Letter: No compromise with injustice in Nigeria

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Sir: While welcoming Nicholas Winterton's concern for British economic interests in Nigeria (letter, 8 July), he must know that legitimate trade thrives in a situation of certainty and stability, and not under the jackboot of a dictator. In spite of Mr Winterton's peroration on the military junta's effort in restoring democracy through a constitutional conference, the simple truth is that General Sani Abacha, who leads the current junta, played a key role in the annulment of the 12 June 1993 election, and has no interest in seeing democracy thrive in Nigeria.

As for the view that sanctions would worsen things, this is the same well-worn line employed by friends of apartheid in South Africa, even when it was clear that sanctions played a key role in forcing apartheid to its knees.

The real threat to the continued existence of Nigeria is the perpetuation of the rule of the gun, not the insistence on an election declared free and fair, not just by international observers, including British parliamentarians, but also locally by General Ibrahim Babangida, the man who annulled the election.

Ultimately, the Nigerian people do not expect the international community to wage their struggle against military dictatorship for them. They recognise that the battleground is at home. What they want is an insistence that the same democratic ideals be accepted the world over, not a compromise with injustice as urged upon us by Mr Winterton. Nigerians will rid their country of this canker-worm, and they won't forget those who helped in the process.

Yours sincerely,


Regional Security Unit

King's College

London, WC2