Letter: Sanctions needed against Nigeria

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Sir: The anniversary of the executions of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni minority rights activists at Nigeria's notorious Port Harcourt prison falls on 10 November. The murders authorised by an illegal military regime caused outrage worldwide. The Commonwealth suspended Nigeria's membership and threatened further sanctions if improvements were not made on human rights. Other countries withdrew diplomatic representation. At long last the world at large was seeing General Abacha and his henchmen for what they are.

Twelve months on and nothing has changed for the largest black nation on earth. Over a hundred million people are still enslaved by a brutal and corrupt cabal and its greed for the nation's vast oil wealth. The prisons hold thousands of political prisoners, most notably president elect Moshood Abiola, whose only crime was to win the 1993 presidential elections, kept in solitary confinement without trial for almost two and a half years.

The Foreign and Commonwealth office believes that "progress is being made". They should listen to prominent Nigerians like Wole Shoyinka and Chief Raf Uwechue, who call for an oil embargo, banning of further arms sales and, importantly as Nigeria's military masters have salted away many millions in oil revenues, the freezing of assets held in Swiss and Lebanese bank accounts. It is only measures such as these that will bring an end to this evil regime.

TOM ROBBINS

Norton Canes, Staffordshire

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