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51–645 CC






JUNE 25, 1998

Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations

BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York, Chairman
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
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CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
JAY KIM, California
TOM CAMPBELL, California
JON FOX, Pennsylvania
LINDSEY GRAHAM, South Carolina
ROY BLUNT, Missouri
RICHARD BURR, North Carolina
SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut
TOM LANTOS, California
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PAT DANNER, Missouri
BRAD SHERMAN, California
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
BILL LUTHER, Minnesota
JIM DAVIS, Florida
LOIS CAPPS, California
RICHARD J. GARON, Chief of Staff
MICHAEL H. VAN DUSEN, Democratic Chief of Staff
ALLISON KIERNAN, Staff Associate

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    The Honorable Susan Rice, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of African Affairs
    Ambassador Walter Carrington, Resident Fellow, W.E.B. DuBois Institute
    Ambassador David Miller, President, Corporate Council on Africa
    Dr. Pauline Baker, President, The Fund for Peace
Prepared statements:
The Honorable Benjamin A. Gilman, a Representative in Congress from New York, and Chairman, Committee on International Relations
The Honorable Robert Menendez, a Representative in Congress from New Jersey
The Honorable Susan Rice
Ambassador Walter Carrington
Ambassador David Miller
Dr. Pauline Baker
Additional material submitted for the record:
June 9, 1998 letter to the President submitted by The Honorable Donald M. Payne, a Representative in Congress from New Jersey

House of Representatives,
Committee on International Relations,
Washington, DC.
    The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:03 a.m. in room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Benjamin A. Gilman (chairman of the Committee) presiding.
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    Chairman GILMAN. The Committee will come to order. I have one piece of housekeeping business to take care of, which I believe has been cleared on both sides of the aisle. I ask unanimous consent that Mr. Burr of North Carolina be elected to the Subcommittee on International Economic Policy and Trade. If there is no objection, it is so ordered.
    Today, our Committee meets to take testimony from the Administration and from private witnesses on the prospects for democracy in Nigeria. Since the death of General Sani Abacha on the 8th of this month, there have been rapid developments in Nigeria. The new government, headed by General Abubakar, has released a number of prominent political prisoners and is reportedly in direct negotiations with the Democratic opposition.
    These are very positive developments, and the new government is to be commended for moving Nigeria toward a transition to a civilian democracy. We hope that the Administration has offered to cooperate in an appropriate manner with the new government as it moves in that direction.
    As we offer to cooperate, however, the U.S. Government must continue to emphasize to the new government that it must move forward toward a real transition toward a democratically elected civilian government. And that includes release of all political prisoners, not just the most prominent; repeal of repressive decrees, the cessation of harassment of journalists and political activists and a genuinely open electoral process that will be accessible to all Nigerians.
    All too often, military governments in Nigeria have gotten off on the right foot by releasing political prisoners and making moves toward a Democratic opening, only to crack down later on political activity. We must make clear to the new government it cannot back away from its commitments on democracy without retribution from the United States.
    Additionally, it is clear that the new government will have to account for the election held in June 1993, which was won by Chief Abiola, this most credible election held in Nigeria's history and that must be honored if democracy is to survive in Nigeria.
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    Congressman Payne and I have introduced legislation H.R. 3890, the Nigerian Democracy and Civil Society Empowerment Act. And I thank Congressman Payne for giving a great deal of attention to these problems in Nigeria. This legislation was drafted during the previous military government when there was very little good news coming out of Nigeria. Nevertheless, this legislation remains in point. The bill codifies existing sanctions in Nigeria, all of which are noneconomic in nature, and permits the President to lift those sanctions only if a credible transition to democracy has occurred.
    Moreover, this bill provides for a 3-year, $37 million democracy and governance assistance program. That is not new money, and I point out to my colleagues that it is designed to assist those individuals and organizations in Nigeria who are willing to take risks to advocate democracy and human rights. We have asked our witnesses today to share their views of this legislation and the impact it would have on the current environment.
    I am going to ask Congressman Payne if he has any opening statement.
    Mr. PAYNE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have brief remarks. Let me thank you for calling this very important hearing, and I certainly appreciate the support that you have given to the Africa Subcommittee and our chairman, Chairman Royce, who has been doing a very outstanding job not only in Nigeria but the Continent in general. I think our subcommittee has achieved many goals this year, primarily because of the fine leadership that he has given.
    Let me say that I am certainly pleased to hear that general Abdusalam Abubakar met with chief M.K.O. Abiola, and I understand that Nigerian television last night interrupted the soccer game to announce what looks like his imminent release from prison. So it must be serious if they interrupted the soccer game. But I certainly will believe it when I see Chief Abiola out in Lagos as a free person.
    That is not the only good news. Of course, the good news is that Nigeria has won Group D and will move into the next round, sort of in the sweet 16 moving up to the final 4, if it were NCAA basketball. So, hopefully, the spirit of Nigeria's soccer can, for once, show the Nigerian people that Nigeria can be one nation. If they can have one soccer team and they don't stop to identify the players by region or ethnic group, it makes sense that perhaps this could be a symbol as we move through this millennium into the next millennium for Nigeria to, if necessary, just simply follow the soccer team.
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    After 4 years of hearing about his release, I am certainly optimistic today, especially after the release of nine other political prisoners, including Chief Obasanjo and others from the oil sector and NADECO leaders. The important question is what mental or physical condition Chief Abiola is in and what demands are going to be made for his release and for his continued activities.
    Democratic leaders in Lagos, Nigeria's largest city, have called for the unconditional release of all political prisoners and a swift return to civilian rule, keeping with the August 1 and culminating on October 1 date. Many Members of this subcommittee signed a letter to the President recently requesting that the United States apply pressure to the new government in keeping with this timetable. I would like to submit the letter for the record of this Committee.
    Chairman GILMAN. Without objection.
    [The letter referred to appears in the appendix.]
    Mr. PAYNE. General Abubakar was sworn in as Nigeria's 10th Head of State on June 9th, and as military Chief of Staff for more than 4 years, Abubakar has had a certain public role but with little desire to climb the political ladder. However, he is a leader that we will have to see whether this transition period will be a period that he can hold onto leadership in order then hopefully to turn it over to civilian rule.
    In essence, the position, corruption and economic paralysis is inherited. It does not leave too much room for him to consolidate his appointment in the Provisional Ruling Council while maintaining some semblance of autonomy. In other words, he is in a very tough position.
    Nigeria is the most populous country on the continent of Africa. They have been under military rule for 28 of the last 38 years, since its independence from Britain. Since 1960, a series of coups have plagued the country. In most cases, a coup would mean a struggle between two political groups with one faction prevailing. However, General Abacha's sudden and supposedly natural death leaves room for things to change, hopefully. I think we are seeing good signs, but how committed the new leader is only time will tell.
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    The Civil Liberties Organization has emphatically stated, ''The fate of Nigeria does not rest in the hands of the military and it cannot rest in the hands of any military adventurer who may not have understood that the age of military dictatorship in Nigeria is over.'' In the meantime, maybe the Nigerian soccer team will have the national image on the world scene.
    Once again, Mr. Chairman, I thank you for calling this very timely hearing.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Payne. I am pleased to recognize the distinguished chairman of our Africa Subcommittee, Mr. Royce.
    Mr. ROYCE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This hearing comes at an important point in U.S. relations with Nigeria. Since Nigeria's independence in 1960, it has seen only 10 years of civilian rule. A nation which began by aiming to be a model of a constitutional democracy has instead spiraled into dictatorship and into economic despair.
    Nigeria and all of Africa has suffered, and the United States has been left with some very tough choices. Successive Nigerian military regimes, especially the regime of General Abacha, were determined to ignore international norms on democracy and on human rights. But as the United States and other countries withdrew ambassadors and enacted sanctions, we found Nigeria playing an important peacekeeping role in Liberia and in Sierra Leone. Also, West African states told us they were very concerned about the impact of a political and social implosion in Nigeria. This leads some to urge engagement with the Nigerian Government on issues of mutual concern.
    What is clear is that the indecisiveness on our part is no option. In the wake of General Abacha's death, the United States must take advantage of any opportunity to make progress. And while we need to guard against over-optimism, too often we have looked for salvation in one man, it is now time to talk with the Nigerian Government and the Democratic opposition and as many Nigerians as we can to see if the United States can play a useful role in helping to bring about a genuine transition to Democratic civilian government in Nigeria. That would be a blessing to the people of Nigeria and to the Continent.
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    Mr. Chairman, I look forward to hearing from Assistant Secretary Rice and our other witnesses today. Thank you.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Royce. Our first witness this morning is Assistant Secretary of State for African affairs, Susan Rice.
    Secretary Rice has served in that position since October 1997. Previously she served at the White House as a special assistant to the President and senior director for African affairs. Secretary Rice holds a doctorate from Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.
    This is Secretary Rice's first appearance before our Committee, and we welcome you here today, Madam Secretary. Madam Secretary, you may submit your testimony for the record without objection, and we will proceed accordingly. Please.

    Ms. RICE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, it is a real pleasure to be here before your distinguished Committee to address the issue of prospects for democracy in Nigeria.
    It has been several months since I testified before the Africa Subcommittee on the broad parameters of U.S. policy toward Africa. Since then, the Continent has been the subject of increased and sustained attention, especially in light of the President's historic trip to Africa in March and movement on the African Growth and Opportunity Act.
    The President's trip to six African countries highlighted Africa's progress over the past decade. The days of apartheid, cold war conflict and one-party states are over. The number of democracies has quadrupled in 10 years in Africa, and economic growth has risen from the negative numbers of the 1980's to over 4 percent, on average, over the last 2 years.
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    While I note Africa's continued strides toward peace and political and economic reform, I would be remiss, however, not to mention a few of the recent setbacks. The ongoing border strife between Ethiopia and Eritrea, for example, threatens stability in the Horn of Africa and illustrates just how fragile post-conflict societies can be. I note and appreciate the concurrent resolution passed yesterday by the House Africa Subcommittee on the conflict between these two countries.
    We also deplore and condemn the recent attempted coup in Guinea-Bissau by elements of the armed forces against the democratically elected government, and we remain disappointed by the slow pace of progress in central Africa, especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo-Brazzaville.
    Nigeria, however, stands at an unexpected and important crossroads. Its new leadership has an unprecedented opportunity to open the political process and institute a genuine transition to civilian democratic rule. During this official period of mourning, we extend again our friendship to the people of Nigeria as well as our condolences, and stand with them as they dream of a brighter future.
    The people of Nigeria want and deserve a responsible and accountable government. Their time may well be now. General Abdusalam Abubakar can play a noble and decisive role in shaping his country's destiny by charting a fresh course toward reform in Nigeria.
    At stake is not only Nigeria's relationship with the international community, but also its role as a regional leader in helping to bring stability to a volatile neighborhood and its ability to assume its rightful place on the global stage. Nigeria is large and influential, with an ancient culture, tremendous human talent, enormous wealth and Democratic experience. It is home to over 100 million people, with over 250 ethnic groups, an abundance of natural resources, and the largest domestic market on the Continent. Nigeria has played, and continues to play, a significant role in West Africa, especially as the current Chair of the Economic Community of West African States and through the peacekeeping force ECOMOG.
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    Mr. Chairman, let me be plain. U.S. interests in Nigeria remain constant. We seek a stable, prosperous democratic Nigeria that respects human rights. We also have sought better cooperation with the Government of Nigeria in combating international narcotics trafficking and crime. We hope, as well, to be in a position to promote favorable trade and investment partnerships in one of the largest economies on the Continent. And finally, we hope Nigeria will continue to play a responsible role in resolving regional conflicts.
    Yet it is no secret that there have been serious strains in U.S.-Nigerian relations. The military has ruled Africa's most populous nation for 28 out of 38 years since its independence, and often with an iron fist. Misguided policies, mismanagement and corruption have stifled Nigeria's economy. Basic human rights, including freedom of speech and assembly, have been trampled upon. Former Head of State Ibrahim Babangida annulled the Presidential elections 5 years ago, leading to the military overthrow of the civilian-led interim government. And general Sani Abacha suspended the Constitution and imprisoned the winner of the 1993 Presidential elections, M.K.O. Abiola.
    Moreover, the Nigerian Government detained pro-democracy leaders and political figures who were critical of the government, including former Head of State Obasanjo, along with numerous others including human rights activists and journalists. Military tribunals denied due process to political and other prisoners, prompting both the U.N General Assembly and the U.N Human Rights Commission to condemn the Nigerian Government and call upon it to respect fundamental human rights and restore civilian rule. The government's November 10th, 1995 execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni activists met with swift international responses, including the imposition of additional sanctions by the United States, the European Union and the Commonwealth.
    We were skeptical, Mr. Chairman, but still a little bit hopeful 3 years ago when General Abacha pledged a genuine transition to civilian democratic rule by October 1, 1998. But by any standard, it quickly became clear that General Abacha's transition was gravely flawed and failing.
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    Our road map for measuring democratic progress is universal and unwavering. A credible transition would include: a transparent and participatory process; unconditional release of all political prisoners; provisions for free political activity and party formation allowing all those who wish to run to do so freely; freedom of association, speech and the press; unrestricted access to the media by all candidates and all parties; and impartial electoral preparation and elections open to all.
    The crowning blow for General Abacha's transition came in April this year when the five political parties, all sponsored by the military government, bowed to heavy regime pressure and selected General Abacha to be their sole candidate. The subsequent low voter turnout for the government-organized legislative elections eloquently dramatized the people's widespread rejection of the transition program that was headed toward a predetermined outcome.
    But today, Mr. Chairman, the people of Nigeria have a fresh chance for freedom, an opportunity finally to realize their country's full potential. The United States is heartened by recent promising steps taken by Nigeria's new leaders, including the release of former Head of State Obasanjo and 14 other prominent political prisoners, as well as the announcement by the government that more detainees will soon be released.
    We earnestly hope that Chief M.K.O. Abiola and others will be released swiftly and unconditionally. We also applaud General Abubakar's decision to consult with representatives of various political groups in Nigeria on how to restore credibility to the transition. The new dialog between the government and civil society is a critical and positive precursor to democratization and open and fair elections. We hope these consultations with civil society, human rights and pro-democracy groups will continue and help to tap the energy and will of the Nigerian people.
    The Government of Nigeria has pledged to complete the transition process by October 1, 1998. Some political groups have called for a delay of 3 to 12 months. Our hope remains for a credible and lasting transition in the shortest time possible. Thus, over the next few weeks, our goal will be to encourage the new leadership to move swiftly along the path to democracy. We look forward to establishing a productive dialog with General Abubakar and with other key leaders. At the same time, we will also consult closely and constructively with our friends and allies in Africa and elsewhere on developments in Nigeria. We will pursue with renewed vigor efforts to cooperate with Nigeria on counternarcotics and to resolve outstanding airport security issues and, working with Congress and this Committee, we will aim to increase U.S. assistance to civil society and pro-democracy efforts.
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    Already the lines of communication between the United States and Nigeria are opening. President Clinton called General Abubakar on June 14th to express our hopes for a new beginning in Nigeria. Our ambassador, William Twaddell, met with General Abubakar last week to lay the groundwork for a working relationship that we hope will be of great value to both our countries. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Thomas Pickering, looks forward to leading a delegation to that country in the near future in order to continue our dialog with the new leadership.
    We are investing this high-level effort because the stakes in Nigeria are enormous. A democratic Nigeria is key to a stable and prosperous West Africa, an invigorated African Continent and, thus, to U.S. national security interests.
    Already the United States is the top foreign investor in Nigeria. Nigeria is our largest trading partner in all of Africa. Last year our exports to Nigeria reached $814 million, while U.S. imports were over $6 billion. An open and free body politic can breathe new life into Nigeria's stagnant economy. All Nigerians deserve to benefit finally from the vast wealth of their richly endowed country.
    Ultimately, of course, the success of democracy in Nigeria depends on the Nigerian people. The United States has a unique opportunity to support the people of Nigeria as they work to fulfill long overdue commitments to create a dynamic, prosperous, and democratic society that will help lead Africa into the 21st century.
    Mr. Chairman, I am committed to working with your Committee and the Subcommittee on Africa as we seek to forge a new U.S.-Nigeria relationship in the context of a successful transition to civilian democratic rule. Over the past few years, we have witnessed the demise of apartheid in South Africa, which unleashed the incredible potential of a formally divided nation. What Pretoria is to Africa's southern region, Abuja can be to West Africa and beyond.
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    We look forward to working with Congress to make plain to the new leadership that we are there to support them as they weigh these historic options and choose the right path toward reform. To this end, I pledge my own best efforts and respectfully ask for your continued wise counsel and support. Thank you.
    [The prepared statement of Ms. Rice appears in the appendix.]
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Miss Rice. I would like to recognize the Ranking Minority Member of the African Subcommittee, the gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Menendez, for any opening statement he may have.
    Mr. MENENDEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the opportunity. We were in a markup across the hall, so we were not able to be here at the beginning of the meeting, but I am happy to have heard and read the comments from the Assistant Secretary. I think that she has shown exemplary ability in working on some of these African issues.
    Mr. Chairman, the state of affairs in Nigeria has changed considerably since the Subcommittee on Africa held a hearing on Nigeria's transition process in September. Today we welcome the opportunity for democratic change in Nigeria. Sani Abacha's passing has opened a window of opportunity. It will be up to President Abubakar to decide just how wide and for how long that window remains open.
    Nigeria's size alone makes it a key country in Africa. With a population of more than 100 million, it is home to one quarter of sub-Saharan Africa's population. The future of Nigeria is important to the livelihood and stability of West Africa. Nigeria has been under military rule for 27 of the last 36 years and despite Abacha's periodic references to a democratic transition, little if any progress was made.
    President Abubakar has made a good start toward reversing this trend. His release of political prisoners and the government's present negotiations with Chief Abiola, the winner of the 1993 Presidential elections who was imprisoned by Abacha, are signs that President Abubakar is not tied to the status quo intransigence. At a minimum, Chief Abiola should be released and, in my view, under no circumstances should he be precluded from a future run for the office of the Presidency of Nigeria.
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    One of the questions that concerns me the most is whether President Abubakar has the ability to work within the military structure governing Nigeria and to reform what has historically been an immovable barrier to democracy in Nigeria. Maybe we can hear from the Assistant Secretary on that. The other question that I have concerns the possibility of future conflict related to the north-south ethnic and religious divide in Nigeria. I look forward to hearing responses on that.
    Last, Mr. Chairman, I believe that through this hearing the Committee must call on President Abubakar to move forward and advance the timetable for a prompt transition to civilian rule in Nigeria. I believe that if his intentions are real and if his actions will match those stated intentions, the Congress stands ready to assist in this effort.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity. I look forward to hearing the testimony.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Menendez.
    Madam Secretary, Great Britain has indicated that a junior member of the Blair Government will travel to Nigeria for direct talks with the new Head of State, General Abubakar. Is our Nation working with the British or considering a similar effort?
    Ms. RICE. Yes, Mr. Chairman, we are in close consultation with the British on developments in Nigeria. And we too, as I indicated in my testimony, look forward to sending a senior delegation to Nigeria, as soon as the government is able to receive us, to share with them our hopes for Nigeria's future and opportunities for enhancing our bilateral cooperation in the context of a successful transition.
    Chairman GILMAN. So you have already indicated to the Government of Nigeria that we are prepared to do that?
    Ms. RICE. Yes, we have.
    Chairman GILMAN. And Madam Secretary, the new Nigerian Government has pledged to hold to the previous regime's commitment to transition to a democratic civilian government by October of this year. What timeframe is acceptable to us?
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    Ms. RICE. Mr. Chairman, we don't think it is wise or productive to dictate to the people of Nigeria precisely the timeframe or the terms of their own transition program.
    We think with a concerted effort that the Nigerian Government could achieve their October 1 deadline. However, we are less concerned about specific deadlines or blind adherence to deadlines. We are much more interested in seeing a credible lasting transition to civilian democratic rule as swiftly as possible.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you. Madam Secretary, the previous regime created five so-called political parties. They did that pretty much out of thin air. And the new regime has not indicated that they are going to follow any other political party to participate; they are not going to allow any other political party to participate in the transition. Is our Nation urging Nigeria to allow other parties to participate?
    Ms. RICE. It is my understanding that the new government has not laid out precisely its expectations for the transition program and the parameters. So I am not aware of any commitment to prevent additional political parties from forming. It would be our hope that anybody who wishes to compete in this election would have the opportunity to do so freely, and that would, obviously, entail the need to allow them the opportunity to form political parties freely.
    Chairman GILMAN. Is our government urging the new regime in Nigeria to talk directly with pro-democracy forces within Nigeria? And which civilian organizations in Nigeria are the most credible advocates of a transition in democracy?
    Ms. RICE. Mr. Chairman, yes, we have welcomed and encouraged the government's decision to begin consultations with political parties and pro-democracy groups of all different stripes. This has been one of the most encouraging developments in the last few weeks in Nigeria and we hope it will continue.
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    There are a plethora of pro-democracy groups and activists inside Nigeria. I don't know that it would be wise or even accurate for me to characterize which of them may be most credible.
    Chairman GILMAN. One last question, Madam Secretary. Press reports indicate that President Clinton talked to General Abubakar shortly after he assumed his duties as Head of State. Could you characterize that conversation for us and what other kinds of discussions have taken place between our government and the new Nigerian regime?
    Ms. RICE. The conversation took place on June 14th. President Clinton initiated the call. It was a cordial and productive conversation, relatively brief, in which President Clinton conveyed our hopes for swift progress toward democratization and indicated that we would hope to see such benchmarks met as release of political prisoners and other positive steps.
    The President also indicated our strong desire to work constructively in partnership with the Government of Nigeria and our desire to continue to dialog at a high level and, at that point, first suggested directly that Under Secretary Pickering might travel to Nigeria as soon as the government was prepared to receive him.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Madam Secretary. Mr. Payne.
    Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much for that fine testimony, and also let me commend you for the fine job you did in Ethiopia and Eritrea, shuffling back and forth talking to Prime Minister Meles and President Isaias personally. They certainly both appreciate your work, and we hope that that situation will have a cease-fire and move forward. So I commend you for the fine job you have done there.
    Let me just ask once again regarding the benchmarks. I guess there are several problems. Perhaps if the new Head of State is not firmly in control, if too many changes are made too quickly, perhaps that might be trouble. But, by the same token, there may be a change in the will of the military leadership, in that they are prepared to move forward since they have been a pariah state for so long and left out of many of the activities that are going on, like the Africa growth and development bill.
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    Do you have any assessment on just how far you go, how quickly it can happen? Does it really, in your opinion, have control or is it too soon to know?
    Ms. RICE. First of all, thank you very much for your kind words about our efforts in Ethiopia and Eritrea. We appreciate it.
    To respond directly to your question, and implicitly to Congressman Menendez' point as related, I think it is fair to say that the speed with which General Abubakar has moved and the directness of his recent steps indicate that he has, at least for the moment, a clear and strong support from within the military establishment for the steps he has taken. In addition, the relatively swift decision by the Provisional Ruling Council by a successor to General Abacha would indicate a degree of confidence in General Abubakar's leadership.
    So we are hopeful that the steps he has taken thus far can and will be sustained. We have sought to be careful, not to be overly prescriptive, and we certainly in no way want to dictate to the people or the Government of Nigeria, which need to decide for themselves, the precise outlines of their own transition program. But we are encouraged by steps thus far, and we certainly hope that continued progress will be made and made swiftly toward a credible transition to democracy.
    Mr. PAYNE. If the transition moves forward credibly, is there any interest in the U.S. policy of assisting in the election process or suggestion of our involvement, if there is a request, or even if there is no request, to assist them with the upcoming elections?
    Ms. RICE. We would certainly hope to be in a position to respond constructively and supportively to positive changes as they evolve during the course of the transition and, obviously, of course, after a successful transition. And we would be willing to consider very carefully, in consultation with Congress, steps we might take to help support the transition process, assuming it continues to evolve in a credible and constructive direction.
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    Mr. PAYNE. Finally, since the orange light is on, there are five political parties that have been appointed by the military government. That certainly seems wrong for the government just to dictate how many parties there should be and to dictate who they are. Although, on the other hand, I have watched the process of democracy in Kenya, for example, where in Kenya there are between 25 and 30 political parties, usually at least 12 to 15 candidates for President and, as you know, Mr. Moi just got a little above 29, 30 percent in 1992 and was elected because there were 15 other Presidential candidates. In 1997 he did better, he got into the upper 30's.
    But I think too few are as bad as too many, and have we thought about how we might be able to discuss the political parties; how they should be selected, or have they ever thought of the way we do it here, a certain number of people signing up to justify a party? It is a tough question, but have we thought in terms of how we can suggest this whole question of what are political parties, how are they selected, who should call them or who should not call them?
    Ms. RICE. We have not, obviously, yet had an opportunity to have a detailed discussion with the new Nigerian Government about how they plan to structure the transition, including the number and composition of political parties. And I think we would be reluctant to suggest any rigid prescriptions. We would simply encourage the government to follow a universal democratic norm, which is to allow all those who wish to participate to do so freely and to form parties as they wish.
    I take your point about the dangers of a proliferation of too many parties, but that, in some context, is the result of a vibrant democracy. In other contexts, it is the result of an anemic democracy, and I don't know that, in the case of Nigeria, we have a specific view at this point as to what makes most sense. I think that is for the people and Government of Nigeria to decide amongst themselves.
    Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much.
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    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Payne. Chairman Royce.
    Mr. ROYCE. Yes, Madam Secretary, there are continuing rumors that Chief Abiola may be released soon. And one of the questions I had, in your continuing review of the situation, what is the Administration position on what role you think he might play in any revised democratic transition process?
    Ms. RICE. Mr. Chairman, our hope is that Chief Abiola will be released very quickly and unconditionally; that if he has health problems, that he will be able to have them tended to wherever he wants, under his own terms.
    We do not have a specific prescription for Chief Abiola's role. We would hope that if he so desires to participate in the democratic electoral process, that he will be allowed to do so and do so freely. Whatever role he would like to seek for himself, we would hope he would be able to seek on a free and competitive basis.
    Mr. ROYCE. Let me ask you, over the last 3 years the Administration has not really been able to engage the Nigerian Government on the transition to democracy process. What about opposition groups—and you described the wide range in the opposition groups—has the United States been able to engage with these opposition groups; and what is their view on the transition?
    I could ask just how the Administration feels about the prevailing opposition view in terms of transition to civilian rule.
    Ms. RICE. Well, yes, through our embassy in Lagos and our office in Abuja as well as in Washington, London and elsewhere, we have been in regular dialog with a cross-section of Nigerian society, including opposition groups, and we have listened to their perspectives and encouraged them to behave in a responsible and constructive fashion.
    I think it is fair to say that there was almost universal disdain for the transition as it had been constructed by General Abacha, and by almost any standard it had no credibility.
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    Ms. RICE. I think it is too soon to characterize, and certainly to generalize, about the opposition's reaction to General Abubakar's program, which is still evolving. But our impression certainly is that they have been welcoming of a number of the steps that he has taken. Some of them have been brought into direct dialog with the government. And my sense is that there is a degree of hopefulness and openness to the potential for positive change.
    Mr. ROYCE. Let me ask if there is any consideration, Madam Secretary, for a special envoy being considered for discussions with the new regime?
    Ms. RICE. We have not given any particular consideration to that option at this point inside the Administration.
    Mr. ROYCE. My last question would go to the question of decertification for Nigeria. They have been out of compliance for some time in terms of cooperation on narcotics. Has the new regime indicated that it is willing to fully cooperate with U.S. anti-narcotics efforts? Have there been any communications on that front, because this has been a serious problem?
    Ms. RICE. It is a very serious problem and we have not had an opportunity for that level of detailed discussions with the new government yet. I hope very soon we will be able to do so.
    It would be a great step forward both for Nigeria and the United States if we were able to strengthen and deepen our cooperation on counternarcotics and crime. That serves our mutual interests. And we would hope that over the next several months we can work together and make progress sufficient to enable us to review in a positive light our decertification decision when it next comes up for review at the end of this year, beginning of next year.
    Mr. ROYCE. OK. Well, thank you, Madam Secretary.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Royce. Mr. Hilliard.
    Mr. HILLIARD. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Madam Secretary, exactly what is our policy toward the new government? Are we in a holding pattern? Are we just waiting to see what developments may occur? Or in any way, in the President's conversation with the current leader, have we set forth any type of positive participation or have we encouraged them in any way?
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    Ms. RICE. Congressman, we have not been in a holding pattern. Our policy toward Nigeria remains quite constant. We are seeking to encourage the emergence of a stable, prosperous democratic Nigeria that respects human rights. We believe that for that to be possible there needs to be a credible transition to civilian democracy as soon as possible. And, therefore, we are actively encouraging the new Government of Nigeria to take advantage of the window of opportunity that it now has to make the transition credible and to complete it swiftly. That was the message that President Clinton conveyed, the message our ambassador conveyed, and it will be the message that Under Secretary Tom Pickering conveys in the very near future, we hope.
    And in addition to that, we want to make very clear to the government and the people of Nigeria that our intentions are friendly and supportive ones. There is a long history of constructive relationships between the United States and Nigeria; it has only been in recent years those relationships have been strained. We would hope very much that the government would continue to make progress and that we would be able to respond with concrete expressions of support, both verbal and material.
    Mr. HILLIARD. Let me ask, do we know enough about the current government to have any contingency plans?
    Ms. RICE. Contingency plans of what sort, sir?
    Mr. HILLIARD. In terms of moving Americans out, in terms of any type of sanctions that we may be thinking of.
    Ms. RICE. Well, in terms of—you mean the safety of the American community in general?
    Mr. HILLIARD. Yes. Not just diplomatic people, but businesspeople and other government agencies that might be operating there.
    Ms. RICE. Well, in Nigeria, as elsewhere around the world, we regularly review the security situation and make contingency plans for the safety and protection of American citizens, both official and nonofficial. And we have done so as a matter of regular course recently in Nigeria. But at this point we see the situation as evolving in a constructive direction, a direction more likely to lead to stability than instability. So we are hopeful.
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    Mr. HILLIARD. So it is my feeling the Administration feels better about this Administration in terms of its strength with the people and moving toward democracy.
    Ms. RICE. Yes, sir.
    Mr. HILLIARD. Very good. Thank you.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Hilliard.
    One last final question that I have of Secretary Rice. Madam Secretary, in the final analysis, do you believe that the military government presently there is fundamentally different from the previous Nigerian military governments; and, if so, in what manner?
    Ms. RICE. Well, Mr. Chairman, we certainly hope that by its actions this new government will continue to demonstrate a substantially different orientation than its predecessor. By virtue of its decision to release a number of prominent political prisoners, as well as its commitment to releasing others, and its openness to a dialog with opposition political actors, these are hopeful signs that lead us to be relatively more encouraged than we were, say just a month ago.
    Having said that, obviously, we need to continue to watch carefully and not make any decisions or judgments that would unduly tie our own hands. We hope very much that progress will be sustained, but I think in all contexts, and this one included, there is reason for caution as well.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Madam Secretary. Mr. Payne, do you have any final questions?
    Mr. PAYNE. Just one thought. Do we know enough about the new leader? From what I have been able to gather, different heads of state or leaders from other countries sometimes have relationships with other leaders or military people or former military. And I was just wondering if we had any persons we know who are close, or the new Head of State has confidence in, who are African leaders themselves?
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    If we encourage them to encourage him, sometimes we find there can be some African solutions from African leaders in the region. And I would hope that we would sort of pursue some allies that might be in consultation with the new Head of State.
    Ms. RICE. Yes, I appreciate that sentiment, and we would share it and seek to encourage General Abubakar to remain in dialog with African leaders who share aspirations for democracy, peace and stability.
    Mr. PAYNE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Payne. And thank you, Madam Secretary.
    Ms. RICE. Thank you.
    Chairman GILMAN. We appreciate your patience and your willingness to come and testify before us.
    Ms. RICE. Thank you for having me.
    Chairman GILMAN. We will now proceed with our second panel.
    Our second panel consists of three highly qualified individuals. First, we welcome Ambassador Walter Carrington, who currently serves as a resident fellow of the W.E.B. DuBois Institute of Harvard.
    Welcome, Ambassador Carrington. Ambassador Carrington served as our U.S. ambassador to Nigeria from November 1993 to October 1997. Previously, he served as our ambassador to Senegal. He has held a number of high level positions in academia and government, including chief of staff to our former colleague, Congressman Mervyn Dymally. So he is no stranger to our Committee. Ambassador Carrington has worked on African issues for only 46 years, since his first visit to Senegal in 1952.
    How come you have no gray hairs up there?
    Our second witness is Ambassador David Miller. Ambassador Miller is a successful businessman and president of Corporate Council on Africa. The council is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization to promote the growth of the private sector in Africa.
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    The Ambassador previously served as ambassador to Tanzania and Zimbabwe. From 1976 to 1980 he lived in Nigeria as an executive for Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Ambassador Miller has written extensively on foreign policy management and maintains an active role in numerous nonprofit institutions.
    Welcome, Ambassador Miller.
    Our third witness is Dr. Pauline Baker, president of the Fund for Peace. The fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to public education toward an understanding of global problems that threaten human survival, and a search for practical solutions to these problems. Dr. Baker teaches at Georgetown. From 1964 to 1974, Dr. Baker lived and worked in Nigeria, teaching at the University of Lagos. Dr. Baker has held a number of important government and academic posts, including staff director of the Senate's Africa Subcommittee. She has written extensively on foreign policy issues, particularly those relating to Nigeria.
    We welcome all of you to the Committee, and Ambassador Carrington, you may lead off. You may put your full statement into the record and summarize, or whatever you deem advisable.

    Ambassador CARRINGTON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee. It is a great pleasure to have this opportunity to discuss with you House Resolution 3890 on Nigeria. I am going to condense my statement and to proceed immediately to the question of where do we go from here.
    Chairman GILMAN. Your full statement will be made a part of the record without objection.
    Ambassador CARRINGTON. Thank you. How best can we encourage and support general Abubakar, if indeed we conclude that he is sincere in returning Nigeria to civilian rule?
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    His first deeds have been encouraging. The report that he ordered the freeing of the first prisoners without seeking the approval of the Provisional Ruling Council, if true, means that he will be more than a caretaker controlled by the Abacha hardliners, more than a General Naguib warming up the crowds while a Colonel Nasser waits in the wings to make his entrance.
    General Abubakar has called for national reconciliation. Reports of recent meetings with Chief Abiola indicate that he knows that there can be no bridging of the gap which separates so much of the south from the north without the freeing of Abiola and offering him a substantial role in working out the political future of the country.
    I have, in the past, been aware of sending special envoys to Abuja. Their arrival only fed the middle kingdom fantasy of Abacha and his minions. They saw it as our paying tribute to a power whose goodwill we needed more than they needed ours. The numerous attempts we have made to dialog with them all came to naught. Abacha talked and smiled but promised little and delivered less. Now, however, we have a rare opportunity to talk to a leader who may be seeking a way out of the imbroglio brought about by his predecessors. But our message to him, while praising him for what he has done, must be clear and unambiguous about what further steps are necessary for the substantial lifting of sanctions.
    This is not the time for diplomatic nuances. A revised House bill 3890, taking into consideration the change of leadership, can be a useful Sword of Damocles which our envoys can remind General Abubakar may drop upon him if he waivers or procrastinates in his promise ''to create true democracy, rule of law, and respect for human rights.'' We should let General Abubakar know that our concept of true democracy does not embrace the Abacha transition program. That program was fatally flawed even before Abacha forced the five parties he mid-wived to name him as their Presidential candidate.
    Imagine, if you will, if an ambitious clique of military offices annulled the next American Presidential election, threw the winner in jail, and outlawed the Republican and Democrat parties, along with all other parties, no matter how small, which contested the national and State elections. In their place were put a number of parties no one had ever heard of and from whose leadership were banned 90 percent of our political class. On second thought, apart from the military takeover, some might not think that a bad thing. However, it would not be democracy.
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    I believe that the best solution to the present political stalemate in Nigeria would be for the military to hand over power by October 1st to a coalition of civilian leaders of the country's three traditional regions, augmented by representatives of the middle belt and southern minorities. To assuage the wounds opened by the June 12th annulment, this transitional government, whose major duties would be to oversee a genuine democratic transition, should be headed by the last man to be given a national mandate, Moshood Abiola.
    In the alternative, if we cannot dissuade General Abubakar from following Abacha's election timetable, then we must insist that the price for our lifting sanctions will be an electoral process opened up to new parties more expressive of Nigeria's political tendencies than the tweedle dee-tweedle dum concoctions of Abacha. Since there are no candidates now, and no campaigning has begun, it would be easy for new parties to come up to speed as easily as for the flawed five that have been established. Presidential elections could be moved from August 1st to mid- or late September, with the handover still holding on October 1st.
    That ought to be our bottom line. No electoral process ought to be recognized by us which is not preceded by the release of all political prisoners. They must be set free in the next 2 weeks, at the latest, so that they may participate in the new political dispensation. In addition, the rule of law must be restored so that the courts may operate without being restricted by ouster clauses or having their decisions ignored by the executive. It is good that some labor leaders have been freed, but their unions are still run by government-appointed sole administrators. These agents of repression must be removed from the unions and all other bodies over which they have been given arbitrary domain.
    General Abubakar has an historic opportunity to move Nigeria from world pariah to responsible international partner. If he seizes it, then his beloved military will be saluted for its peacekeeping abroad rather than reviled for its repression at home. If its slips through his fingers, then I foresee eternal chaos and the eventual breaking up of the Nigerian federation.
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    In conclusion, Congress should maintain a watching brief on Nigeria. I am convinced that constant pressure from this country and its allies, and the fear of greater sanctions and isolation to come, strengthen the hand of General Abubakar and the military professionals who support him over the military politicians who wish to continue the spoil system which was so much a hallmark of Sani Abacha's reign.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador.
    [The prepared statement of Ambassador Carrington appears in the appendix.]
    Chairman GILMAN. Ambassador Miller.


    Ambassador MILLER. Mr. Chairman, thank you for this opportunity to appear today. Having testified on Nigeria on and off for the last 3 1/2 years, as my colleagues have, it is a joy to be here in an atmosphere of some hope and promise. If I might, I would like to submit my testimony for the record and offer a very short summary of the testimony.
    Chairman GILMAN. Without objection.
    Ambassador MILLER. Thank you, sir. The Corporate Council on Africa is now approaching 200 corporations that are active in investing and trading in Africa. And as you know, we sponsor a number of functions, including large national meetings on how to attract more capital to the Continent and get the Continent's private sector going.
    In 1995, we became concerned that Nigerian policy was drifting and that we were looking at a situation in which American commerce and American principle were being portrayed as opposed to each other, which we thought was simply incorrect. We have spent the last 3 1/2 very difficult years trying to maintain some dialog between our two governments. In particular, we have tried to work with the leadership of the Nigerian private sector, through a terribly difficult time for them, to work on their efforts to devise and recommend to their government sweeping reforms for their economy which will be needed in the future to make their society work better.
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    There is one thing I would like to emphasize today in my testimony, and that is that the American private sector is always happier working with a democratically governed country, where the government is chosen by the people, where there is an accountable government. We make more money, we are happier, there is less corruption. And so we are very pleased today to see that perhaps Nigeria is launching itself off on this course.
    But in this time of optimism, let me emphasize some of the fundamentals. Nigeria is, as we all know, a huge country. It has probably something in the range of 120 million people with a per capita of $300 a year. If the growth continues, Nigeria will be the 7th largest country in the world in 2025. And what is the condition of these people today? The life span is 52 years, compared to 68 for similarly situated countries. Only 40 percent have access to safe water, and an estimated 3.5 million Nigerians test positive for HIV or AIDS, which is 60 percent of the region's cases. Eighty-seven thousand women die in childbirth every year, which is 15 percent of the world's total. And what of the children of Nigeria? Only 63 percent attend school, only 48 percent of Nigerians over the age of 15 are literate, and 36 percent of Nigerian children are underweight. That is a daunting picture for any government; military, civilian, transitional.     So as we in the private sector have tried to examine how we can continue to help, I am pleased to say that we look to our base business, which is investing capital and trying to promote economic growth. First, we have been working actively over the past 3 1/2 years with Vision 2010 and the Nigerian Economic Summit process. There are a set of sweeping recommendations that an incoming government could work with, including privatization of many of Nigeria's basic industries, more effective management of its hydrocarbons, an attack on corruption, and a vast improvement in public services.
    Second, our companies are very active in community development work. Today, we estimate that our companies donate financially or in-kind approximately $20 million of goods a year. That puts our activities substantially larger than the aid programs of a number of Western donors. We anticipate that these programs will grow.
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    And, most importantly for Nigeria's future, if our two governments can now develop a more constructive way to work together, set some benchmarks that we can agree on and move forward in a positive manner, the Council is convinced that we can attract more capital and investment to the country, which is badly needed.
    With that, let me terminate my comments and we can respond to questions.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Ambassador Miller.
    [The prepared statement of Ambassador Miller appears in the appendix.]
    Chairman GILMAN. Dr. Baker.


    Ms. BAKER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I too want to thank you for inviting me and I am delighted to be here. I want to stress, before I give my statement, that my comments are personal and do not represent the views of the Fund for Peace or its projects. I will summarize my remarks and ask that my statement be inserted for the record.
    Chairman GILMAN. Without objection, we will put the longer statement in the record. Please proceed.
    Ms. BAKER. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, I support H.R. 3890, a bill to promote democracy and good governance in Nigeria, and I believe this legislation is needed, even though General Sani Abacha, whose brutal rule originally prompted this legislation, died 2 1/2 weeks ago. It is needed not because we don't share the hope that has been expressed here before by other witnesses, but because it will remind those in power that international pressure for democratization is not aimed at one person but at promptly restoring a legitimate civilian government.
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    As of now, while there is a glimmer of hope, it is by no means assured this goal will be assured. General Abubakar has, in fact, sent mixed messages. On the positive side, he has said that he wants to return to civilian rule by October 1st, adhering to the transition plan. But, of course, that transition plan was flawed. So it is somewhat ambiguous what that really means. He has also released political prisoners.
    On the negative side, he has used the Army to repress a pro-democracy demonstration on June 12th, and he continues to detain other political prisoners, including Chief Abiola. Moreover, while Abubakar announced adherence to the plan, he has yet to say how it is going to be done. We have talked about different scenarios here about the transition, but I think Secretary Rice laid out the criteria that needs to be met to fulfill that.
    Nigeria is at a critical decision point in which it might tilt decisively toward democracy, but there is still widespread skepticism that the military will voluntarily give up power, given the enormous wealth they have accumulated at the expense of the Nigerian people. If the military does not give up power, Nigeria will continue to bleed, and the Army will rob the Nation of its wealth, its spirit, and its cohesion.
    Given the stakes, the United States and its allies should mount a major diplomatic effort to encourage Nigeria to move swiftly and steadfastly toward democracy. U.S. policy should rest on three legs: diplomacy and dialog to assist this transition, aid to pro-democracy groups, and targeted sanctions with clear criteria spelled out for their being lifted. I support H.R. 3890 precisely because it backs up such a policy. It contains both carrots and sticks and it provides for different future scenarios. The bill essentially would codify existing sanctions, except for the sports sanctions.
    Now, there are three main arguments that have been raised in opposition to enacting this legislation: It is the wrong move at the wrong time; it is another example of unilateral sanctions which do not work; and it is not in the economic interests of the United States. Let me just take these three opposition arguments very briefly, one by one, and tell you why I don't think they are valid.
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    The first argument is that even modest sanctions, such as those in this bill, are not needed now because Abubakar has brought some hope to Nigeria. While that is true, we might be rushing to judgment to conclude that this is a certainty. You may recall that in the former Zaire we also rushed to judgment to embrace Luarent Kabila, thinking anybody other than Mobutu would be good. And I think we were a little hasty in our judgment. So we should not be complacent about Abubakar's intentions or, even more importantly, his ability to achieve the central goal, which is a peaceful and legitimate transition to democracy by the end of the year. Much could still go wrong.
    Abacha's supporters are still in the Provisional Ruling Council. Many civilians, including those who run the five political parties, have gained from Abacha's rule and have a lot to lose from an open electoral process. Abubakar might decide to retreat or hesitate to take steps that will satisfy the pro democracy forces. I cite as an example the fact that it has been reported that Abubakar is trying to extract a promise from Chief Abiola to renounce his claim to the Presidency as a condition for his release. This would not be a step forward. Hardliners could also recapture the process or take over outright in another coup. Former military leaders could make a comeback, such as General Babangida, the man who nullified the 1993 election and who is close to Abubakar.
    These scenarios are highly speculative but they are real possibilities. The sanctions bill will warn hardliners and political opportunists that tougher sanctions may be in store if they choose the wrong path.
    The second argument against the bill is based on a generic opposition to sanctions, namely, that sanctions don't work and that we have too many in place. I understand and share some of these sentiments about sanctions proliferation. We have devalued a valuable foreign policy instrument by overusing it. But that doesn't mean we should not use it at all. To be effective, sanctions should aim at realistic goals, set down clear benchmarks for lifting the penalties, permit flexibility to respond to events on the ground, provide humanitarian political assistance to affected citizens and pro-democracy forces, and target offending elites. In my judgment, H.R. 3890 meets these conditions.
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    As an expression of U.S. disapproval of dictatorship and the abuse of human rights, the sanctions bill does not require multilateral action. In fact, the bill recommends a mild set of actions, most of which are already in force. Passage of the bill would mainly have a symbolic impact, but the psychological impact of such legislation should not be underestimated, especially at this time when Abubakar is trying to weigh the cost of various options.
    The third argument against sanctions is a narrow one that misconstrues U.S. national interests. It maintains that primary U.S. interests rest in short-term access to oil supplies. Actually, the most important U.S. interest in Nigeria is to avoid an implosion in that important country, an outcome that would not only endanger the interests of the oil companies but also place at risk the long-term stability of U.S. access to oil supplies. Moreover, it would risk widespread bloodshed and violence that would, in Africa's most populous nation, trigger calls for international intervention if a humanitarian crisis of this proportion were to come about.
    It might be tempting to conclude that we should wait and see what happens. To do so would be to tempt fate. The fundamental problem of military rule still exists in Nigeria, even though Abubakar's coming to power has given us some hope. It is more important to act now so that this window of opportunity, which has been opened up a crack, is not slammed shut.
    Until the process of democratization becomes irreversible, the United States, and particularly Congress, should keep up the pressure. If free and fair elections are held before the end of the year, then sanctions will not go into effect and no harm is done. If such elections are not held, the bill will send a credible message that further repression will exact a price. The prospects for democracy in Nigeria are still very fragile.
    Thank you.
    [The prepared statement of Ms. Baker appears in the appendix.]
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Dr. Baker, for your extensive testimony in support of our measure.
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    Ambassador Carrington, what role should our Nation play in providing assistance to democracy and human rights in Nigeria?
    Ambassador CARRINGTON. Mr. Chairman, I think that the most important thing right now is our making it clear what we think a true democratic transition would be because, otherwise, there will be little role for us to play. If in fact, as I have suggested, the roles are opened and other parties are allowed to participate, then I think, if the procedure is open and fair and all political prisoners are released, and if the Nigerian Government wished it, we could be of assistance in terms of working with them in the election and in sending observers to the election who could certify that the results were indeed free and fair.
    Chairman GILMAN. Ambassador Carrington, if Chief Abiola is released, and we hope that that will come about, but he is not permitted to assume the duties as Head of State, what other role could he be playing in Nigeria?
    Ambassador CARRINGTON. I think there has been a lot of talk of his having a role of leading a transitional government whose objective would be to set the guidelines for a free and fair transition of power; to call perhaps a sovereign national conference where all stratum of Nigerian society could come together to decide what the next steps ought to be.
    The great benefit of this would be that this would be a process run by civilians and not by the military. And I think that in that way he could have, I think, a useful role in bringing back into the fold so many people in the southern part of the country who have been disaffected by the way in which General Abacha has run things the last 5 years.
    Chairman GILMAN. Ambassador Carrington, at what point should our Nation consider restoring military ties with the Nigerian Government?
    Ambassador CARRINGTON. I would think that since our sanctions were imposed when the military took power, and before there were any of the human rights abuses, that we should restore military ties when the military has handed over to a civilian government. I think that doing so before then might be a mistake.
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    I think that could be a very useful carrot that could be held out to them; that as soon as there is a transfer to a civilian government, which comes about as a result of a process which is concluded to be free and fair by the international community, that we would then restore normal military relations with the government.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Ambassador.
    Ambassador Miller, over the past 5 years our Nation has imposed visa restrictions and prohibition on military cooperation in Nigeria. Have those efforts been effective or, if not, what approach should we be taking?
    Ambassador MILLER. Ambassador Carrington was there during this time and probably has a better fingertip sense for this, but let me offer the following thought.
    One of the daunting challenges of this transition is to paint a role for the future of Nigeria's army. They are struggling themselves with what to do with their future. If they go back to the barracks and we have a new government and they seek to work with us as peacekeepers up and down the West Coast, the question is how do we work together, what kind of a force do they have, how big a force, what kind of training, what kind of pay? And this is a subject at which we happen to be good. And while we don't want to send signals now that are misleading to the military, we do want to help them work their way out of the conundrum in which they find themselves today.
    So I don't know quite how to do that, but that is where I would like to end up.
    Chairman GILMAN. Ambassador Miller, what role can the business community play in addressing the humanitarian needs in Nigeria that you have noted in your opening statement?
    Ambassador MILLER. We would hope a lot. It is a pleasure to be here not talking about political dialog but talking more about economics.
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    Nigeria desperately needs to attract investment capital. They know that and we know that. And their leadership knows that the structure they are in today is not working. They are not attracting the capital that they need, and they have discussed this issue with great candor in a number of meetings there. We are looking forward to working with their government and their private sector leadership to try to help build a much more vibrant economy to give them an economic base to support a democratic government.
    Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Ambassador, should our Nation urge the new military regime to make Chief Abiola the Head of State?
    Ambassador MILLER. In general, as a leftover diplomat, I hesitate to tell other countries what to do or not to do.
    Chairman GILMAN. That is a good comment by a leftover diplomat.
    Ambassador MILLER. That is always a risky role, sir. It really is.
    Chairman GILMAN. Dr. Baker, how should our Nation structure a democracy assistance program for Nigeria?
    Ms. BAKER. Well, I think this is a critical leg of our policy, and I think what we need to do is very much modeled on the democracy assistance program that we had crafted toward South Africa, which was really aimed at building the civil society; everything from journalists, the rule of law, students, women's groups, the whole range of civic organizations that exist in Nigeria whose views need strengthening.
    Chairman GILMAN. Dr. Baker, are there any pro-democracy groups in Nigeria that have a constituency over the entire nation rather than just one region?
    Ms. BAKER. Well, recently there was a coming together under JACOM, a joint action committee for democracy. The democracy movement tends to be stronger in the south than the north, but I think they are trying to reach out now to a national constituency.
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    Chairman GILMAN. As you examine what is happening in Nigeria, can you compare how the first days of this military government differ from the first days of Nigeria's previous military government?
    Ms. BAKER. There is a very sharp contrast. The previous military government under General Babangida stole the elections literally while the ballots were being counted and nullified the elections. They also instituted an interim government which essentially failed. And then General Abacha took over 3 months later. The first steps of this military government under Abubakar, as I said, have been mixed. We have some hope, but there has also been a lot of restraint on public demonstrations.
    My concern is that if an arrangement is not worked out with the democracy movement and Chief Abiola, that those demonstrations may commence again. The kind of hope we see now might be countermanded by a strong crackdown on free speech in Nigeria before there is agreement on a transition.
    Chairman GILMAN. Well, thank you. And I want to thank our panelists again for being here and giving us the benefit of your expertise.
    Mr. Payne.
    Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much. I got a little nervous, I thought you were going to end the hearing.
    I want to ask you, Dr. Baker, there was a recent article, June 14th, in The Washington Post dealing with the print journal in Nigeria; that it remains strong and vibrant in spite of the fact there has been harassment and imprisonment. Do you have any notion as to how this particular segment continues to operate; and how effective do you think the print journal is in Nigeria?
    Ms. BAKER. The Nigerian press was one of the freest presses in Africa, very vibrant all throughout the country. The crackdown by the military has certainly harassed the press, some journalists have been killed, many have been forced into exile. But it is really remarkable, this is really one of the success stories, of how the press has continued to print underground. Some of them have mobile facilities and it is not just the print newspapers, but also radios, which are mobile. They manage to get out newspapers even when the offices are closed down and the editors are arrested.
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    Now, if the restrictions were taken off, I think a very strong journalism community would come to the fore and add a lot to the democratization process in Nigeria.
    Mr. PAYNE. And just in regard to the political parties, do you feel that they can, the ones that have been appointed, do you think that they can, under a more liberal military control, become real political parties that can be independent of the government?
    Ms. BAKER. No, Congressman, I do not. I don't think they have any grass-roots constituency whatsoever. I think they have been tainted. This is an example of a half-measure, which I am concerned people may try to grab onto in order to satisfy a lot of people and meet the October 1st deadline.
    There is an opportunity here. It is an opportunity which I think General Abubakar must understand has to get to the root problem of representation and legitimacy. These five parties are not legitimate vessels for political expression.
    Mr. PAYNE. Thank you. Ambassador Carrington, I know you spent, what, 3 years——
    Ambassador CARRINGTON. Four.
    Mr. PAYNE. Four years in Nigeria. In a nutshell, what was your relationship with the government? The attempt to have a dialog with the regime, I think, must have been thwarted in many instances. Can you give me a thumbnail sketch of your experience as ambassador from the United States?
    Ambassador CARRINGTON. Well, I arrived in Nigeria just 2 weeks before General Abacha took over, so that I was there for most of his reign. And in the beginning, my relations with General Abacha were quite good. I could see him anytime I wanted. In fact, I was the envy of my diplomatic colleagues because I had frequent meetings with General Abacha.
    It was after the arrest of Chief Abiola and the strikes that went on in the summer of 1994 that the relations began to sour. As we picked up our insistence on human rights and the Nigerian Government continued its repression, our relations began to deteriorate. And so that by 1996, I was unable to have bilateral meetings with him. I would meet with him often on regional meetings concerning Liberia, et cetera, but he would not hold discussions on bilateral issues.
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    I might say that during this time, and one of the reasons I have some guarded optimism, is that General Abubakar was, during that time, one of the most approachable members of the Provisional Ruling Council, and he was a person with whom I was able to discuss matters of regional concern. And also during that time, he would indicate or ask questions as to what needed to be done in order for us to resume the old military relationship we had. He was, obviously, quite concerned about the fact that we no longer had military cooperation and that they had to look east for their training and for their spare parts.
    And of course, as you know, in the end, as I was about to leave, the Nigerian Government sent in its paramilitary squad to break up one of my farewell parties that was being given for me by the human rights community. And I think that, more than anything else, indicates the feeling that the Abacha Government had for me as I was getting ready to leave the country.
    Mr. PAYNE. We heard about your going-away party. Ended with a bang, actually, I hear.
    Ambassador CARRINGTON. Thankfully, there was no bang.
    Mr. PAYNE. I will take advantage of my Chairman at this time, but I have a question of Ambassador Miller.
    I know that you generally oppose sanctions. From what I understand, the Corporate Council has a working group that talks about trying to work against sanctions. I know your group is doing a very fine job educating American companies as to the potential in Africa, but I am sure you work along with Texaco and Mobil and Chevron, and they are such bad business operators in the degradation of the environment, as you mention in your comments, the hydrocarbons. I understand in Nigeria they don't even cap the natural gas, it is just not as valuable as the oil, and so it just pollutes the environment.
    Since you are a strong proponent of business and industry, does your group ever talk to your colleagues, your business friends, your Chevron, Texaco, and Mobil buddies about perhaps what they do there that they couldn't do here; that what they do there is really wrong; what they do there causes young people to have congestive diseases; what they do there would not be tolerated in Holland where Shell operates their home office?
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    I mean how do they view Africa? Is it that you do anything you want to do; that is the Dark Continent and so our behavior doesn't matter? Those people are less important than people in Europe or in America? Why is it that the business practices are so more corrupt and so less positive to the people in this area?
    I know you can't speak for them, you are not one of them, but you represent them, so.
    Ambassador MILLER. Oh, I am. Spiritually I am.
    Mr. PAYNE. I wanted to get it off my chest.
    Ambassador MILLER. Do I get as much time to respond, Mr. Payne? That was pretty good.
    First of all, I disagree with your characterization of the oil industry's conduct in Nigeria. And let me offer that we might want to get together for you to review in more detail what the oil companies do there. I understand your concern. I think you are factually incorrect in terms of assertions that they operate to different standards in Nigeria than they do in the United States. Our oil companies in Nigeria are operating to the same standards in Nigeria that they operate to here.
    Second, with regard to flared gas, back when sanctions were being more actively discussed, we were terribly concerned that one of the impacts was that the first project to capture flared gas that is being run by the United States would have been brought to a halt by the proposed sanctions. So our people are, in fact, trying to do exactly what you are talking about, and that is they are trying to capture the flared gas through an LNG process and ship it up to Europe.
    Third, I think they have gone much further out of their way than other oil companies to try to help the communities in which they operate. We would be happy to sit down and show you videotapes or talk to people about what they do there in terms of training and schools.
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    And I think last, the key is to solve the conundrum that exists between your question and my answer. Nigeria needs capital desperately across the board. How we get them capital in a responsible manner that allows a government to see economic growth without degrading the environment, without labor standards that we would disagree with, is the real key to the next 10 years. Because if Nigeria doesn't grow economically, we can elect all the governments we want and we will still have a catastrophe on the West Coast of Africa.
    So if I might, I would love to try to respond in writing to your question and have you sit down with some of the oil company executives to talk about what they are doing and what their plans are.
    Mr. PAYNE. Well, I appreciate that. I wish you would, because I have gotten reports that in Ogoniland that the air was not as pure and clean as it is in New Jersey where we have oil refineries. As a matter of fact, I have read reports that when it rains, black dirt comes out of the air because of the pollution. Of course, Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni Nine were hung because of their opposition to the degradation of the environment in Ogoniland. The first time I tried to get to Nigeria, I was not as fortunate as Ambassador Carrington, I was refused a visa by the former Head of State, Mr. Abacha, so I was unable to get down there. I was able to get in later. Congressman Johnson was able to negotiate me a quick trip as long as I was going to leave in 48 hours. But I did have the opportunity at that time to insist that Chief M.K.O. Abiola be allowed to meet with me, and that happened. It has been 3 or 4 years ago. So I have a different report of the conditions.
    You say in Ogoniland, around the oil pipes, which I understand are, above the ground, rusted, that the conditions aren't the same as it is in New Jersey. I guess, hopefully, I will be able to visit there, then.
    Ambassador MILLER. I suspect our Members would love to take you out with them and give you a chance to look at what they are doing.
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    Mr. PAYNE. I know they might want to take me out.
    Ambassador MILLER. We would just visit.
    Ms. BAKER. Do you want to rephrase that?
    Ambassador MILLER. We would just encourage you to visit.
    Mr. PAYNE. Let me just, since time seems to be running out, to acknowledge Miss Hafsat Abiola, who is here, and commend her for the fine article that was in the Post recently, and how you are taking care of your brothers and sisters. And congratulations on your graduation from the same college that Ambassador Carrington graduated from, at Harvard. So I hope you will continue to progress.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Payne. I want to thank our panelists for your excellent testimony. You have given us a lot of food for thought. I would like to reserve the opportunity, if any of our Members want to submit any questions to the panelists, that you would respond as quickly as possible.
    Again, we thank you for your presence. The Committee stands adjourned.
    [Whereupon, at 11:35 a.m., the Committee was adjourned.]


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