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Report on Nigerian Community 'Not Supported by Facts'

May 16, 1991

It was very distressing to read the report "Nigerian Community Divided by Fear, Suspicion" (Times, April 14). Jesse Katz's account of the Nigerian community was not just misleading, it was mischievous; it contained over-generalizations and damaging assertions that were not supported by facts.

While he writes that a "small but growing enclave in San Gabriel Valley seeks to distance itself from countrymen who have committed crimes," (the headline) insinuates that every Nigerian regards the other as a criminal and hence would not associate with him.

The sentiments generated at the symposium were hardly reported. Mr. Katz chose to focus on the "experience" of one Nigerian who was not at the meeting, and from that, he made a deliberate attempt to discredit the entire community. This, to us, implies that he had less than honorable intentions.

The Nigerian community is aware of the systematic efforts by unscrupulous institutions, insurance agencies, some banks and immigration and custom officials to target Nigerians. It is very unfortunate, but this kind of situation leads to racial antagonism and does not foster harmony that America needs to be a credible, democratic world power.

Virtue and high achievement are not a monopoly of any particular ethnic group. The Nigerian community will defend itself against any defamation of the image of law-abiding and proud people.

OLA OLAMBIWONNU MD

Pasadena

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