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Wednesday, 19 June, 2002, 10:48 GMT 11:48 UK
Obasanjo impeachment moves blocked
1999 elections in Nigeria
Elections are planned for next year
A behind the scenes deal between senators has derailed an opposition attempt to force Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo to give details of the whereabouts of millions of dollars of public funds.

Olusegun Obasanjo
Obasanjo is autocratic say opponents
The issue of the funds will now be considered by a senate committee before there is any further discussion in the National Assembly.

This is a time-honoured practice for blocking discussion of controversial issues by the assembly, according to our Nigeria correspondent, Dan Issacs.

It is likely to be the death knell for the attempt to embarrass or even impeach the president.

Power cut

The motion before the Senate was expected to be a fight between the senators and the presidency over control of Nigerian finances and a step towards impeachment of the president for his handling of public cash.

The money includes substantial sums recovered from associates of the late military dictator, General Sani Abacha.

When debate started on Tuesday, it was cut short by a power cut in the senate building. When it resumed the Senate president called a closed session, excluding journalists from the chamber.

'Cynical'

Correspondents say a deal was clearly struck during the closed session.

When the Senate returned to open session, the motion on the finances had been put before a committee.

This new obstacle to the move against the president led to a walk-out by some disgruntled senators.

Our correspondent says journalists who cover the Senate proceedings daily were taken aback by what they described as "cynical manipulation" of the discussion.

But the move is unlikely to stop the opposition attempts to pin down the president over his management of government money.


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28 May 02 | Africa
25 Apr 02 | Africa
27 Nov 01 | Africa
16 Mar 01 | Africa
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