Message-Id: <581903@isis.Reed.EDU>
Date: 05 Dec 95 14:32:56 PST

Nigerian minister faces protest over hanging

From Reuter. 30 November, 1995

LAGOS, Nov 30 (Reuter) - Nigeria's communications minister hastily left a university campus after lecturers surrounded him with placards protesting the recent hangings of minority rights activists, an independent newspaper reported on Thursday.

The minister, Major-General Adeniyi Tajudeen Olarenwaju, was at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ife in southwest Nigeria on Wednesday to open a workshop on radio communications but left when lecturers demonstrated, Thisday newspaper reported.

Unaware of the planned protest, he had taken his seat in a conference room when lecturers surrounded him with placards denouncing the hanging of writer Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight members of his Movement for the Survival of Ogoni Peoples (MOSOP).

"We Mourn Ken Saro-Wiwa,'' "There Are No Human Rights in Nigeria,'' "We Welcome Sanctions,'' and "International Community Save Us,'' read some of the placards.

The paper said the demonstration was peaceful and the lecturers asked the minister to tell military ruler General Sani Abacha they wanted an immediate end to army rule.

"Apparently embarrassed by the lecturers' action, the minister hurriedly left the conference room and the venue of the workshop,'' Thisday said.

Nigeria has been internationally isolated over the executions, which took place after the government endorsed a tribunal's verdict that the nine were guilty of the murder of four Ogoni chiefs.

Within Nigeria many people have condemned the hangings but there have been no big public protests. Pro-government rallies have been staged in many states and the capital Abuja.