US embassy cable - 01ABUJA954


Identifier: 01ABUJA954
Wikileaks: View 01ABUJA954 at
Origin: Embassy Abuja
Created: 2001-05-03 13:18:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 000954 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/02/2011 
(U) Classified by Ambassador Howard F. Jeter for reasons 1.5 
(b) and (d). 
1. (C) SUMMARY. During an April 19 post-Operation FOCUS 
RELIEF (OFR) round-table meeting, Nigeria,s National 
Security Advisor told us that the Nigerian civilian 
government has complete control of the military.  The NSA was 
pleased that the OFR meeting had been positive, but deep 
frustration that the MPRI payment had not been made (as he 
had been assured by MOD and other officials).  General 
Mohammed also supported the notion of using retired Nigerian 
military officials for counterparts in the MPRI program.  END 
2. (U) Following the OFR Roundtable, Ambassador Jeter, DOD 
PDAS McConnell, AF PDAS Mark Bellamy, DATT, and Counselor for 
Regional Affairs called on National Security Advisor General 
Aliyu Mohammed (ret).  The NSA was joined by his principal 
assistant, LTC M.I. Idris. 
3. (C) McConnell briefed the NSA on the results of the OFR 
round-table.  McConnell said that MOD officials had agreed 
that Operation FOCUS RELIEF Phase III (OFR P3) personnel 
would be billeted inside the perimeter of Nigerian bases, but 
would not be co-located in Nigerian barracks.  The specific 
bases were not yet identified.  (COMMENT:  As noted reftel, 
the Chief of Army Staff has committed to a site inspection by 
Nigerian Army personnel and the DATT on April 25.  Embassy is 
cautiously optimistic that the basing issue will be resolved 
favorably.  END COMMENT.)  MOD officials had also agreed that 
Nigerian forces would deploy to Sierra Leone for one year. 
DATT then briefed the NSA on which Nigerian elements and 
locations had previously been identified for P3 training.  He 
also noted that in order for OFR P3 to begin on time it was 
necessary for the MOD to confirm the military units selected 
for the training. 
4. (C) The Ambassador advised the NSA that a meeting on the 
edges of the round-table with Nigerian Chief of Army Staff 
LtGen Victor Malu had gone extremely well.  Malu had told the 
U.S. side that he was not opposed to OFR and his positive 
attitude towards the program had been misrepresented in the 
media.  The U.S. side had expressed its continuing high 
regard for Malu and assured him that articles critical of him 
on the Internet and in the American print media did not 
represent U.S. views. 
5. (C) McConnell advised the NSA of the continuing hope that 
Malu would accept the standing invitation to visit the U.S. 
to meet with senior U.S. defense officials to discuss OFR and 
other matters of mutual interest.  Finally, McConnell 
reminded the NSA that the U.S. has yet to receive Nigeria's 
USD 3.5 million for the MPRI program. 
6. (C) The NSA responded that the Nigerian government 
remained firmly committed to OFR and that Nigerian elected 
officials were completely in charge of the military.  He said 
that he was pleased that the Roundtable had gone well, but 
expressed surprise and frustration over the MPRI payment not 
being received.  General Mohammed said that he had been 
assured by senior Ministry of Finance officials that the 
payment had already been made.  He again requested that the 
U.S. Treasury account number where the MPRI payment would be 
received be passed directly to him.  The NSA said he would 
personally carry the account number to President Obasanjo to 
have the President sign the order to the Nigerian Central 
Bank to make immediate payment. 
7. (C) COMMENT:  Later that day, the NSA's office passed the 
Embassy copies of the Nigerian MOD documents which 
transferred the MPRI payment funds from the MOD to the 
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).  The documents were dated 
April 18 and 19, which suggest that MOD personnel handling 
the transfer of funds had been misleading the NSA for several 
months concerning their delay in making the payments, or that 
the Ministry of Finance had delayed the release of the funds 
to the MOD.  In any case, the last step is for the CBN to 
transfer the funds to the U.S. Treasury account.  Embassy 
hopes this issue has now been put to rest.  END COMMENT. 
8. (C) In further discussions concerning MPRI, McConnell and 
the Ambassador noted that the U.S. has proposed to the MOD 
using retired Nigerian military personnel as counter-parts. 
This solution might make it easier for the Nigerian side to 
ensure regular and reliable participation in the program. 
NSA Mohammed said he thought this was an excellent idea, and 
said that he knew several retired generals who would be good 
for the program.  He named retired Generals Archibong and 
Jaffar Isa, both of whom were also strong supporters of OFR. 
9. (C) The meeting concluded with Ambassador Jeter noting 
that the discussion during the roundtable had been frank and 
productive, giving hope that both programs could now move 
forward expeditiously.  While other issues would certainly 
arise, they could be handled in a collaborative way.  The NSA 
agreed that this was now the case. 
10. (C) COMMENT: As noted reftel, there are still hurdles to 
overcome before we can be confident that OFR3 will begin on 
time in Nigeria.  However, after an open and productive 
roundtable, and a clear message of support from the NSA, 
Embassy is hopeful that the Nigerian defense establishment is 
now ready to move forward productively.  The 
retirement/dismissal of General Malu and his cohorts should 
now pave the way.  END COMMENT. 

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