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Press Cycle 17 - Nigeria
What do you make of the brewing conflict in Nigeria? What should be done about it?

Deadline is 23:59 on the 19th of October.
The escalating situation in Nigeria is of grave concern.

In the near term, the UK along with its allies should be urging all parties to stop violence and armed conflict. President Abacha has a particularly important role to play in allowing legitimate protest and reining back the aggression of the nation’s armed forces. The government should make it clear to the President that a failure to prevent an escalation will result in an immediate review of the supply of military assets from the United Kingdom.

Longer term, it is clear that a path to democracy is needed. The people of Nigeria want and deserve their say. The United Kingdom and its allies, along with the United Nations, should engage with the President and work out how this can be accomplished. The talks should involve opposition parties and neighboring nations.

Nigeria has enormous potential, economically and politically. The path to democracy can be supported by sound and substantial international investment from the world community. This is in everyone’s interests, especially Nigeria’s.

Given our rich history with Nigeria, and its status as part of the Commonwealth family, I call on the UK government to take a lead in helping to calm the situation and in sowing the seeds of change.
Mrs. Margo Leadbetter
Home Secretary and Secretary of State for DEFRA
Conservative MP for Surbiton
The UK Government must help make a path to democracy. Democracy should be a right all over the world and our close allies in Nigeria need a democratic government that represents the people.

The government’s foreign minister must meet with shadow foreign ministers as well as the PM and leaders of the opposition parties to find a clear strategy.

Personally, my preferred strategy would be clear communication with Abacha and leaders of the opposition parties in the nation to find an opportunity for an election at the earliest points. We must not interfere with more than the organisation an negotiations between than and must only act as a moderator and remain unbiased.

These are my view and do not represent my party in anyway although I do hope they agree with what I feel is the best strategy.
Nathon Cowley
Labour MP for Liverpool West Derby (1992-)
Labour Chief Whip (1995-)
Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and the Environment (1995-)
The recent event in Nigeria have deeply troubled this government. It is worrying that so soon after the fall of communism we are seeing a backsliding of democracy - in a Commonwealth nation no less. We stress that we stand firmly alongside our allies behind the democratic process and retain all options to uphold the rights of people. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice to everywhere, and this government will not tolerate such a blatant suspension of democracy within a Commonwealth realm.
Prime Minister John Kenneth Masters, MP for Torbay
Recent history has shown that peaceful transitions to democracy can occur in what seem the unlikeliest of circumstances. In 1989-1990, the winds of freedom swept across the formerly captive nations of Eastern Europe, and they have moved from one party rule to multi-party elections. In 1994, the monstrous injustice of Apartheid receded before the force of multi-racial democracy. In both cases, the democratic powers of this world expressed their values and always stood on the side of those seeking freedom. I am encouraged that the Government seems to be holding fast to this tradition. and I support their efforts as long as they are intended to advance freedom and democracy in Nigeria.
Max Power, Labour
MP for Oxford East (1987-present)
Shadow Foreign Secretary (1994-present)
I have just come from the floor of the House of Commons, where I delivered a statement on what Britain has done - and continues to do - to promote multilateral efforts to restore democracy to Nigeria. At our request, the dictatorial regime of Sani Abacha has been suspended from the Commonwealth. With joint NATO-Commonwealth cooperation, we are currently in the process of supporting the democratic forces in Nigeria. 100 British military advisers have been deployed to assist and coordinate this effort. The future of Nigeria is one of opportunity, of democracy, and of prosperity. In this situation, our government wants nothing but that which is best for Nigeria. I know that, with both NATO and the Commonwealth teaming up, we can promote peace and democratic stability in Nigeria.
Lewis Graves
Conservative MP for Salisbury (1983-present)
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1994-present)
Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1994)
I have just spoken in the House to affirm my support for the stance the Foreign Secretary has detailed. It is vital that all freedom-loving nations condemn the brutality in Nigeran and support the restoration of peace and democracy.

I hope that the diplomatic pressure and advisory support to the Cameroonian peacekeeping forces will be enough to stabilize the situation. However, if this proves not to be the case then further diplomatic pressure from the international community might prove necessary.

The United Kingdom is at the forefront of all these efforts and it speaks well of our commitment to democracy and our openness to engage with the wider world.
Mrs. Margo Leadbetter
Home Secretary and Secretary of State for DEFRA
Conservative MP for Surbiton
Nice. Everyone came together to give the government space to do its thing. If it can pull off a sucess, it'll be a great win.

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