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THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release June 16, 1998

STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY

                    Nigerian Government Releases
                    Prominent Political Prisoners

The Government of Nigeria has released former Head of State Olusegun Obasanjo and eight other prominent political prisoners. We welcome this as an important first step toward national reconciliation and national unity and applaud this decision by the new Nigerian leadership.

In addition to General Obasanjo, those released include oil union leaders Milton Dabibi and Frank Kokori, journalist Chris Anyanwu, human rights activist Beko Ransome-Kuti, politicians Bola Ige and Chief Olabiyi Durojaiye, Uwen Udoh and Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki, the former Sultan of Sokoto.

We hope this action will lead to the unconditional release of all political prisoners and detainees, and will help all Nigerians come together to work in support of a credible and open transition to civilian democratic government. The United States looks forward to improving our relationship with Nigeria as it makes progress towards this goal.

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