Today Bondevik is Prime Minister. The name of the Minister of Petroleum and Energy, and the formal owner of Statoil, is Marit Arnstad. And the government has a Minister of Human Rights, who has a particular responsibility for cases like this one. Her name is Hilde Frafjord Johnson. Apparently, the conditions are favourable for making Statoil withdraw from Nigeria.
For a long time, Frafjord Johnson has promised an inquiry of the human rights situation in Nigeria, with recommendations for future Norwegian policy. It has been postponed over and over again, and it has not yet been carried out. During the time that has passed, the dictator Sani Abacha has promised democratic reforms and elections. He later forced all the political parties to nominate himself as their candidate for presidency, before he passed away. A new dictator, Abdulsalam Abubakar, has taken his position, and has continued the promises of democratic reforms and elections. The foremost leader of the opposition, Moshood Abiola, has died in prison. And the election has been postponed.
On 28 July we read in the Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv that Parliamentary Secretary Leif Lunde is positive towards the developments in Nigeria, and is not prepared to pull Statoil out of the country. But even if Abubakar has released some prisoners, he has done little to improve the situation of the country. In this sense we understand Lunde's enthusiasm: Abubakar is a centre coalition dictator.
Norwatch Newsletter 15/98