TranAfrica Nigeria letter
In an attempt to prod the military government of Nigeria toward a return to civilian rule, TransAfrica Forum's Randall Robinson enlisted the aid of politicians, educators and celebrities in order to focus the eyes of the world on human-rights abuses in Africa's most populous nation and return democracy to what many consider Africa's best hope. In a March 1995 letter to General Sani Abacha, who came to power in a 1993 military coup, Robinson accused Abacha of killing political opponents and shutting down the press. Robinson beseeched Abacha "to expedite the restoration of democracy" to Nigeria's 100 million people or face "incalculable damage" and "eventual economic and political isolation of your regime."
The letter was signed by a host of prominent Blacks: author Maya Angelou, actors Danny Glover, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee; the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Joseph Lowery; musician and composer Quincy Jones; TV personality Bryant Gumbel; acting NAACP head Earl T. Shinhoster; International Human Rights Group director Gay McDougall; Harvard Law Professor and former Judge Leon Higginbotham, Jr.; National Urban League president Hugh Price; and a majority of Congressional Black Caucus members, including Chairman Donald Payne (D-NJ) and Alcee Hastings (D-FL), both House Subcommittee on Africa members.