Nigerian Prisoner Abiola Dies

July 08, 1998

Nigeria’s most prominent political prisoner, Moshood Abiola, has died. He collapsed during a meeting with U.S. officials Thomas Pickering, the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, and Susan Rice, the Assistant Secretary for African Affairs. The government says Abiola died of a heart attack yesterday in a hospital. Abiola’s family refuses to accept the official version of his sudden death — reportedly of a heart attack — saying the timing of his death is "too convenient." Nigerian officials are promising a full autopsy. However, Abiola’s family says he is to be buried today.


  • Hafsat Abiola, the daughter of Moshood and Kudirat Abiola. Her mother was gunned down in 1996 by six armed men believed to have been sent by former dictator Sani Abacha.
  • Owens Wiwa, the brother of Ken Saro Wiwa, one of the Ogoni rights activists executed by former dictator Sani Abacha.
  • Walter Carrington, the former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria.