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FNM Update (11/21/97) The "Barrygate" affair deepens...

  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
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  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)
  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
  right thing. 
          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
  both counts.  
          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
  a 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
  Nigeria Movement
  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
  Movement, disagreed.
                           "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