian military dictatorship,
calling for the immediate release from prison of Chief Moshood
Abiola, calling upon the United States government to take all
practical steps, including economic measures, to effect the
release of all unjustly detained political prisoners and the
restoration of a free press and civilian democratic government
in Nigeria, and urging all members of the New York State
Congressional delegation to co-sponsor H.R. 2697 and S. 1419
and to work to secure their prompt passage.

By Council Members Foster, Duane, Henry, Michels, Spignor and

Whereas, The nation of Nigeria in West Africa became
independent on October 1, 1960 and was declared a republic on
October 1, 1963; and

Whereas, Military governments have ruled the nation since 1966
for approximately 26 out of 30 years; and with two relatively
brief intervening periods of civilian rule; and

Whereas, In June of 1993, a democratic presidential election
was held and monitored by national and international
observers; and

Whereas, The election was supposed to end military rule in the
Federal Republic of Nigeria, however two separate military
dictatorships have prevented the winner of that June 1993
democratic presidential election from assuming office; and

Whereas, Chief Moshood K. O. Abiola is believed to have won
the election, but the military government of Nigeria, then
controlled by General Ibrahim Babangida, annulled the vote
before formal results were announced and left the country in
the hands of a military-appointed interim civilian government
that was to organize a new election and hand over authority to
an elected civilian president by March 31, 1994; and

Whereas, General Sani Abacha overthrew this transitional
government in November 1993, promising to return the country
to civilian rule, but has nonetheless continued to rule the
country through a military regime; and

Whereas, Chief Abiola has been in prison since June of 1994,
while he awaits trial on charges of treason for proclaiming
himself President in 1994 on the anniversary of the 1993
election, and has, according to his personal physician,
undergone a serious decline in health since his arrest; and

Whereas, The reigning military dictatorship has also banned
the free press, shot and killed peaceful pro-democracy
protesters, and arbitrarily arrested human rights activists,
trade unionists and community leaders in an effort to crush
the democratic aspirations of the Nigerian people; and

Whereas, Human rights investigators from such groups as
Amnesty  International have documented massacres of
defenseless communities by the Nigerian Army and the
systematic use of murder, torture and rape of pro-democracy
activists by government security sources; and

Whereas, On November 10, 1995 nine activists of the Ogoni
tribe, including Ken Saro-Wiwa, a renowned writer,
environmentalist and human rights activist, were executed by
the military government of Nigeria; and

Whereas, H.R. 2697 was subsequently introduced in the United
States Congress by Representative Donald Payne of New Jersey,
as a companion bill to S. 1419 introduced in the Senate, which
would impose a barrage of sanctions against Nigeria; and

Whereas, In 1994, United States oil companies through the
purchase of more than $4 billion worth of oil, indirectly
financed the dictatorship through taxes and royalties on oil
from the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Company,
thereby undermining the Nigerian democracy movement; and

Whereas, Oil exports from Nigeria account for more than 90
percent of Nigeria's foreign exchange earnings and 75 percent
of its budget revenues;   now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York commends
the Nigerian people for their courageous struggle against
repression and tyranny, condemns the violent actions of the
present Nigerian military dictatorship, calls for the
immediate release from prison of Chief Moshood Abiola, calls
upon the United States government to take all practical steps,
including economic  measures, to effect the release of all
unjustly detained political prisoners and the restoration of
a free press and civilian democratic government in Nigeria,
and urges all members of the New York State Congressional
delegation to co-sponsor H.R. 2697 and S. 1419 and to work to
secure their prompt passage.

This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the
Washington Office on Africa (WOA), a not-for-profit church,
trade union and  civil rights group supported organization
that works with Congress on Africa-related legislation. WOA's
educational affiliate is the Africa Policy Information Center


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