|Wikileaks:||View 01ABUJA2560 at Wikileaks.org|
|Tags:||PREL PTER EFIN KCRM 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 002560 SIPDIS DEPT FOR INL E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/08/2011 TAGS: PREL, PTER, EFIN, KCRM, NI SUBJECT: TFUS01: NIGERIA: NSA MOHAMMED ON TERRORISM REF: A. STATE 170698 B. STATE 175419 C. STATE 170551 D. ABUJA 2521 (U) Classified by Ambassador Howard F. Jeter; Reasons 1.5 (b) and (d). 1. (C) SUMMARY: Ambassador Jeter, accompanied by PolCouns and PolMilOff, called on NSA Aliyu Mohammed on October 8. Foreign Minister, Sule Lamido, Kaduna Governor Makarfi, Adobe Obe, Foreign Affairs advisor to President Obasanjo, and LTC Idris also attended. This message covers their conversation on U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan and counter-terrorism, including anti-money laundering efforts and the upcoming bilateral law enforcement meeting. Segments on Sudan, DRC and Burundi are covered septel. 2. (C) SUMMARY CONTINUED: The NSA stated the GON would make a supportive public statement on U.S. military actions the afternoon of October 8 (which was done). He took note of the need for MLAT ratification and the urgent need to bolster Nigeria's anti-money laundering legal regime. While supportive of a change in venue for the bilateral law enforcement meeting, the NSA stated the Minister of Justice had the final word. END SUMMARY. =============================== Bin Laden and the U.S. Response =============================== 3. (C) After summarizing his October 7 conversation with President Obasanjo about the impending military strikes, the Ambassador emphasized to the NSA that U.S. actions had been and would continue to be measured. Moreover, the action against Taliban military targets were coupled with large dollops of humanitarian support for the Afghani people. Describing generally the information contained Ref A as strong evidence of the complicity of Bin Laden and Al-Qa'ida in the September 11 infamy and previous attacks against the U.S., the Ambassador stressed that the global reach of the organization threatened all nations, including Nigeria. NSA Mohammed, noting that Bin Laden had struck in Africa before he struck in America, stated that the GON took the threat seriously. Now that "the heat is on these groups," he was concerned they would "melt into Africa" where the borders were porous and the banking system lacked controls. President Obasanjo was talking to other African Heads of State about the need to improve their abilities to counter this threat, Mohammed remarked. 4. (C) Ambassador Jeter recalled that one of the September 11 terrorists had apparently been in Nigeria. The NSA responded the Nigerian visa in the terrorist's passport was a forgery. Noting that the passport also bore entry and exit stamps, the Ambassador remarked that the question of why Nigerian travel entries were in the passport at all needed to be answered. Shifting the focus from the Ambassador's inquiry, the NSA offered that the GON would make a statement endorsing the U.S. military actions. Thanking the NSA, Ambassador Jeter urged that the statement explicitly tie our action to the right to self-defense as contained in the UN Charter. (COMMENT: Press reports on the statement do not mention reference to the UN Charter. Nonetheless, the statement is supportive, reiterating that the U.S. is targeting terrorists, not innocent Muslims. END COMMENT.) ==================================== COUNTER-TERRORISM EFFORTS IN NIGERIA ==================================== 5. (C) Discussing Nigeria's counter-terrorism apparatus, the NSA explained that he chaired a weekly meeting of the Nigeria Intelligence Agency, the State Security Service and the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Special Nigerian "Task Force" that has been mentioned in previous reporting. Additionally, his office was developing a seminar for the police, customs, immigration, and port officials to increase awareness of the threat of terrorism. A second seminar was also being arranged to raise awareness of officials at the local and state levels. Separately, the President planned to establish an interagency National Security Commission, but this would be designed to handle internal security matters only, such as preventing inter-communal conflicts. =========================== FAFT - STILL NOT GETTING IT =========================== 6. (C) Remarking that preventing money laundering was cardinal in the fight against terrorism, the Ambassador pointed out that Nigeria, decertified by the FATF, was now on a list of non-compliant countries (Ref C). The current money-laundering regime, which focused only on monies derived from the narcotics trade, was insufficient to combat the financial arm of terrorism. The bank regulatory system was weak and there was no way to track the funds flowing through Nigeria, Jeter noted. Moreover, Nigeria had tarried in responding to the FATF questionnaire. Nigeria needed to move decisively to cure these flaws in order to maintain its position in the vanguard against terrorism, the Ambassador asserted. 7. (C) Surprised the FATF questionnaire had not been answered, the NSA promised to get the relevant departments to quickly complete the task. He also requested our help in identifying the curative measures Abuja must take to overcome the decertification. The NSA rushed to mention that the President's plan for an agency to deal with financial crimes (the Financial Crimes Commission) was being vetted by the Federal Executive Council (Cabinet) and then would be passed to the National Assembly for approval. The process should be completed by year's end, Mohammed offered. 8. (C) In an attempt to save face, the NSA complained Nigeria had thus far received "zero support from the U.S." to recover the Abacha funds. Ambassador Jeter responded that the Embassy's LEGATT was working with his GON counterpart. Now that forensic documents had been shared with Washington, he hoped progress would be visible soon. However, Nigeria had not ratified the 1989 MLAT, which the U.S. ratified in early 2001. The MLAT would ease cooperation in this area, the Ambassador contended. The NSA, noting that the U.S. took over 10 years to ratify the treaty, said, "Our Senate will do it in three months." ================================= BILATERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT MEETING ================================= 9. (C) Explaining that the U.S. law enforcement community's attention was focused on counter-terrorism, the Ambassador told the NSA that the U.S. hoped to shift the venue for the November bilateral law enforcement meeting to Washington. The NSA stated that he understood but must remain officially neutral as a venue change would have to be agreed to by the Minister of Justice. 10. (C) COMMENT: The GON continues to privately and publicly support U.S. counter-terrorism efforts. Recent events have clearly focused the attention of this government on its own needs to address this threat. Inertia and lack of communication and coordination between Ministries notwithstanding, we will keep pressing and hope to see some action from the GON, particularly on the money laundering front. Due to President Obasanjo's penchant for regional initiatives, we expect that, through ECOWAS or an ad hoc grouping of African nations, Obasanjo will push for a political consensus to restrict the ability of terrorists to operate in the sub-region. END COMMENT. Jeter
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