excerpted from the book
Deliver Us from Evil
by William Shawcross
Touchstone Books, 2000, paper
In Nigeria, the army was the state. At about seventy-five
thousand men, it was much the biggest in Africa. Defense absorbed
9.2 percent of total recurrent spending and 3.3 percent of capital
expenditure. The military had dominated and abused Nigeria since
it seized power in the sixties, never more so than in the last
five years under Abacha. The military was now loathed, yet it
was almost the only national institution in this vast and disparate
country. The Yoruba in the southwest, the Hausa in the north and
the Ibo in the southeast have always had difficulty in forging
a common purpose. The Biafran war of secession by the Ibos in
1967 was only the most tragic example of the tendency to irredentism.
One former leader once said, "West and East Nigeria are as
different as Ireland from Germany, and the north is as different
from either as China."
The army had always been controlled by the Hausa, and in recent
years, as it abused power more and more, the people of the southwest
Abacha had been the eighth military dictator that Nigeria
had endured since independence in 1960 and the most intransigent.
He had lived a life which can best be described as weird and which
depended heavily on caricatures of despotism. His rule showed
very clearly how difficult it is for the outside world, the international
community, to intervene and change a government which is determined
to pursue its own interests, however obnoxious these seem to much
of the rest of the world.
Abacha's career path in Nigeria had been in the army. By the
early 1990s he had become both army chief of staff and minister
of defense. By now Nigeria was in a state of chaos, particularly
because its succession of military dictators had used their power
to ensure that the country's vast oil wealth profited themselves
above all and no one else. Oil is Nigeria's most important industry,
providing about 80 percent of government revenue, not to mention
the personal revenues of top military officers. Corruption was
not part of government in Nigeria; it was the object of government.
The ruling clique had become more and more deeply involved in
every stage of the petroleum business. Officers took kickbacks
from foreign companies seeking to prospect for oil; they were
bribed by the construction companies that won the contracts to
build rigs and pipelines; they controlled almost every sale of
Nigerian crude oil; and as if all this was not enough, in recent
years they also had begun to siphon off the money used by Nigeria's
oil refineries to turn crude into gasoline. As a result, the people
of one of the world's largest oil-producing countries suffered
crippling shortages of fuel.
The most important moment in Nigeria's descent into misrule
came in 1993. General Ibrahim Babangida, the current dictator,
was under huge international pressure to move the country back
toward democracy, and he staged elections that year that were
intended, the military said, to return the country to civilian
Moshood Abiola's name was a byword for the extravagant acquisition
of wealth in Africa. In the early nineties, he was so close to
the military rulers of Nigeria that it was difficult to say which
needed the other more. With their help, he bought an airline,
farms, factories, a publishing house, a fifty-room ranch in a
suburb of Lagos, with swimming pools, marbled halls and stretch
limos, all protected by razor wire stretched atop high concrete
In 1993, Babangida persuaded Abiola to use his position to
run in the elections demanded by the outside world. He became
leader of a newly formed Social Democratic Party, fighting the
equally novel center-right party. The early returns showed him
to be the winner, with support cutting across religious and tribal
lines in a way which was unprecedented in Nigeria. The military
then seemed to panic; the northern Hausa generals decided they
could not bear the idea of a southern Yoruba president, even one
as entrenched in the murkiness of the system as they were. Before
the votes were all counted General Babangida canceled the elections,
citing irregularities. No doubt some had taken place, but the
election was thought to have been the fairest in Nigerian history.
Abiola went back to making money.
Later that year Sani Abacha forced out President Babangida
and made himself head of state. At once he dissolved the federal
parliament, the thirty state governments and all local councils,
and declared all political parties illegal for the next two years.
But at first there were some reasons to hope, as he promised an
early return to democracy. Nigeria was then in a chaos of corruption.
Inflation was wildly out of control, some $8 billion of oil revenue
was lost (stolen) according to the central bank, the country was
at least $8.4 billion in arrears in paying just the interest on
its huge debt, and the international price of oil (which accounts
for 98 percent of Nigeria's exports) was at a ten-year low.
Abacha's prescriptions provided no cure. The financial crisis
worsened, and he began to exhibit more and more of the paranoia
which eventually consumed him and the country. Unrest grew, but
the opposition was split and weak. Trade unions, once very powerful,
were diminished by increased unemployment and falling real wages
as well as poor leadership. In stepped Moshood Abiola again. On
the first anniversary of his canceled election win, he appeared
before a large crowd in Lagos and declared himself president,
head of the army and head of government. He was arrested and charged
with treason. Nigeria's oil workers then went on strike demanding
his release. Abacha resisted them. Twenty people were killed in
riots in Lagos. Public shootings took place all over the country.
Abiola remained in jail, mostly in solitary confinement. He was
mistreated if not tortured. He already suffered from diabetes
and a weak heart. He was never given adequate medical care. .
Nigeria plunged to ever lower depths of corruption and misrule.
In January 1995, Abacha announced there had been another coup
attempt and he let loose hit squads. Eighty or more army officers
were killed. One general, Lawan Gwadebe, who was alleged to be
a ringleader of the alleged plot, was hung upside down, had his
fingernails torn out and was smeared with excrement. c Then, in
another snub at the opinion of the international community, Abacha
arrested General Olusegun Obasanjo, head of state from 1976 to
1979 and the only military ruler ever to leave office voluntarily.
He also intensified a campaign against the Ogoni tribe from southern
Nigeria, which was protesting the exploitation of their land and
resources by the Shell Oil Company. Protestors were shot or locked
into detention camps, where the men were beaten and the women
raped. General Obasanjo was sentenced to death along with many
other senior former officials. Eventually most of these sentences
were commuted to life imprisonment.
That October, Abacha announced a new three-year transition
to civilian rule. But only a month later he committed the act
which brought the furious condemnation of the outside world. He
executed Ken Saro-wiwa, the Ogoni playwright and environmental
activist, and eight other Ogoni activists. They had been tried
on trumped-up charges of murdering their political opponents.
Appeals for clemency came from all over the world, including from
Boutros Boutros-Ghali and from the leaders of the Commonwealth,
in particular South African president Nelson Mandela.
To show his contempt for outside opinion Abacha had the men
executed while the Commonwealth heads of government were meeting
in Audkland, New Zealand. As a result, Nigeria was suspended from
Abacha's brutality increased rather than diminished his sense
of paranoia. Throughout 1995, 1996 and 1997 more military officers
were dismissed or arrested on suspicion of disloyalty. Abacha
spent much of his time secluded in the marble fortress he had
built himself in the midst of the military complex of Aso Rock
in the center of the new capital, Abuja. He trusted only the presidential
guard; other brigades were deprived of ammunition so that they
should not be threats. In December 1997, Abacha announced he had
foiled another coup attempt, led by the deputy head of state,
Lieutenant General Oladipo Diya, who, with eleven other officers,
was arrested, tried, found guilty and sentenced to death.
Oddly enough, however, outside Nigeria, Abacha's rule had
some good effects. In 1996, Nigeria brokered a peace agreement
to end Liberia's appalling, nihilistic seven-year civil war. And
in Sierra Leone, an intervention by ECOWAS, the Economic Community
of West African States, was led by Nigeria and proved vital in
helping restore the democratically elected government and overthrowing
the vicious rebel junta which specialized in cutting off the hands
of peasants, though Nigeria suffered heavy casualties among its
Many foreign interlocutors found Abacha reasonably pleasant
to meet. He always asked after people's families, and he did not
behave in a bombastic manner. He was deeply superstitious and
spent a general's ransom scouring Africa for the best marabouts,
or fortune tellers.
Abacha depended heavily on a small coterie of foreign businessmen
who made fortunes during his regime and, in turn, serviced his
needs. Those he favored had helped him accumulate a vast fortune
abroad, said to be over $6 billion. There was a Lebanese "mafia"
that is said to have made billions of dollars from its deals with
the military. Its members would fly in and out of Abuja on private
jets, bringing girls or whatever else Abacha and his cronies ordered.
Other prostitutes came in on state aircraft including, I imagined,
the one on which we were now flying.
Abacha functioned only at night. In the early hours the anterooms
of the garishly marbled statehouse would be lined with cabinet
ministers, senior civil servants, foreign officials and businessmen
all waiting nervously for an audience with the dictator, who would
very often be drunk and occupied with his imported prostitutes.
As we flew over the Sahara, Annan said he had been concerned
about Nigeria since becoming secretary general. Realizing that
Abacha was impervious to public criticism and deaf to public pleas,
he had tried to deal with him quietly.
A few weeks after his appointment, in January 1997, Annan
had flown to Lome, the capital of Togo, to take part in a mini-summit
convened by President Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo on the Zaire
crisis. At that time the rebels against Zaire's president, Mobutu
Sese Seko, backed if not controlled by such neighboring countries
as Rwanda and Uganda, were marching toward the capital, Kinshasa.
It was an odd encounter, Annan's first experience of President
Eyadema's cult of "authenticity." "You go to these
meetings," Annan said, "and the room is packed with
more dancers and singers than delegates. Whenever the president
speaks they get up and cheer and sing and dance, and cry that
he is the greatest, and so on. The same thing happens for other
speakers, too. So it takes a long time."
Sani Abacha was taking part in the Togo summit and Annan used
the time to get into long discussions with him on the release
of prisoners and the transition to democratic rule in Nigeria.
I asked the secretary general what Abacha was like to deal with.
He said he "was very mild mannered; you wouldn't think he
had it in him to do all the things he had done. But then Saddam
was equally calm, and so you wonder if their sensitivities get
With Abacha in Lome was General Abdulsalam Abubakar, an officer
who had served with UNIFIL, the UN peacekeeping force in South
Lebanon. Annan thought him clearheaded; he spoke well and came
across as a serious professional officer. When Abacha left the
room, Annan told Abubakar that Nigeria had to break with the past,
come back into the international community and play its role in
After that meeting in Lome, Annan took to telephoning Abacha
at regular intervals to try to persuade him of the need to release
prisoners. Abacha would speak to him always very late at night
Nigerian time. "He used to say, 'Maybe next year,' and I
would say, 'Next year is too late,' " Annan related.
When Annan asked for clemency for General Diya and the other
officers sentenced to death with him, Abacha replied that clemency
was a mistake. If he had not shown clemency to Obasanjo and others
arrested in the last few years then General Diya might not have
plotted against him. Annan hastened to assure him that leniency
had been right.
By now it was dear that Abacha's plans for the transition
from military to civilian rule were devised so that he could "succeed
himself." The five presidential parties he had allowed to
be created had all adopted him as their presidential candidate.
He had weathered the visit of and protests by the pope. He had
arrested more critics without problem. The country's oil, squandered
though it was, still allowed him to ignore the world. But then,
suddenly and unexpectedly, on June 8, Abacha died.
The next day General Abubakar was installed as president.
Annan called to congratulate him. The secretary general had agreed
with Abacha before his death that he should send his foreign minister,
Tom Ikimi, to New York to discuss the release of political prisoners.
He now suggested to Abubakar that Ikimi should still come. Abubakar
agreed. Annan went to sign the condolence book at the Nigerian
mission at the UN.
A week after Abacha's death Abubakar began to release political
prisoners. In a television broadcast he asked Nigerians to "give
peace a chance. There is no nation in the world that does not
make mistakes. When such mistakes are made there is no use crying
over spilt milk." In the outside world he was knocking at
an open door. The West considered the stakes in Nigeria enormous.
On June 22 Tom Ikimi came to see Annan secretly at the secretary
general's residence on Sutton Place. He was a changed man. Gone
was the arrogant spokesman of the military who would lecture all
critics on the need not to interfere in Nigeria's internal affairs.
Ikimi was now almost meek. He said that Abubakar thanked the secretary
general for the two phone calls he had made and noted that Annan
had signed the condolence register at the permanent mission. The
death of General Abacha had been a shock to the entire country
whatever one may have thought of him as an individual. Annan said
Abacha had played an important regional role. He had in mind the
Nigerian army's intervention on the side of the elected government
in Sierra Leone.
Ikimi said Abubakar felt the secretary general could help
Nigeria put behind it the difficult experiences of the last three
or four years. He wanted to use the "window" of General
Abacha's death to resolve Nigeria's fundamental concerns. Nigeria
took seriously the comments of those who said it should resume
its rightful place in Africa and play a role in the world. General
Abubakar, he said, was committed to a transition to democratic
rule but had to engage in "consultations" before proceeding.
But Abubakar wanted the secretary general's support for an extension-not
to extend his time in power but to ease the transition.
Looming over everything was the question of Abiola. When and
under what conditions should he be released? And what then? His
supporters, mainly from the southwest of the country, insisted
either that he should assume the presidency as soon as he was
released or at the very least that he should head a government
of national unity. But an Abiola-led government would be hard
if not impossible for the military and the five political parties
that had agreed to support Abacha's presidential candidacy on
August 1 to accept.
Annan asked about a government of national unity involving
Abiola. Ikimi thought the idea unrealistic.
No one knew what Abiola himself felt about it all. In 1995
he had turned down the offer of being released on bail on condition
that he play no part in politics. One of the last people to see
him in detention, his doctor, was quoted as saying that Abiola
was singing religious songs to himself. Annan said that Abiola
should be released as soon as possible. He said that General Abubakar
had already generated quite a lot of goodwill. The Canadians,
as head of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, were prepared
to let bygones be bygones and work with him, and so was the United
States. Ikimi said that if Annan went to Abuja to give Abubakar
his blessing, Abiola would be released. Annan said that he wanted
to help Nigeria's transition to democracy.
The foreign minister offered to send Annan a plane. We were
now on it.
After about a six-hour flight from Vlenna, over the Mediterranean,
Algeria and Niger, a country I had once crossed by car in search
of the camel caravans which still carry salt across the desert,
we arrived in Abuja, the purpose-built and thus rather aseptic
capital in the center of Nigeria. On the usual airport red carpet
Annan was met by Ikimi. Rather to Annan's surprise and the disappointment
of some of his staff there were no press or television cameras
at the airport-no one to whom he could read the statement which
they had carefully prepared, stating that he was here to help
the transition to democracy. There was then a forty-minute drive
along good, wide empty roads into the town. In his suite Annan
gathered his staff; they marveled at the low-key nature of their
arrival. There were not even any messages from any leaders of
civil society, heads of nongovernmental organizations or human
rights groups. Annan said he wanted to be sure he saw such people,
but he wanted to choose them himself, not have the government
His principal objective was to promote "an early, credible
and genuine return to civilian rule." He would ask the general
how he planned to implement the commitment to return Nigeria to
democracy, emphasize the importance of adhering to the October
1, 1998, transition date, encourage specific confidence-building
measures and offer UN support for advancing these objectives.
Annan believed that Abiola's release posed a dilemma for Abubakar.
If Abiola was to become a conduit for "people power,"
Abubakar might either repress it, which would damage his standing,
or permit demonstrations, which would undermine his authority
with the military. In any case there would be considerable legal
grounds to say no to any move to make Abiola president at once,
as his followers wished. The 1993 election, held under the 1989
constitution, had been annulled by decree before the final results
could be tabulated or announced. The claim that Abiola was the
winner was based on partial results. He had never taken the oath
of office. Even if he had been elected and sworn in, his term
of office would have ended in 1997. There was no legal, constitutional
basis for declaring him president now. However, he should be released
and allowed to play a part in the transition to democracy. Annan
believed that if the military were to be persuaded to leave, some
kind of protection had to be offered to them. The amnesty given
to Chilean officers when the military relinquished power at the
end of the 1980s offered a precedent.
Now in the gossipy atmosphere of Abuja, we began to hear more
rumors about the circumstances of Abacha's death. Officially,
he was said to have suffered a heart attack. Unofficially, Nigeria
was alive with rumors that this attack was caused by overexertion
in bed. Among the more lurid tales was that Abacha was on this
occasion in bed with two women, one of whom ran screaming from
the bedroom when he started having convulsions. There were other
stories that he had taken an overdose of Viagra or that his Viagra
had been laced. In early July one Nigerian magazine, Newswatch,
reported that some of the rumors about Abacha's death "stretched
the imagination quite a bit" and that his widow was sure
that dose friends had killed her husband.
The New York Times subsequently reported that U.S. intelligence
analysts thought there was evidence that Abacha was poisoned by
enemies in the military elite while in the company of three prostitutes
The Times reported that the poisoning might have been done by
an officer or clique of officers "who believed that the general's
hold on power was destroying what little good name the army had
left " The cause of death was now less important than the
effect. The end of Abacha had enabled Nigeria to come in from
The next morning Annan and his party were taken in a convoy
of black Mercedes into the sprawling suburban fortress of Aso
Rodk, Abacha's heavily fortified lair. Behind white walls in carefully
manicured gardens where gazelles and ostriches grazed, a series
of huge white hydraulic gates blocked the road against cars and
attack by armored vehicles. While Abacha was alive the gardens
were studded with tanks and armored personnel carriers. The gazelles
and ostriches had shared the grounds with what seemed like legions
of men in trench coats and dark glasses, toting submachine guns.
They were gone now. The mood inside the complex was relatively
In the center of the fortress was a low building, white and
slightly Moorish on the outside, heavily and garishly marbled
inside. Annan and his team of UN officials were brought through
a group of Nigerian photographers into an extraordinary paneled
council chamber where Annan and Abubakar sat on twin-throned leather
chairs on a raised podium; Abubakar's people sat at a long desk
running down one side of the room, Annan's on the other.
The first part of the meeting included senior military and
police officers, secretaries of state and ambassadors. Nothing
of interest was said. But when all the others were cleared out
for the two principals to meet alone, the conversation was, said
Annan later, "very frank." Annan became convinced that
Abubakar was ready to hand over power, feeling that fate and historic
accident had landed him in this job. The general said that only
when he took over did he realize what a desperate situation Nigeria
was in. The country was on the edge of explosion, he thought.
Annan asked Abubakar about his wife, a judge. Abubakar replied
she was a judge, but there would have been an obvious conflict
of interest so she had stepped down when he became president.
In the last three weeks Abubakar had consulted widely, with
women's groups, trade unions, churches. Annan encouraged him to
move fast; he told the general that he had done very well so far,
and should now create a sense of momentum and inevitability. Abubakar
said he was concerned that Nigerian civil society does not know
what it wants. (But when does it ever? asked Annan later of his
Abubakar said he wanted to move ahead as soon as possible,
but feared that October 1 would be too soon for credible elections.
Annan responded that if he delayed them, he must set out clearly
the reasons and establish a new timetable at once. The general
said he was prepared to release Abiola, but only if he gave up
his dreams of becoming president. If he would confirm in writing
that he would renounce the mandate of 1993, he could be out tomorrow.
Abubakar evidently hoped that Annan, the magician of the Iraq
crisis, would try to persuade Abiola to do this. Annan said he
hoped he could see Abiola quickly.
That evening Annan was secretly driven from the hotel back
into Aso Rodk and led to a villa near the statehouse where he
had seen Abubakar. There he found Abiola watching the World Cup
quarterfinal between England and Argentina, but with the sound
Annan shook hands and asked about his health. Abiola said
he was fine, despite his long incarceration. Then he asked, "Who
"I am Kofi Annan, the secretary general of the United
"What happened to the Egyptian?"
Annan explained that he had taken over as secretary general
from Boutros Boutros-Ghali at the beginning of 1997. Abiola rushed
toward him and kissed his hand. He said he had been told only
that he was being brought to meet "an important person."
Abiola's isolation had been almost total. He did not know
that the pope had recently visited Nigeria and pleaded in vain
for his release. And it was only the day before that he had been
told that Abacha had died of a heart attack in early June. Annan
asked a security guard to turn up the sound on the television
so that he and Abiola could talk with less risk of being overheard.
The guard fiddled with the remote control; nothing happened and
he said the set was faulty. (It turned out that this was not true.)
Abiola told Annan that he had had no radio since the summer of
1994. He had seen no one in his family since 1995. His guards
refused to talk to him, so long ago he had given up trying to
find out from them what was going on in the world. AD he had to
read were the Bible and the Koran. But he had been shown one newspaper
story. It was about the death of one of his wives, Kudirat, who
had campaigned for his release and was assassinated in 1996.
Annan asked Abiola what he would do if and when he was released.
Would he claim the presidency as of right since 1993, and as many
of his supporters demanded? Abiola said he had no such intention-that
he knew the world had moved on since 1993. "I want to go
to Mecca to give thanks for being alive," Abiola told Annan.
"I do not have to be president to live my life." Annan
was greatly encouraged, believing that he would be able to get
Abiola quickly released.
Abiola astonished Annan. He seemed both humble and realistic
despite his long and cruel isolation. But he did not want to make
any commitments in writing at this stage. He said that if he signed
anything rather than just give his word, he would be accused of
cowardice "and I will be destroyed socially and politically.
I'll become a leper." He said he would prefer to meet with
Abubakar and give him the same assurance, on his word of honor,
as he had given Annan.
The lobby of the Hilton began to fill with people eager to
see Annan. His surprise arrival was greeted with enormous enthusiasm
by opponents of the regime. Everyone he met-the fabulously costumed
traditional rulers; leaders of nongovernmental organizations;
Nigeria's former leader General Yakubu Gowon, who had defeated
the 1967 Biafran rebellion and been generous in victory; newly
released political prisoners-was elated by his presence.
Staying in the same hotel were President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah
of Sierra Leone and President Charles Taylor of Liberia. They
had been invited to a "mini-summit" by Abubakar, particularly
to see if they could, with Annan's help, bring an end to Sierra
Leone's civil war, in which Liberia was aiding the nihilistic
rebels. It was easy for me to arrange to see Kabbah, who explained
the difficulties of rebuilding his country while the terror wrought
by the rebels persisted. When I went down the opposite corridor
to try to ask for a meeting with Taylor, the way was barred abusively
by the thugs with whom he surrounds himself. Taylor, unlike Kabbah,
is intransigent. The "mini-summit" was unable to resolve
By Thursday morning it seemed that Abubakar was unable or
unwilling to release Abiola while Annan was in Nigeria. Annan
had a final meeting with the general. "I told him that he
should release all political prisoners, including Abiola, at once
and that I was about to announce in public that I expected him
to do so," Annan said to his staff. Then, at a parting press
conference Annan said, 'A11 Nigerians insist on a return to democracy
and . . . a peaceful, credible process leading to free and fair
elections." He said that Abubakar had agreed to release all
political prisoners, including Abiola, promptly. He revealed that
Abiola had told him he would not seek the presidency as of right.
In an oblique reference to some of Abiola's militant supporters,
Annan said, "I found him in some ways more realistic than
some of us outside."
We left Nigeria as we had arrived-on a Nigerian presidential
jet-bound for Ghana, Annan's homeland. Half an hour into the flight,
the plane shuddered and slowed as the flaps extended and stuck.
The pilot rushed into the cabin and announced that we had to turn
around at once and land again in Abuja as quickly as possible.
Some members of the party were visibly anxious. Not Annan, who
continued talking and reading. When the plane landed safely he
said, "I often tell my wife I am a happy fool."
Not much worked under the Nigerian military, but they had
made sure of their own comfort. Another executive jet was available
within minutes to carry us on to Accra, Ghana, where a full dress
guard was lined up to meet the country's most famous son. He was
then driven to the beautiful but run-down fort on the ocean where
President Jerry Rawlings has his domain. After a long talk with
Rawlings, and a night at a government guesthouse, we left on the
Nigerian jet for London, where Annan reported to the British foreign
secretary, Robin Cook, on the partial success of his visit and
his belief that Abubakar was committed to ending military rule.
They also discussed the secret moves in which Annan had been involved
to find an end to the UN's impasse with Libya over the Lockerbie
bombing. Shortly afterwards the British and American governments
announced that they would now accept what they had hitherto always
refused- a trial under Scottish law in a third country, the Netherlands.
General Abubakar was not as prompt in releasing Abiola as
he had given Annan to believe. A week later, on July 7, while
Abiola, still imprisoned, was meeting with Thomas Pickering, the
US. under secretary of state, he collapsed. Pickering attempted
artificial resuscitation, but Abiola died. There were inevitable
suspicions among his family and supporters that he had been murdered,
perhaps by poison. An autopsy conducted by an international team
of pathologists found that his death was, in fact, caused by heart
disease. But conspiracy theories remained rife and led to riots
in which scores of people died.
What was clear was that by their malign neglect of Abiola's
medical condition his jailers had hastened his death. If General
Abubakar had released him to Annan as he had indicated, Abiola
would have had medical attention which might have identified the
gravity of his condition. The good offices of the secretary general
had not been used well enough.
In other respects, General Abubakar kept his promises in a
remarkable manner. He was indeed a bridge to democracy. Assembly
elections were held at the end of 1998, and in May 1999 presidential
elections followed. They were won by former military ruler and
former political prisoner Olusegun Obasanjo, and he was inaugurated
General Abubakar faded into the background a year after he
had unexpectedly come to power and sought Annan's assistance.
The days of roadblocks manned by soldiers with submachine guns
demanding bribes, of coups and rumors of coups, of international
sanctions and pariah status, were gone. Obasanjo began to attack
corruption. Nigeria was accepted back into the world. The International
Monetary Fund and the World Bank resumed lending and the country
was readmitted to the Commonwealth.
In June 1999, General Obasanjo became the first Nigerian leader
in more than ten years to address the United Nations.
Us From Evil
International War Crimes