WASHINGTON (AP) _ Nigeria apologized Friday to the State Department for an incident last month in which Nigerian security forces disrupted a farewell party given in honor of departing U.S. Ambassador Walter Carrington.

Nigerian Ambassador Dato Adamu conveyed the apology for what he called ``a most unfortunate incident,'' department spokesman James P. Rubin said.

The ambassador told department officials his government has the utmost respect for Carrington and that it has no intention of slighting or otherwise threatening him, Rubin said.

Rubin added that Nigerian government will provide a written explanation of the incident within several days.

``We welcome this apology and its acknowledgment of the obligations to allow Ambassador Carrington and the U.S. Embassy to conduct diplomatic business in a safe and secure environment,'' he added.

Rubin said the United States expects that those responsible for the incident will be held accountable.

The reception for Carrington was hosted by pro-democracy and human rights groups.

The security agents broke down the gate at the house where the reception was being held. After entering the residence, they drew their guns and broke up the gathering.