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Nigeria's new leader 'meets' missing Abiola

NIGERIA'S new military leader has been holding secret talks with the country's best-known political prisoner, Chief Moshood Abiola, the apparent winner of the presidential elections in 1993, a Lagos newspaper has reported.

No one except the Nigerian leadership has known the chief's whereabouts for more than a year. He has been in prison since 1994.

The first meeting between General Abdulsalam Abubakar and Chief Abiola took place just hours after Abubakar was sworn in, following the death of Nigeria's former dictator, General Sani Abacha, said the report.

The details of the talks were not revealed, but the general is said to have told Chief Abiola that the issue of his detention would be "resolved" soon.

Chief Abiola was imprisoned when he declared himself president to commemorate the anniversary of the annulled elections, which he is believed to have won. Since then, his extensive business empire has largely collapsed.

One of Abiola's wives, Kudirat, was killed in 1996. She was an outspoken critic of Abacha, who took power in a 1993 coup.