US embassy cable - 01ABUJA1841

NIGERIA: AMBASSADOR MEETS CHIEF OF AIR STAFF

Identifier: 01ABUJA1841
Wikileaks: View 01ABUJA1841 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Abuja
Created: 2001-07-26 08:52:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
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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