After making public pleas for moderation, the Nigerian government reacted to new executions of senior Ghanaian military officers in Accra by disclosing that it may cut off oil supplies to its neighbor.
One source said that oil-rich Nigeria, which supplies 80 percent of Ghana's oil imports, had already decided to halt oil supplies for the new Ghana military government.
The news of the exeuctions came as a surprise here, since an envoy of the Ghanaian government only yesterday assured senior Nigerian officicals that there would be no more killings of members of the ousted military ladership.
The envoy, Gen. Jushua Hamidu, delivered a letter from Ghana's new ruler Flight Lt. Jerry Rawlings to Nigeria's head of state Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo. Sources said Ghana was seeking Nigerian economic aid to stave off starvation conditions that could become evident in Ghana within the next few weeks.
Obasanjo reportedly was "disgusted" with the execution in Accra of two senior officers ten days ago, and Hamidu sought to reassure the Nigerians publicly that there would be no more executions.
"I believe we can clean our house without bloodshed," Hamidu said in an interview on Nigerian television last night. "I do believe Nigerians can help us persuade the armed forces revolutionary council that we can heal the patient without killing him."
An official who disclosed Ghana's plea for economic assistance said that after today's execution of six more military men in Accra, "I doubt if we will be willing to help them."
Hamidu left for home yesterday.
Political observers here believe that Rawlings, who is chairman of Ghana's armed forces revolutionary council, may not be in complete control of the 14-member body composed of junior officers, noncommissioned officers and privates. Rawlings is reported to be under pressure from more radical members to continue "house cleaning" through the use of the firing squad.