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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
  Email:  PR@FreeNigeria.org
  Website: http://www.FreeNigeria.org
  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
  fax at:
  (202) 727-2980 (voice), (202) 727-6561 (fax) or drop him a letter at the
  following address:
                              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
  corporate sponsors."
           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
  Washington Post