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Monday, June 8, 1998 Published at 22:25 GMT 23:25 UK

Special Report

Call for democracy in Nigeria

Abacha: opposition groups shedding no tears

World leaders have expressed hope that Nigeria will restore democratic rule after the death of its leader, General Sani Abacha.

Commonwealth Secretary General Emeka Anyaoku: "The country need to pick itself up"
The British Foreign Secretary, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said he hoped there would be "an opening for stable transition to an early return to democracy."

The same view was voiced in Washington. US State Department spokesman James Rubin said: "We believe there should be a civilian transition in Nigeria, a transition that allows for a genuine democratic process, including oppposition parties."

[ image: Chief Anyaoku: Commonwealth hopes]
Chief Anyaoku: Commonwealth hopes
The head of the Commonwealth Chief Emeka Anyaoku, himself a Nigerian, told BBC World Service television: "The Commonwealth would hope and would expect that the Nigerians will decide to go back to the way of democracy and in so doing will gain re-admission to the Commonwealth."

African leaders observed a minute's silence at their annual summit in Burkina Faso to pay their respects to General Abacha.

Delegates said Nigerian officials formally informed the closed session of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) summit of Abacha's unexpected death.

Dismay at death

In Sierra Leone his death was greeted with dismay.

[ image: Kabbah: Regained power with Nigerian help]
Kabbah: Regained power with Nigerian help
Hundreds of people gathered in Freetown to mourn the general.

He was regarded as a hero there after Nigerian troops helped overthrow a military junta and restore the democratically-elected President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah to power.

Togo's Foreign Minister Koffi Panou expressed "sadness" at the death of General Abacha.

He said: "This is the death of a man, a head of state of a country with which Togo and its president had the best of relations.

"We want the Nigerian people to have a president who guarantees peace and security in the region and who promotes the rule of law and democracy, as General Abacha undertook to do."

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1998 Contents
 -  Balloon race
 -  Valentine
 -  Harley Davidson
 -  Welfare Reform
 -  Diana
 -  Chinese New Year
 -  Water Week
 -  Health
 -  Clinton Scandal
 -  Woodward
 -  Bloody Sunday
 -  Eurasia 98
 -  Asian economic crises
 -  Car Crash
 -  1970s
 -  EU Enlargement
 -  Drugs in sport
 -  Encryption
 -  Australian Republic
 -  Food Agency
 -  London Referendum
 -  Karla Faye Tucker
 -  Hooligans
 -  Viagra
 -  Northern Ireland
 -  India Elections
 -  Sri Lanka
 -  liberal democrats
 -  Gulf War Syndrome
 -  WEF Davos
 -  04/98
 -  Pope in Cuba
 -  Elgar
 -  Super Bowl XXXII
 -  PNG
 -  Millennium Dome
 -  US abortion rights
 -  Bon Appetit
 -  Kosovo
 -  Five Nations

06/98 Contents




Queens Birthday Honours


Hong Kong Handover Anniversary


Cardiff summit


Clinton in China


After Abacha

Relevant Stories

08 Jun 98 | World
Abacha: leader with an iron grip

08 Jun 98 | Africa
Abacha dies at 54

In this section

Surprise death prompts calls for democracy