US embassy cable - 01ABUJA964

NSA MOHAMMED AND AMBASSADOR DISCUSS PRESIDENT OBASANJO'S VISIT

Identifier: 01ABUJA964
Wikileaks: View 01ABUJA964 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Abuja
Created: 2001-05-04 09:50:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
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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