|Wikileaks:||View 01ABUJA1841 at Wikileaks.org|
|Tags:||MARR MCAP MASS PINR 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.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 001841 SIPDIS DEPARTMENT FOR AF/RA BITTRICK, AF/W E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/16/2011 TAGS: MARR, MCAP, MASS, PINR, NI SUBJECT: NIGERIA: AMBASSADOR MEETS CHIEF OF AIR STAFF (U) Classified by Ambassador Howard F. Jeter; Reasons 1.5 (b) and (d). 1. (C) SUMMARY: On July 16, Ambassador Jeter met with the new Chief of Air Staff (COAS), Air Vice Marshall Jonah Wuyep. Wuyep was strongly supportive of the MPRI program. He and his staff emphasized the need for undergraduate pilot training and a domestic capability to carry out periodic depot maintenance and manufacture spare parts for the Nigerian C-130 fleet. Wuyep agreed to the use of Air Base Abuja as a forward operating base (FOB) for Operation Focus Relief (OFR) Phase 3 but said that no buildings would be available for OFR use. He offered to send a member of his staff along with the DAO/PA&E/3rd Group team to view the FOB that same day. END SUMMARY. 2. (U) Ambassador Jeter was accompanied to the meeting by Acting Defense Attache Major Oliver Cass and Staff Assistant/PolMilOff (notetaker). AVM Wuyep was joined by Air Commodore (AC) Kolawale (Logostics), AC MAD Bello (Operations), AC Ajomale (Plans), and a junior staffer. Media was present during the initial courtesies and some of the discussion of training and assistance for the Air Force but then was asked to leave. 3. (C) MPRI: The Ambassador stated that he believed the MPRI program was excellent and could substantially and significantly assist the Nigerian Ministry of Defense and the military Services to improve their budgeting, procurement and other systems. However, the Ambassador noted, MPRI had not been embraced by the Ministry and the Armed Services to date, and the program was now seriously behind the schedule described in the jointly-developed action plan. Some of the team was still without counterparts. If positive change did not come soon, he would have to recommend ending the program. 4. (C) AVM Wuyep noted that he had been in the U.S. when he was appointed Chief of Air Staff. While there, he had received what he described as "an excellent briefing" on both the MPRI program and OFR. He agreed fully with the Ambassador on the value of the MPRI program, and noted that his Service had sent a number of counterparts to the team. He believed that the initial difficulties with the program were caused by a "lack of information." Ambassador Jeter pointed out that former Chief of Army Staff Malu had been given briefings on both programs (MPRI and OFR), but still pretended h id not know what they were about. Malu and the Ambassador enjoyed a long-standing friendship, an Malu could have called on him at any time to answer any questions he might have had. Clearly, Malu had some issues with the MPRI program (and OFR), but avoided seeking information or answers that might have put his concerns to rest. 5. (C) FMS/IMET: Ambassador Jeter outlined the present FMS cases for the Air Force, as well as the types of IMET courses available. Wuyep emphasized the need for pilot training (especially undergraduate pilot training), and assistance for the Nigerian C-130s. AC Kolawole stated that Nigeria needed to be able to perform periodic domestic depot maintenance on the C-130 fleet. AC Ajomale added that the Air Force would like to develop the research and development capacity to manufacture C-130 spare parts in Nigeria. In response to a question from Major Cass about the operability of the C-130 fleet, Wuyep stated that two of the eight Nigerian C-130s were operable, but that all eight had sound airframes and could be repaired. 6. (C) Ambassador Jeter noted that the present level of security assistance for Nigeria was likely to remain steady for several years, and these requests could certainly be entertained. Cass added that it would be important for the Air Force to consider the end-state it would like to reach with the C-130 fleet and other programs, and then communicate that to the Embassy. PolMilOff added that the MPRI team was ideally suited to help the Air Force consider how to plan for procurement and budgeting to reach such an end-state. 7. (C) OFR FOB: Ambassador Jeter noted that the Minister of Defense had approved Air Base Abuja as a FOB site for OFR P3. The Embassy wanted to work with the office of the COAS to move forward quickly. The Ambassador noted that it would be helpful to have access and use of several of the buildings on the base for the FOB, and asked if that would be possible. He also noted that the Embassy team needed to view the base as quickly as possible. Wuyep said that while he approved the proposal to use the air base, there were not sufficient buildings to allocate to the FOB. The Air Vice Marshall then assigned one of his officers to visit the base that afternoon with the Embassy team. He also confirmed that electricity and water were available on the base. 8. (C) COMMENT: Wuyep and his staff were friendly and easy-going. Understandably, responsible for an Air Force with few functional aircraft, they were focused on ways to repair and refurbish their equipment and train their pilots. However, this initial meeting was very positive, and we expect good and open relations with the Air Force as a result. 9. (C) DAO COMMENT: The Nigerian Air Force clearly went out of its way to be accommodating to the Embassy team; immediately after the meeting with Wuyep, the A/DATT was able, on short notice, to make a tour of the Nigerian Air Force base to be used as the OFR Forward Operating Base (FOB). Not only was permission granted, the A/DATT was accompanied by the base commander. A detailed description of the A/DATT's observations will follow septel. 10. (C) BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Wuyep told the Ambassador that he flew missions for the Nigerian Air Force in both Southern and Eastern Africa early in his career, in support of "liberation movements," including the delivery of supplies to the ANC, SWAPO, and the MPLA respectively. 11. (U) Contrary to bio reports Post has seen in the past, Wuyep stated that fishing is not a hobby. He enjoyed fishing while training in the U.S., but does it very infrequently in Nigeria. Jeter
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