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Commonwealth vs Nigeria

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matt udie

Aug 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/26/96


LAGOS, Aug 25 - Nigeria risks the imposition of further
sanctions by
Commonwealth countries after imposing restrictions on a
ministerial visit, causing its cancellation, diplomats
said on Sunday.

Commonwealth ministers concerned about human rights had
planned to
visit the capital Abuja on August 29-30, but only if they
could talk to
private groups and individuals as well as government

``It is undoutedly a big setback, it seemed as though we
were really
getting somewhere and now it has been thrown back in our
faces,'' one
Commonwealth diplomat said in Lagos.

``We are back where we came from, it is annoying and it's
now the turn
of the Nigerians to show a more realistic attitude.''

Commonwealth ministers will meet in London on Wednesday
to consider
new action. Some countries, including Canada, want tough
measures to
be taken.

``A lot of members were counting on this (mission) being
a great
breakthrough. It doesn't look like it's going to be that
way,'' Canadian
Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy said.
``So it may be that we'll have to now consider collective

Officials have not said what action, if any, might be
taken. In April a
Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) recommended
series of sanctions, including a ban on arms exports to
Nigeria and a ban
on sporting links.

But Nigeria's timely release of eight political prisoners
and fresh promises
to implement a return to civilian rule by 1998 defused
the issue in June.

Both the United States and European Union are also

But all threats have fallen short of an embargo on oil
sales, the one
measure that would really hurt OPEC member Nigeria.

This month Nigeria invited CMAG to visit the capital
Abuja for two days
to continue discussions begun in London in June on the

Then the foreign ministry spelled out strict terms for
the visit: ``That it
should not be misconstrued as a Commonwealth fact-finding

Nigeria says there is no need for a fact-finding mission
after a U.N. team,
which visited in April at the government's invitation,
produced a report
that called for reform of draconian laws but backed the
programme of military ruler General Sani Abacha.

``I know there is pride, that Nigeria felt it was badly
treated in being
suspended, but some Commonwealth countries had done a lot to
Nigeria a chance. I can't think why they would shoot
themselves in the
foot,'' an African diplomat said.

``We still want the Commonwealth to come, but only if
they can meet us.
Otherwise it would just be a farce,'' said Olawale
Fopunda of the Civil
Liberties Organisation pressure group.

Ovo I. Dafe

Aug 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/26/96

E be like say "egbe" go gas for dis one wey
dem dey so. Talk about nerves, our govt.
really have some nerves...

Na di kind nonsense wey Ikimi and im people
go do for London right after (or before) the
commonwealth suspension naim dem dey do again.

Chai, dey neva see pepper...

pompous, ignoramus, bombastic, and oteteristic
(dat last one no dey for dictionary) mugus.

Take it easy y'all !!!!!!

Ovo Dafe
The Nigerian masses: "Abacha na goatie..."


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