[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Kudirat Abiola Corner

                         The Africa Fund
     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
  "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
  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
  "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."
  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.apc.org