In November 1995, following the execution of nine pro-democracy campaigners including Ken Saro-Wiwa, leader of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni Peoples, which campaigned against oil pollution by the multinational company Shell in the Niger Delta, Nigeria was suspended from the Commonwealth, became diplomatically isolated, and an arms embargo was imposed by the European Union via Common position 95/515/CFSP and the United States. Other measures contained the restriction of travel on military personnel and politicians and a ban on sporting contacts.
In May 1999, the European Union restored cooperation with Nigeria via Council Decision of 1999/347/CFSP. A return to democracy was a condition for lifting the sanctions,
The EU said renewed cooperation with Nigeria would focus mainly on ending poverty and corruption, strengthening democracy and good governance.