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Olusegun Obasanjo is freed from prison

Transparency International elated over release of the Chairman of its Advisory Council

Yesterday, Nigeria's military government ordered the immediate release of General Olusegun Obasanjo, the Chairman of TI's Advisory Council, and eight other prominent political prisoners, an official statement said.

Those released include oil industry union leaders Milton Dabibi and Frank Kokori, journalist Chris Anyanwu, activist Beko Ransome-Kuti, politicians Bola Ige and Olabiyi Durjaye, Uwen Udoh and former Sultan of Sokoto Ibrahim Dasuki.

Upon receiving the news of Obasanjo's release, TI Chairman Peter Eigen expressed his great joy. Throughout his three-year detention under detrimental conditions, there had been serious worries about Obasanjo's health. Eigen is hopeful that the house arrest under which Obasanjo reportedly still remains will soon be lifted and that he can resume both his private and public life in all freedom.

Olusegun Obasanjo, who steered Nigeria to democracy in 1979, is Chair of the Advisory council of Transparency International. General Obasanjo's imprisonment in 1995 has been described by Transparency International as being the result of "trumped-up charges and concocted evidence heard at a secret trial alleging an offence being committed in Nigeria at a time when he was shown to be in New York attending a board meeting of the trustees of the Ford Foundation".

Transparency International wishes to thank all those who have supported the joint three-year campaign of the Africa Leadership Forum and TI for the release of Obasanjo and the other political detainees in Nigeria.

For any press enquiries please contact

Mr. Jeff Lovitt (Berlin)

Head of Public Relations

tel. 49-30-343 8200

fax 49-30-3470 3912

e-mail: [email protected]