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FNM Update (11/21/97) The "Barrygate" affair deepens...
Free Nigeria Movement
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Nigeria; Nazi Germany of the 90s
- Ibrahim H. Muhammed
For Immediate Release
(Please distribute widely)
Update: The “Barrygate” affair deepens...
Contact: Nasiru Ikharo at (317)216-4590 or PR@FreeNigeria.org
Friday, November 21st, 1997
Dear Nigerians and Friends of Nigeria,
Below is an article that appeared in today’s (11/21/97)
“Washington Post”, on the “Barrygate” affair, it is the second one
dealing specifically with his trip, and as you can see, pressure
continues to mount. Please if you haven’t sent a message to Mayor Marion
Barry (of Washington DC) already, do so as soon as possible.
Here are the two demands being made to him in regards to his
recent participation in the “World Confernece of Mayors” held in Abuja,
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, by 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 gun.
2)A full refund of all the money spent on him and his entourage (his
wife and other aides) for the purpose of their participation in the
conference, irrespective of whatever he claims the source of funding
was. This money should not be returned to the illegal dictatorship or
its representatives, 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 mandates were usurped by General Sanni Abacha on November
17th, 1993 are restored. Including all the duly-elected Local, State and
Federal government officials. Namely, the Local Govt. Chairpersons
(Mayors) and councillors, 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. Abiola.
If you have already sent a message, but can send another one,
please do so too. Basically, repeat the same demands (as stated above),
and also tell Barry that you disagree with his stated view point of
there being “no reason” (see attached article) to return the illegally
obtained Nigerian funding used to bring and host him and his entourage
at the “World Conference of Mayors” hosted by the criminal Nigerian
military regime led by General Sanni Abacha.
From all indications, his return of the money has become an
issue, and it would be unfortunate if despite all our collective effort
thus far, we cannot exert sufficient moral pressure on him to do the
Marion Barry might be hoping that he can sit this out, and that
the pressure will die down about this issue, let us prove him wrong on
Unfortunately, Marion Barry's office does not have a
conventional email address, and all email has to be sent through his
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
a fax at:
(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
On Return, Barry Defends Africa Trip
Activists Decry Source Of Travel
By Vernon Loeb
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 21, 1997; Page D01
The Washington Post
Mayor Marion Barry returned home yesterday from Nigeria
defended his attendance at an international mayors conference subsidized
by the country's military government. Barry said he had imparted
valuable advice to newly elected local officials and saw no reason to
return Nigerian government funds that helped pay his way.
"Let me remind the citizens of Washington that Washington is an
international city . . . and part of my official duties is to be a
goodwill ambassador," Barry told reporters at a news conference,
explaining that he had chaired a workshop on tourism during the World
Conference of Mayors in Abuja.
The mayor said he counseled his Nigerian counterparts on
improving the "image of your city, or your country. . . . We talked
about Washington and the kind of image we're working on."
Barry's five-day trip to the conference, announced by
his office only hours before his departure Saturday, triggered criticism
from human rights activists and led one group, the Free Nigeria
Movement, to demand that Barry return "blood money" from the regime of
Gen. Sani Abacha that helped underwrite his trip.
Abacha's government has imprisoned and executed political
opponents after voiding the country's 1993 presidential election and
jailing the winning candidate. Cited by the State Department for its
"dismal" human rights record, the Abacha regime has managed nonetheless
to stave off international sanctions through an aggressive global
lobbying campaign fueled by billions of dollars in oil revenue.
Given the regime's human rights record, Barry said he wasn't planning
to attend the conference and would not have gone at the Abacha regime's
invitation. But he said he began to change his mind last month after
meeting in his office with a group of newly elected Nigerian mayors.
"It was these local mayors that really got to me,"
Barry said. "They were in great need. And I'm convinced the local
elected officials were elected fairly."
Barry said he accepted an offer from the World
Conference of Mayors to pay his expenses and those of an aide, D.C.
government employee Ann Simpson-Mason, without asking the organization
about the source of its funding.
Johnny Ford, the former mayor of Tuskegee, Ala., who
founded the World Conference of Mayors and now serves as its director
general, told The Washington Post in an interview earlier this week that
the Nigerian government "is certainly helping to underwrite a lot" of
the meeting's cost, including the travel expenses of dozens of American
mayors and other delegates.
"I'm not going to get involved with their
internal financing," Barry said, adding that "there's no reason in my
view to return" any funding.
Barry denied that he had made statements at the
conference supporting the Abacha regime, as the Free Nigeria Movement
has alleged. But he acknowledged that he had not been critical of the
government's human rights record.
He said when he spoke of a lack of democracy, it
was in reference to the situation in Washington, not Nigeria.
"I've been around a long time. I've fought the good fight for
democracy," Barry said, "and no government can dupe me,"
Tunde Okorodudu, president of the Free Nigeria
"They have, of course, duped him," Okorodudu
said in a telephone interview.
He said that the 25 Nigerian officeholders whose
visit persuaded Barry to attend the conference "were all propaganda
representatives of Abacha."
Okorodudu and Mukhtar Dan-Iyan,
the group's secretary general, disputed Barry's contention that Nigerian
local government elections in March were free and fair and said any
elections sponsored by Abacha are illegitimate.
They repeated their demand that Barry return all
Nigerian government funds used to finance his trip, which the group
called " `blood money' of innocent Nigerian people . . . a situation
comparable to him going on a trip financed in whole by a drug
Earlier this week, the Free Nigeria Movement --
a group which claims to have 6,000 members worldwide -- distributed what
it said was a dispatch from the News Agency of Nigeria. The dispatch
began: "The mayor of Washington, Mr. Marion Barry, has accused his
country's State Department of confusing the American people about the
situation in Nigeria."
Barry yesterday denied making any statements in support
of the Abacha government, after a reporter read excerpts of the dispatch
during the mayor's news conference.
The mayor also told reporters he would have announced
his trip Friday morning -- a full day in advance -- had he not been
preoccupied by a Washington Post story about his advocacy of a
five-year, $625,000 skybox lease at the new MCI Center on behalf of the
D.C. Sports Commission.
"As you all know, we had a major press conference on my
outrage at The Washington Post for helping to sack the skybox contract
for the Sports Commission," Barry said. "And so we went to Nigeria" just
hours after a news release went out late Friday night announcing the
© Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company