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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 7, 1998


Death of M.K.O. Abiola of Nigeria

I was deeply saddened to learn of the sudden and untimely death of M.K.O. Abiola, a distinguished citizen and patriot of Nigeria. I extend my heartfelt condolences to his family and to all of the people of Nigeria.

Members of a U.S. delegation, led by Under Secretary of State Thomas Pickering, and Nigerian officials were with Chief Abiola when he fell ill. They accompanied him to the hospital with a physician and Government officials, and witnessed physicians at the State House clinic work to try to save Chief Abiola.

I have been encouraged by the efforts of the new head of state General Abdulsalam Abubakar to restore public confidence in the Government of Nigeria and to take crucial initial steps to embark on a credible transition to civilian democratic rule. I urge the Government of Nigeria to continue and to expedite this transition and call upon all the people of Nigeria to contribute peacefully and constructively to build a brighter future for their country.

In this time of tragedy, I wish to reaffirm the longstanding friendship of the people of the United States for the people of Nigeria.

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