US embassy cable - 01ABUJA1350

RISING CRIME IN LAGOS: AMBASSADOR MEETINGS WITH THE ACTING NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR AND THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE

Identifier: 01ABUJA1350
Wikileaks: View 01ABUJA1350 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Abuja
Created: 2001-06-14 11:27:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: ASEC KCRM AMGT NI
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.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 001350 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
DEPT FOR DS/DSS, DS/DSS/ITA, DS/OP/AF, DS/PSP/FPD, 
AF/EX, AF/W 
 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ASEC, KCRM, AMGT, NI 
SUBJECT: RISING CRIME IN LAGOS: AMBASSADOR  MEETINGS 
WITH THE ACTING NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR AND THE 
INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE 
 
1. Summary: On Friday, June 8, Ambassador Jeter, RSO 
Gibson and RSO Bishop met with the Inspector General of 
the Nigeria Police Force (IGP) and the Acting National 
Security Advisor who is also the Director General of the 
Nigeria State Security Service to discuss the increase 
in violent crime in Lagos.  The meetings were a frank 
exchange of views on the current crime situation and 
resulted in promises from the Police IG for increased 
Mobile Police Officers to be directly assigned to the 
Consulate and for a more proactive approach to command 
and control problems of security forces by the A/NSA. 
The MOA establishing a formal relationship between the 
U.S. Mission and the NPF was also discussed.  End 
summary. 
 
 
2. On Friday, June 8, Ambassador Jeter, RSO Gibson, 
Lagos and RSO Bishop, Abuja met with Musiliu Smith, 
Inspector General of the Nigeria Police Force (IGP) at 
the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) Headquarters in Abuja. 
In addition to the IGP, eight Deputy Inspectors General 
were present at this meeting.  The Ambassador expressed 
his gratitude for the NPF  continuous support of the 
U.S. Diplomatic Missions in Nigeria.  He then expressed 
his concern to the IGP regarding the recent increase in 
criminal violence in Lagos.  Ambassador Jeter advised 
the IGP that most of the diplomatic, expatriate and 
business community in the affluent Victoria and Ikoyi 
Island neighborhoods of Lagos share our concerns 
regarding the dramatic increase in criminal activity. 
The Ambassador added that such events are extremely 
costly to the GON in terms of potential loss of foreign 
investment and steady erosion of a solid economic base. 
Ambassador Jeter also informed the IGP that he had 
previously met with the Lagos State Governor regarding 
this issue and expressed the same concerns for the 
overall cost to the economy of Lagos if this wave of 
crime were not stopped. 
 
 
3. RSO Gibson briefed the Inspectors regarding specifics 
of the increase in criminal activity in Lagos. RSO 
advised IGP Smith that he has noted a significant 
increase in crime during the past eight months in Lagos. 
While there has always been a criminal threat, recent 
events indicate that this threat had escalated beyond 
control.  RSO described how gangs of violent criminals 
have begun to concentrate their efforts in the 
previously considered safe areas of Victoria Island (VI) 
and Ikoyi. He also noted that these criminals appear to 
be well organized, well trained and increasingly brazen 
in the commission of criminal offenses. These gangs work 
in groups numbering up to eight persons, armed with 
military-style automatic rifles. 
 
 
4. RSO Gibson further described how the criminals had 
apparently crossed several previously sacrosanct lines 
by increasingly targeting diplomatic vehicles (to 
include U.S.) in armed car-jacking attempts. Previously, 
members of the diplomatic community residing in VI and 
Ikoyi had been relatively immune to being targeted by 
criminals. The IGP was informed that most diplomatic, 
expatriate and business community residents in Lagos 
are, for the first time, expressing a real fear of 
travel during the peak periods of criminal activity from 
2000 to 2300 hours.  The IGP was also told that this 
increase in criminal activity is already having a 
negative impact on local businesses, as most people are 
too afraid to venture out of their homes during the 
evening hours. 
 
 
5. To further illustrate the severity of the situation, 
RSO Gibson described two recent incidents affecting U.S. 
Consulate Lagos.  First, the RSO said that the Consulate 
Local Guard Force mobile patrol vehicle was the victim 
of an armed carjacking in which a NPF officer assigned 
to the Consulate was shot and killed by the criminals 
(Lagos 01432).  RSO also described another incident in 
which the Assistant Regional Security Officer was the 
victim of an attempted car-jacking incident (Lagos 
01475).  RSO continued that late-model European and 
Japanese sport utility vehicles have always been at 
increased risk of being targeted by carjackers. Now, 
however, criminals have begun targeting all makes and 
models of vehicles and using stolen vehicles to commit 
other crimes before fleeing the area. 
 
 
6. RSO advised that, in his opinion, one of the main 
obstacles to successfully countering this criminal 
threat was a decided lack of command and control of all 
available security forces deployed.  RSO added that he 
has personally seen how representatives of the Mobile 
Police Force directly responsible for protecting 
diplomatic properties and personnel are incapable of 
receiving or transmitting pertinent security information 
to other offices of the NPF to include the Rapid 
Response Squad (RRS), the Special Anti-Robbery Squad 
(SARS), the Joint Military/Police patrols, and the 
regular NNP.  RSO offered that a central point of 
command and control, if established, would coordinate 
all forces to counteract any threat.  IGP Smith 
countered that all of these forces were under his 
control and that he was looking at ways of better 
coordinating their efforts. 
 
 
7. Ambassador Jeter queried IGP Smith on the status of 
the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) submitted to the NPF 
by both AmEmbassy Abuja and CONGEN Lagos.  The MOA was 
requested in response to a Department (DS) directive to 
formalize the existing relationship between the Mission 
in Nigeria and the NPF officers assigned to protect U.S. 
Diplomatic interests.  The IGP responded that he was 
aware of the MOA and that his office was required to 
consult with other agencies and gain their approval. 
The IGP was also queried regarding the status of 
information requested by RSO Abuja to initiate Anti- 
Terrorism-Assistance (ATA) training offered to the NPF 
by the Department.  The IGP responded by directing the 
appropriate Assistant Inspector General of Police for 
training (also present at this meeting) to take the 
necessary action to promptly provide this information. 
 
 
8. (U) The IGP responded that the NPF was well aware of 
the recent increase in crime in Lagos, and attributed it 
to mass unemployment.  He gave assurances that he would 
deploy more police officer to the area in an effort to 
stem the rising criminal tide.  The IGP also attributed 
the increase in crime to the presence of the numerous 
small vendors and kiosks that are located on almost 
every street in Victoria and Ikoyi Island.  The IGP said 
that the presence of these vendors and kiosks afford 
criminals a means to easily conceal their criminal 
intent in residential areas where they operate and also 
serves as a platform for surveillance before conducting 
criminal acts.  IGP Smith further noted that the Lagos 
State Government and not the NPF had the responsibility 
to eliminate these unauthorized vendors and kiosks.  In 
terms of the diplomatic community in Lagos, The IGP 
promised to send a representative to the next meeting 
tentatively scheduled for June 14th to officially discuss 
the security situation and what the NPF proposes to do 
to control the violent crime. 
 
 
9. Ambassador Jeter, RSO Gibson and RSO Bishop also met 
with the Acting National Security Advisor who is also 
the Director General of the Nigerian State Security 
Service (SSS) at the SSS headquarters in Abuja regarding 
the same issue.  Both the Ambassador and RSO Gibson 
briefed the Acting NSA regarding the increase in crime 
in Ikoyi and Victoria Island, Lagos, and expressed their 
concerns that local criminals were becoming more 
organized, violent and brazen in the commission of their 
offenses.  The Acting NSA was attentive and clearly 
impressed with the Mission  extensive information on 
the criminal threat that in Lagos.  The Acting NSA 
admitted that there was a well-organized gang working in 
the area of Ikoyi that apparently had received some 
military and/or police training.  He revealed that the 
SSS and its counterpart in the Republic of Benin were 
working closely to eradicate the criminal presence along 
the porous Nigerian/Benin border and would use all 
available means to counteract this new carjacking 
threat.  As the meeting drew to a close, the Acting NSA 
queried the Ambassador on what can be done to restore 
the confidence of the people in the police  ability to 
control crime.  The Ambassador responded that a central 
authority in control of Nigeria  security agencies and 
assets in Lagos would be a positive step to restoring 
the people  confidence; moreover, the GON needed to 
send a senior security official to brief the diplomatic 
community in Lagos to convince them that the security 
situation would be brought under control.  The Acting 
NSA promised to take these items under advisement for 
the next security meeting scheduled this week and also 
offered to send a representative to the next scheduled 
Diplomatic Corps meeting on security. 
 
 
10. The Consul General and RSO will schedule a meeting 
with the Lagos-based Diplomatic Corps for June 14th, to 
brief them on the results of these meetings.  It is 
hoped that promised representatives from the NPF and the 
SSS do indeed attend to foster a frank exchange of views 
on the current crime situation.  Results of this meeting 
will be reported as appropriate. 
 
 
JETER 

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