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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 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 Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.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

Nigeria: Recent Documents
Date distributed (ymd): 971103
Document reposted by APIC

+++++++++++++++++++++Document Profile+++++++++++++++++++++

Region: West Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+
Summary Contents:
This posting contains a press release from the Africa Fund announcing a New York City Council committee vote to rename a street corner in honor of the slain Nigerian democracy activist Kudirat Abiola. It also provides references to several other recent documents on the situation in Nigeria.

+++++++++++++++++end profile++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Africa Fund

For more information contact
The Africa Fund, 17 John Street,
New York, NY 10038 USA.
Tel: (212) 962-1210 Fax: (212) 964-8570
E-mail: africafund@igc.org

U.S. Ambassador "Convinced" Nigerian Regime Murdered Opponent --
New York City Votes To Honor Slain Democracy Leader

October 27, 1997

New York -- Former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Walter Carrington told the New York City Council today that he was "convinced" that the Nigerian military dictatorship was responsible for the murder of democracy leader Kudirat Abiola in June 1996.

Carrington's charge came in testimony before a City Council committee in support of a motion to name the street corner in front of the Nigerian Consulate in honor of the slain democracy leader. The unanimous committee vote in favor of the renaming is a major political defeat for the Nigerian military government, which mounted an intense effort to block the name change. Final action on the motion is expected on Wednesday before the full Council, where approval is a near certainty. The idea of naming the corner after Mrs. Abiola was suggested by The Africa Fund and a New York City-based Nigerian democracy group, the United Committee To Save Nigeria.

Mrs. Abiola, the wife of imprisoned President-elect Moshood Abiola, was in route to the Canadian Embassy to press for stronger international sanctions when she was gunned down in what the United States Government termed an "apparent assassination."

"Kudirat was the opposition leader the Abacha regime most feared," the Ambassador said. "She was indefatigable in her efforts to unite all those who fought for a return to democracy in Africa's largest and potentially richest country. And for that I am convinced she was assassinated by agents of the military government."

Ambassador Carrington, who represented the United States in Nigeria from 1993 until earlier this month, described to the Council a September 18th raid by heavily armed Nigerian security forces on a farewell party in his honor hosted by Nigerian human rights groups.

Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, internationally respected for his leadership role in the anti-apartheid movement, made a second appearance before the Council to speak in favor of Kudirat Abiola Corner. Mayor Dinkins told the Council that they should do no less for the people of Nigeria than they did for South Africa in supporting the cause of freedom. "The cause of freedom knows no national boundaries and the people of the city of New York know that we can make a critical difference. We know because of our contribution to the peaceful liberation of South Africa. Censure and economic sanctions did in fact work."

"The Council Committee vote today in favor of Kudirat Abiola Corner is a victory for the Nigerian people," said Africa Fund Executive Director Jennifer Davis. "It demonstrates that their struggle for democracy is supported by the people of America. Citizen action is important because the United States buys billions of dollars worth of oil from Nigeria every year. This gives the United States powerful economic leverage over the dictatorship."

Reverend Richard Wills of Harlem's historic Canaan Baptist Church,representing civil rights leader and American Committee On Africa President Reverend Wyatt Tee Walker, spoke about the great concern of America's Christian churches, and particularly the African American churches, about the suffering of Nigeria's 110 million people under the dictatorship. Nigerian democracy activist Edward Opaoroji also spoke in favor of the street change, arguing that Kudirat Abiola represented the aspirations of all Nigerians.

Chief Anthony Enahoro, one of the last great living leaders of the Nigerian independence movement and head of the National Democratic Coalition of Nigeria delivered a moving appeal for Kudirat Abiola Corner. Naming Kudirat a heroine who gave her life for something bigger than herself, he added:

"If it is true that to die completely a person must not only forget but be forgotten, then Kudirat will never die completely, because she will never be forgotten.

"Mr. Chairman and Council Members, yours is the historic opportunity to accord enduring recognition to an inspiring heroine, a victim of an awesome tragedy, a young African woman who dared to confront a brutal military regime and demand democracy and human rights for the Nigerian people -- Kudirat Abiola."


Recently released:

  • From Human Rights Watch (Africa), Transition or Travesty? Nigeria's Endless Process of Transition to Civilian Rule Copies of this report are available from the Publications Department, Human Rights Watch, 485 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10017-6104 for $8.50 (domestic shipping) and $13.00 (international shipping). For more information Human Rights Watch (Africa), 1522 K Street, N.W., Washington D.C. 20005; TEL: 202/371-6592; E-mail: hrwdc@hrw.org; Web Site Address: http://www.hrw.org
  • A joint letter signed by 31 press freedom groups worldwide to the leaders attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Edinburgh, Scotland on 24-27 October, calling attention to the numerous violations in Nigeria against freedom of expression. For further information, contact Akin Akingbulu, IJC, Box 7808, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria, tel/fax: +234 1 4924998/4924314, e-mail: ijc@linkserve.com.ng; or the Canadian Committee to Protect Journalists (CCPJ), 490 Adelaide Street West, suite 205, Toronto, Ontario M5V 1T2 Canada, tel: +1 416 703 1638, fax: +1 416 703 7034, e-mail: ccpj@web.net, Web: http://www.web.net/ccpj
  • The magazine Delta, with extensive background on the Ogoni, Shell and other related issues, has released its October issue. Contact Box Z, 13 Biddulph St., Leicester LE2 1BH UK; tel/fax: 44-116-255-3223; e-mail: lynx@gn.apc.org. A web site (http://www.oneworld.org/delta) has been announced but is not yet operational. The issue can be located, however, at http://www.essential.org/listproc/shell-nigeria-action in files named msg00348.html through msg00360.html


This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC), the educational affiliate of the Washington Office on Africa. APIC's primary objective is to widen the policy debate in the United States around African issues and the U.S. role in Africa, by concentrating on providing accessible policy-relevant information and analysis usable by a wide range of groups and individuals.


URL for this file: http://www.africafocus.org/docs97/nig9711.php