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FNM Action Update (11/18/97) Increase the heat...
Free Nigeria Movement
P.O. Box 441395
Indianapolis, IN 46244
Phone/Fax +1 (317)216-4590
Listserv: Maiser@listserv.butler.edu, text of message "SUBSCRIBE
Radio Station: Voice of Free Nigeria (VoFN) 11.715 kHz, every Saturday
at 1900Hrs GMT (8:OOpm Nigerian Time)
Nigeria; Nazi Germany of the 90s
- Ibrahim H. Muhammed
For Immediate Release
(Please distribute widely)
"World Conference of Mayors" Need to increase the heat...
Contact: Nasiru Ikharo at (317)216-4590 or PR@FreeNigeria.org
Tuesday, November 18th, 1997
Dear Nigerians and Friends of Nigeria,
Thanks to you, pressure on Mayor Marion Barry of Washington DC
continues to mount in regards to condemnation of his trip to Nigeria.
information reaching us, his office has been flooded with numerous
condemning his trip to Nigeria. Also among other positive developments,
Washington Post has picked up the story (see attachment below).
We have also discovered that the "World Conference of
Mayors" was sponsored in its entirety to a tune of US$25-30 million
taken illegally from NigeriaUs treasury) by the illegal Nigerian
dictatorship led by General Sanni Abacha, although under the pretext of
cosponsorship with certain "corporations". In effect this simply means
that Mayor Barry's trip was paid in full by the "blood money" of
Nigerian people without their permission, a situation comparable to him
going on a trip financed in whole by a drug cartel.
With these revelations, it is important to keep the pressure on
his office to not only make him apologize for taking part in the
proceedings, but also to make him refund to the Nigerian people, through
Nigerian charity (as will be determined by the Free Nigeria Movement)
which provides social services to victims of the Nigerian military's
tyranny [the hungry, homeless, and displaced Nigerian people, especially
Nigerian children], the entire sum (in the conservative range of
to US$25,000) spent to bring and host him and his entourage (his wife
aides) for the purpose of the "World Conference of Mayors."
Please keep sending your messages to him, via the internet,
service or fax/phone. Please make sure you include the following two
1)A full and unreserved apology for insulting the democratic rights of
over 100 million Nigerian citizens whose duly-elected democratic
government has been usurped by the morally repugnant Sanni Abacha led
Nigerian military dictatorship, for his (Barry's) action in recognizing
as the duly-elected Representatives of the Nigerian people, elements
whose loyalty, allegiance and mandate rest not with the Nigerian
citizenry, but with those holding them hostage through the barrel of the
2)A full refund of all the money spent on him and his entourage (his
and other aides) for the purpose of their participation in the
irrespective of whatever he claims the source of funding was. This money
should not be returned to the illegal dictatorship or its
but instead, to a Nigerian charity (as will be determined by the FNM)
which provides social services to victims of the Nigerian military's
tyranny. Or alternatively placed in an escrow account till the
legitimately elected Representatives of the Nigerian people whose
were usurped by General Sanni Abacha on November 17th, 1993 are
Including all the duly-elected Local, State and Federal government
officials. Namely, the Local Govt. Chairpersons (Mayors) and councilors,
State Governors and legislators, the National Assembly (House of
Representatives and Senate), and lastly, the duly-elected legitimate
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Moshood K.O.
Unfortunately, Marion Barry's office does not have a conventional email
address, and all email has to be sent through his website at
http://www.ci.washington.dc.us/MAYOR/mform.htm, for those who don't have
access to a web-browser however, please send your letters to the Free
Nigeria Movement at PR@FreeNigeria.org for onward transmission to his
office. For those who can afford it, please call his office or send him
(202) 727-2980 (voice), (202) 727-6561 (fax) or drop him a letter at the
Mayor Marion Barry
Executive Office of the Mayor
One Judiciary Square
Washington, DC 20001
Free Nigeria Movement
Barry's Nigeria Trip Angers Human Rights
By Vernon Loeb
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 18, 1997; Page B01
The Washington Post
Human rights activists criticized D.C. Mayor Marion Barry yesterday
attending a Nigerian conference subsidized by the host nation's military
government, which has imprisoned and executed political opponents.
Barry left Washington on Saturday for an international mayors
conference in Abuja, Nigeria, his second trip to Africa in five months
third overseas trip in a year. His office announced that Barry would be
making the six-day trip late Friday night, the eve of his departure, and
said all of his expenses would be covered by the event's sponsor, the
World Conference of Mayors.
In a telephone interview yesterday from Abuja, Barry (D)
concern when informed that the Nigerian government is helping to
underwrite the conference. "I wouldn't want the Nigerian government
underwriting my trip," he said.
Johnny Ford, the former mayor of Tuskegee, Ala., who founded
World Conference of Mayors and now serves as its director general, said
the group's meeting in Abuja is being paid for by the Nigerian
and with corporate contributions. The nonprofit organization reported
assets of $5,683 last year and income of $44,233.
"The Nigerian government is certainly helping to underwrite a
of this," Ford said in a telephone interview from Abuja. "But we also
Barry said he accepted the group's invitation so that he could
help educate more than 700 newly elected Nigerian local officials.
"They're thirsty for information, thirsty for ideas that many of
us could give," Barry said.
The Nigerian government, which endured international
two years ago when it executed writer Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other
political activists, thus far has been immune to outside pressure for
democratic and social reforms. The nation of more than 100 million
has staved off international sanctions through an aggressive global
lobbying campaign fueled by the billions of dollars it takes in as the
world's ninth-largest oil producer.
The conference coincides with celebrations marking the fourth
anniversary of the takeover by Gen. Sani Abacha, who personally greeted
the 78 mayors from the United States by repeating his pledge to restore
democracy in October 1998.
"Go round the country," Abacha told delegates. "See things for
yourselves, and when you get back to your countries, narrate the actual
pleasant situation of things."
The State Department, in its most recent human rights report,
said that the record of Abacha's regime "remained dismal" and that "all
branches of the security forces commit serious human rights abuses."
Human rights activists said yesterday that conditions in
Africa's most populous nation, are anything but pleasant.
The Free Nigeria Movement, an international organization
to restore democracy there, said in a statement distributed yesterday
it "is not opposed to the principle of Mayor Barry sharing his wealth
experience in a global setting, but it is greatly disappointed that he,
leading voice in the African-American community, would so brazenly
participate in a conference being hosted by the General Sani Abacha-led
Nigerian dictatorship, unarguably the most repressive regime in Africa
Mwiza Munthali, a spokesman for TransAfrica, a Washington-based
nonprofit group that monitors political and economic issues affecting
Africa, called the World Conference of Mayors' meeting in Abuja "a very
wrong and bad decision."
Melvin P. Foote, executive director of Constituency for Africa,
another Washington-based advocacy group for Africa, said he wished that
Barry had consulted his group and others before traveling to Nigeria. "I
think [we] would have told him, `Don't go,' " Foote said.
Janet Fleischman, Washington director of Human Rights
Watch/Africa, said Barry's presence in Nigeria "is a problem, given that
this government has no credibility and is responsible for very serious
human rights abuses."
Randall E. Echols, who represents Chief Moshood K.O. Abiola, now
imprisoned on treason charges in Nigeria after winning the 1993
presidential election that Abacha voided, said Barry's attempt to
separate his trip from the political situation in Nigeria is naive.
"It's being sponsored by the Nigerian Embassy, which gave
Ford, in his capacity as director general of the World Conference of
Mayors, money for the trip," Echols said. He added that he confronted
about three weeks ago about the Nigerian financing and said Ford told
that the money came with no political strings attached.
"And I told him that's impossible," Echols said.
Barry said yesterday from Abuja that he did not want to minimize
the concerns being voiced by human rights activists about Nigeria. "Of
course, it's a legitimate issue," he said.
The mayor also said he was alert to the possibility of being used by the
Nigerian government. "My civil rights background is so strong that I
could be duped into something," Barry said.
Barry said that he had raised the human rights issue with some of the
Nigerian local elected officials. "They're not going to be dictated to
the military or anybody else," Barry said. "They had free elections, and
they feel strongly about the help they need here."
Echols said the local elections were suspect in many cases, and
called Abacha's transition to democracy "a sham."
Reuters contributed to this report.
) Copyright 1997 The