Nigeria and Democracy

In the article "US Redirects Africa Policy," May 26, the author mentions a visit by the Nigerian head of state to Washington, stating, "Clinton refused to meet with Maj. General Ibrahim Babangida when the Nigerian military leader visited Washington recently."

This statement is incorrect. President Babangida has never visited Washington since assuming office.

It is unfair to identify Mr. Babangida with dictatorship. Immediately on assuming office as president, he released political detainees held without trial, abrogated a decree making it an offense for journalists to criticize public officials and later introduced a carefully phased program of political transition. Consequently, democratically elected political institutions are now operating in Nigeria at the local, state, and federal levels of government. Primary elections for presidential nomination have also taken place in March this year, and the two Nigerian political parties selected candidates for presidential election held on June 12, 1993. Zubair M. Kazaure, Washington Nigerian Ambassador to the US

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please fax letters to (617) 450-2317 or address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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