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The Rev. Henry Lyons


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Attorney's statement

©St. Petersburg Times, published November 25, 1997

Grady Irvin, the Rev. Henry J. Lyons' attorney, released a statement Monday evening from the Office of the President, National Baptist Convention USA:

This office is in receipt of a letter from the Times which states or implies that the New York-based Permanent Mission of Nigeria made financial contributions to the National Baptist Convention and that the convention's president, Rev. Henry J. Lyons, "lobbied" the White House and U.S. Congress on behalf of the Nigerian government. To the best of this office's present knowledge, Rev. Lyons was among a group of fifteen (15) American citizens who traveled to Nigeria in the summer of 1997 to learn first-hand many of the humanitarian, housing, health, and technological initiatives confronting this developing nation. After his trip to Nigeria, Rev. Lyons personally expressed to parishioners, laypersons, Convention members, and other U.S. citizens certain matters and hardships in Nigeria he had witnessed for himself. To the best of this office (sic) present recollection, neither the president of the Convention nor any member of the delegation received compensated (sic) for the trip, and furthermore, no member was under any obligation, whatsoever, to endorse the political views of Nigeria's government or its people.

Dr. Russell Odom, who has traveled extensively in various African countries and spent more than one-year coordinating the Nigeria trip, estimates that the cost of the 15-member delegation's 10-day trip cost more $350,000.00 (sic) and encompassed actual on-site study and analysis in the majority of the states in the African country. Dr. Odom has confirmed that this office or one of its representatives consulted certain African-American members of Congress prior to the delegation traveling to Nigeria -- for the purpose of learning any concerns such members might have. 

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