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Volume 405: debated on Monday 19 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations his Department has made to the Government of Nigeria regarding (a) the conduct of the presidential and gubernatorial elections and (b) the murders of Dr. Harry Marshall and Mr. Ogbannaya. [112730]

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs issued a press statement on 29 April following the Presidential elections noting the re-election of President Obasanjo, and expressing the UK's desire to support the President in pursuing strategic policies on economic and government reform. The statement also reflected our concern at reports of serious fraud and irregularities.Following the murder of Marshall Harry on 5 March, we condemned the use of political violence in the conduct of elections, and welcomed the Nigerian Government's declared intention to ensure a swift and rigorous investigation. Before the elections, our High Commissioner frequently called on the leadership of the main political parties to avoid violence and to take action against those who used it.