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Written Answers. - Inquiry into Nigerian Killing.

Wednesday, 12 June 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 466 No. 7

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 59. Mr. M. Kitt Information on Michael P. Kitt Zoom on Michael P. Kitt  asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Dick Spring Zoom on Dick Spring  if he will support the call for a judicial inquiry to investigate the killing of Mrs. Kudiratin Abiola in Nigeria; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12258/96]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Spring): Information on Dick Spring Zoom on Dick Spring The Government strongly condemns the killing of Mrs. Kudirat Abiola, wife of political detainee Chief M. K. O. Abiola, on Tuesday, 4 June 1996 in Lagos. The circumstances surrounding her death must be investigated thoroughly and credibly and those responsible must be brought to justice.

The Nigerian Government has publicly denied any involvement in the killing and has expressed its determination to bring the perpetrators to justice. It has established an investigation team, under the supervision of the Deputy Inspector-General of the Federal Investigation and Intelligence Bureau, to trace and apprehend those responsible. Nigerian human rights and pro-democracy organisations have called for an independent panel of inquiry. A previously unknown group which claims to support the release of Chief Abiola from prison has also claimed responsibility for the murder of his wife and threatened further violence.

The murder of Mrs. Abiola has taken place close to today's third anniversary of the 1993 elections which were annulled by the military government following her husband's successful presidential campaign. Her husband has been in prison since he restated his claim to be democratically elected President of Nigeria on the first anniversary of those elections. Both the death of Mrs. Abiola and her husband's continued detention highlight the urgent and ongoing need for the Nigerian [1880] regime to take specific steps towards an early transition to democracy and full respect for human rights and the rule of law. This cannot take place if the authorities cannot win the confidence of all sides. A prompt and impartial investigation into the death of Mrs. Abiola would be an important measure of their commitment in this regard. The Government will therefore, along with our EU partners, be paying close attention to the conduct and findings of the official investigation and on its implications for human rights and the unhindered participation of Chief Abiola and other political figures in the democratic process in Nigeria.

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