Thursday, June 11, 1998 Published at 06:57 GMT 07:57 UK
Nigeria's new leader faces sanctions call
Abdusalam Abubakar: following his predecessor's timetable
Listen to a 30 minute radio special from the BBC African Service: 'After Abacha'
Opposition groups in Nigeria have called for international sanctions against their new military leader, General Abdulsalam Abubaka.
They also plan to challenge his appointment in the Nigerian High Court early next week.
Earlier, there had been widespread calls for the release from jail of the man presumed to have won the 1993 presidential election, Chief Mashood Abiola.
He appealed to all Nigerians in exile abroad to return home to join the process of national reconstruction and reconciliation.
In a television broadcast on Tuesday he said: "We shall need the full co-operation of all Nigerians to succeed in this sacred endeavour.
"We wish to extend invitations to all those Nigerians in self exile to return home to join the process of reconstruction, reconciliation and conclusion of the transition programme."
One leading human rights campaigner, Gani Fawehinmi, said the new leader's commitment to the programme of his predecessor, General Sani Abacha, showed he had nothing to offer. He said demonstrations planned for Friday would go ahead.
The correspondent said the new leader gave one thing away in his inaugural speech when he appealed to Nigerians that he described as in 'self-exile' to return home to join a process of national reconciliation.
The correspondent says the test of transition will be whether there is a free choice of candidates or if pressure is applied by the military.
Another senior member of the ruling military, Air Vice-Marshall Isaac Alfa said the government would stick with the October 1 date fixed by General Sani Abacha for the restoration of a civilian government.
But he added that the date for presidential elections, currently August 1, may change.
All five went on to choose General Abacha as their sole presidential candidate.
Nigerian army rulers have repeatedly promised and repeatedly delayed the restoration of democratic rule.