|Wikileaks:||View 01ABUJA964 at Wikileaks.org|
|Tags:||OVIP SNAR CJAN MASS NI ECOWAS|
|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 000964 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/03/2011 TAGS: OVIP, SNAR, CJAN, MASS, NI, ECOWAS SUBJECT: NSA MOHAMMED AND AMBASSADOR DISCUSS PRESIDENT OBASANJO'S VISIT (U) Classified by Ambassador Howard F.Jeter; Reasons 1.5 (b) and (d). 1. (C) SUMMARY: Ambassador Jeter called on NSA Mohammed on May 3 to discuss President Obasanjo's visit to Washington. Police reform, some sub-regional issues, and Nigeria's voting record in the Commission on Human Rights (covered septel) were also discussed. The NSA expressed interest in an OFR-type program for the police, and suggested the Lagos Command as a possible starting-point. The NSA agreed with Washington notional plans for the visit. He said that both he and the President would meet with Alhaji Kromah later on May 3. END SUMMARY. 2. (SBU) The Ambassador was accompanied by RNLEO, A/DCM, and his Staff Assistant (notetaker). The NSA was joined by State House Chief of Protocol Ambassador J.O. Coker, and the Minister of State for the Army Alhaji Lawal Batagarawa. ============= POLICE REFORM ============= 3. (C) The Ambassador noted that the round-table planned for May 9 in Washington would focus on law enforcement issues, and called on RNLEO to update the NSA on the work of the police reform team presently in Nigeria. RNLEO stated that the work of the team was a continuation of the work begun by OTI last year, which had included discussions and planning with the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Minister of Police Affairs. During the past week, the team had visited Lagos, Abuja, Jos, Maidugari, and Port Harcourt. They would meet shortly with the IGP and Police Minister as well. RNLEO explained that while everyone understood the need for more police in Nigeria, the large number of new recruits were straining resources at training institutions. 4. (C) The NSA stated that in May 1999, there were only 125,000 police in Nigeria. The Obasanjo Administration had decided that at least 280,000 were needed, and had decided to meet that requirement over a four year period. Unfortunately, the NSA admitted, the Administration had not realized how far the military regime had gutted the training istitutions, and he noted that in addition to lack of facilities, there was even a lack of trained instructors. The NSA remarked that during a past visit to Washington, he had met with AG Reno and FBI Director Freeh, and that they had pledged cooperation and support for police reform. (Mohammed emphasized fighting financial crimes and building a criminal database.) He also said that Nigeria would welcome a train and equip program, like that of OFR, for the police. (COMMENT: The NSA stated that he had discussed OFR with soon-to-retire General Archibong. Archibong had told the NSA that OFR "was the best thing ever to happen to Nigerian soldiers." END COMMENT.) He noted that Lagos State Governor Tinubu was coming to the Villa for a meeting with the President and the IGP that afternoon to discuss security concerns in Lagos, and emphasized that the Lagos police command could be used as a test for such a program. 5. (C) RNLEO noted that FBI training in forensics and establishment of a criminal database had already been approved and would soon be implemented. The Ambassador added that the round-table in Washington would afford Mohammed the opportunity to raise ideas, and to discuss GON plans, commitments, and concerns. However, the Ambassador noted, the concern is that the police are taken care of, that they recieve their pay, and that new recruits receive adequate training they need to be effective and to protect the comunities in which they work. Ambassador Jeter also affirmed that law enforcement reform was critical to the consolidation of democracy. The NSA said that a census had been taken of the civil and police services to determine the real number of state employees (vice "ghost" employees), and that this had caused a delay in payment of salaries, but that the salary distribution system would be improved in the next two or three months. ========= THE VISIT ========= 6. (C) The NSA said that Obasanjo was meeting with Al-Mahdi later the same day. He would go to Rwanda on Monday, and then on to the Congo. The purpose was to collect ideas and bring them to Washington as issues relating to the sub-region and the continent. Ambassador Jeter firmly suggested that the President not diffuse the meeting with President Bush with too many issues. The NSA replied that Obasanjo would raise briefly only four issues outside of those relating to Nigeria: Sudan, the Congo, Libya, and West Africa (which would be more extensive). The Ambassador emphasized that too much focus on the continent would take away focus from Nigerian issues, which were the main purpose of the meetings. 7. (C) Ambassador Jeter then explained that the number of accompanying officials should be kept small to keep the visit manageable and focused. He noted that this was the first visit to Washington by an African Head of State, and that numerous side meetings had been planned with Wahington Cabinet Secretaries. Moreover, this would be the longest visit of a Head of State thus far in this Administration. The Ambassador then delineated the proposed meetings. He also noted that the round-table on law enorcement issues would likely cover police reform, counter-narcotics, and anti-financial crimes efforts, and the White House, State, DEA, USSS, and the FBI would probably all participate. Finally, there would be a discussion relating to reforming the JEPC process. The NSA seemed pleased, and said that these were all of the issues that had been discussed with Ambassador Aminu. Mohammed confirmed that AG Bola Ige, the President's Senior Advisor on Drugs and Financial Crimes, Ibrahim Lame and NDLEA Chairman Lafiaji would travel to Washington for the visit. Also, Peter Yisa Gana, the Chairman of the Special Investigations Panel and Assistant Commissioner of Police, would accompany the group as a police advisor. 8. (C) The Ambassador then asked if there was an issue relating to deportations that would be raised. The NSA explained that the GON desired that the USG provide warning when deportation flights were coming, so the deportees could be properly handled. RNLEO asked if there was one agency who was in charge in these cases -- there had been some confusion among competing agencies in the past. Mohammed said that he had charged a commission to investigate the process, and was expecting a report this month, but understood that competing interests had caused a problem. =============== REGIONAL ISSUES =============== 9. (C) The NSA briefly discussed sub-regional issues. He noted that President Obasanjo had hosted a breakfast for RUF and GOSL officials who had attended the ECOWAS meetings. The RUF and GOSL officials would travel back to Freetown on May 4, all on the same plane. According to the NSA, the group had given Obasanjo a mandate to mediate the conflict, and had said that three-fourths of the peace process was complete -- all that remained was demobilization and reintegration. The NSA then mentioned that ULIMO-K leader Alhaji-Kromah was in Abuja, and would meet with the President. Ambassador Jeter noted that he had spoken by telephone with Kromah, and that Kromah had asked for a meeting with the NSA. Mohammed said he would meet with him. The Ambassador said that President Obasanjo seemed to be doing a lot of work on Sierra Leone and Liberia, including a trip to Burkina Faso. The NSA agreed, noting that during President Obasanjo's visit, Campaore had committed to try to get Charles Taylor to reconcile with Guinea. The Ambassador asked if Nigeria would lead a meeting on Liberian reconcilliation. The NSA stated that there were good alternatives to Taylor, but that most were scared, with good reason, to return to Liberia. 10. (C) COMMENT: The GON leadership seems to understand the need for police reform, but is emphasizing the issue of resources to explain lack of quick action thus far. Still, with so many institutions utterly gutted by years of military rule, its hard to criticize Nigeria for not rebuilding more quickly. Embassy is hopeful that recent statements of support for police reform by the Minister of Police Affairs and IGP will bear fruit. The GON's vision of Obasanjo's visit seems to largely match Washington's in substance, though there may be more individuals in the President's entourage than Washington desires. The Ambassador will have breakfast with the President on Saturday, and will use the meeting as an opporunity to reiterate Washington's vision. Jeter
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