HC Deb 13 January 1998 vol 304 cc189-90W
32. Mr. Savidge

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the progress towards democracy in Nigeria. [20444]

Mr. Tony Lloyd

We and our EU, Commonwealth and UN partners agree that there has been no real progress on restoration of democracy and respect of human rights in Nigeria.

Our concerns about the transition programme include the non-inclusive nature of the process; the introduction of a decree which has enabled the Head of State to remove duly elected local council representatives from their positions; and the fact that the new Constitution of Nigeria has yet to be published and distributed.

We also continue to have serious concerns about the application of the rule of law and adherence to acceptable standards of human rights, including the failure to release political prisoners and detainees, and the limitations of freedom of speech. Since early November several more journalists and human rights activists in Nigeria have been detained without charge, and only two have been released.

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