NIGERIA: Penny-Ante Putsch

Flags hung limply at half-mast in the oppressive heat of Lagos. Throughout Nigeria public meetings and other events were canceled. For seven days Africa's most populous nation (estimated at 60 million) officially mourned Head of State Murtala Mohammed, who was killed during an attempted coup on Friday, Feb. 13.

Nigeria, black Africa's richest and potentially most powerful state, has been unable to live up to its promise. Only six years ago the country pulled itself out of the devastating Biafran civil war. Murtala himself had come to power only seven months ago, after...

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