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H. Con. Res. 151  (eh) - Whereas the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the international community had been led to believe that the presidential election held in Nigeria on June 12, 1993, would result in a return to full democratic civilian rule in Nigeria; Whereas General Ibrahim Babangida, the head of Nigeria's military government at the time of the June 12, 1993, election, interrupted the release of the election results on June 23, 1993, and later annulled the election, thereby preventing a return to civilian rule; Whereas the election process indicated that voters in Nigeria--a country with a population of approximately 90,000,000 individuals comprising 250 ethnic groups and spread across 357,000 square miles--were expressing a spirit of national unity that transcended ethnic, religious, and regional allegiances; Whereas reported returns suggested that Moshood Abiola of the Social Democratic Party was receiving a substantial majority of the votes cast, leading the poll in 20 of the 30 states in Nigeria; Whereas the annulment of the presidential elections resulted in various forms of civil unrest, which in turn led to the death of more than 100 individuals; Whereas an interim government established by General Babangida on August 27, 1993, and headed by Ernest Shonekan, failed to win the support of the Nigerian people; Whereas General Sani Abacha took power on November 17, 1993, appointing an unelected provisional ruling council to govern Nigeria; Whereas General Abacha and the provisional ruling council, upon taking power, stated their commitment to an early return to civilian and democratic rule, and named several prominent democratic political figures to serve in the government; Whereas the political and economic conditions in Nigeria have continued to deteriorate in the months since Abacha took control of the country; Whereas the faith of the Nigerian people in the viability of the nation as a unified whole must be preserved, and the balkanization of Nigeria guarded against; Whereas the people of Nigeria have not accepted the continuation of military rule and have courageously spoken out in favor of the rapid return of democratic and civilian rule; Whereas on May 15, 1994, a broad coalition of Nigerian democrats formed the National Democratic Coalition calling upon the military government to step down in favor of the winner of the June 12, 1993, election; Whereas the confidence of the Nigerian people and the international community in the provisional ruling council's commitment to the restoration of democracy can only be established by a sustained demonstration of a commitment to human rights, due process, and the return of civilian rule; Whereas the United States would prefer to have a relationship with Nigeria based upon cooperation and mutual support but cannot, and will not, condone or overlook the denial of democratic civilian rule--against the clear wishes of the Nigerian people--by the provisional ruling council or any other body in Nigeria; Whereas the lack of support from the Nigerian authorities on drug trafficking issues has recently forced the United States to place Nigeria on the list of countries penalized for failure to seriously address the narcotics proliferation issue; Whereas continuing credible reports of widespread corruption and questionable business practices in the Nigerian Government, and the lack of cooperation in addressing these problems by the Nigerian Government, further undermines Nigeria's credibility in the international community; Whereas the steps taken by the international community in response to the refusal of the Nigerian military to relinquish power serve both to encourage the people of Nigeria in their legitimate struggle for democracy and to limit the ability of the military to entrench its rule; and Whereas Nigeria's leadership role on the African continent and its international influence will be severely compromised by its failure to rejoin the world community of democratic nations: Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That the Congress-- (1) continues to support the Nigerian people in their commitment to unity and democracy as evidenced by their participation in the June 12, 1993, presidential election in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and in their subsequent insistence on the return to full civilian and democratic rule; (2) endorses the steps taken by President Clinton and the Administration--specifically the restrictions on assistance to agencies of the Nigerian Government, the suspension of military cooperation between the United States and Nigeria, the restrictions on travel to the United States by officials of the Nigerian military regime, and the insistence that full normalization of United States--Nigeria relations depends upon the restoration of civilian democratic rule--to demonstrate United States opposition to the annulment of such election and to encourage the restoration of fully democratic and civilian rule in Nigeria; (3) urges the Administration to continue all actions designed to encourage the restoration of civilian rule in Nigeria, especially the restriction on travel to the United States by officials of the military regime, until concrete and significant steps have been taken toward a genuine transition to a democratically elected civilian government in Nigeria; (4) encourages the Administration to explore additional measures that might be taken, either unilaterally, in cooperation with other nations, or through multilateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, to constructively encourage the restoration of democratic and civilian rule in Nigeria; (5) requests that United States officials, both in the United States and in Nigeria, consistently reiterate United States insistence upon the rapid return of civilian and democratic rule in Nigeria, and that United States Government agencies such as the United States Information Agency and the Agency for International Development, as well as publicly supported agencies such as the National Endowment for Democracy, should provide support for activities aimed at strengthening democratic forces and democratic institutions in Nigeria; (6) condemns the recent arrests by the Nigerian military authorities of Chief Abiola and other political leaders and democracy advocates, as well as the new restrictions imposed on freedom of expression; and (7) urges General Abacha and the provisional ruling council in Nigeria, in order to maintain the viability of Nigeria and restore political stability and to avert the further deterioration of relations between Nigeria and the United States, to-- (A) fully restore freedom of the press, with access to all contemporary political and electoral information, fully respect human rights, and fully restore the independence and authority of the judiciary in Nigeria; (B) immediately release Chief Abiola and the other political leaders and human rights activists who have been arrested or detained; (C) decisively move to resolve the political crisis in Nigeria by setting up a rapid timetable for the full restoration of civilian and democratic rule, unencumbered by the military; and (D) positively respond to United States and other international efforts to constructively encourage the restoration of democracy in Nigeria.


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