Letter: Help for Nigeria

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RUPERT CORNWELL is wrong to compare Nigeria's problems with those of Russia ("A beginner's guide to Africa", 14 March). Most Nigerians will concede that our greatest handicap as a nation is the struggle waged by the "evil triangle". At the apex is the Hausa-Fulani, to the left and right at the base are the Yoruba and the Ibos. The struggle between these three groups to control the federal government is a great impediment.

During the past 15 years of military dictatorship the country has had the most incompetent and corrupt government in memory. The President-elect, General Obasanjo, though an ex-military man, is an able and honest person. Above all, he is a detribalised Nigerian. Once there is a transparent government in which the rule of law prevails, the country will be restored to its place in the community of nations.

What Nigerians expect from friends in this trying period is action to reduce the debt burden. We need capital to rebuild the infrastructure. Sanctions should be removed immediately. Western financial institutions must co-operate with the new government in its effort to recover stolen monies. If Ghana and Uganda can rebuild their shattered economies through honest leadership, I can see no reason why Obasanjo cannot do it for our beloved nation.

DENIS M UMOREN

Yeovil, Somerset

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