US embassy cable - 02ABUJA2564

NIGERIA: PAN-SAHEL INITIATIVE (PSI) PLAN OF ACTION

Identifier: 02ABUJA2564
Wikileaks: View 02ABUJA2564 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Abuja
Created: 2002-09-03 13:33:00
Classification: SECRET//NOFORN
Tags: PHUM KWMN PREL KCRM ELAB SMIG ASEC KFRD KPAO
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.

S E C R E T ABUJA 002564 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
NOFORN 
 
 
LONDON FOR GURNEY, PARIS FOR NEARY 
 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/22/2012 
TAGS: PHUM, KWMN, PREL, KCRM, ELAB, SMIG, ASEC, KFRD, KPAO 
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: PAN-SAHEL INITIATIVE (PSI) PLAN OF ACTION 
 
REF: STATE 156285 
 
 
1.  (S/NF) Embassy strongly believes that inviting Nigeria to 
participate in the Pan-Sahel Initiative (PSI) conference is 
vital to the success of the PSI.  By reason of Nigeria's 
political and economic importance, size, demographics and the 
region's porous borders and well-worn overland routes, 
Nigeria should attend this meeting and should be asked to 
support the Initiative.  Moreover, if Nigeria is not invited, 
it may view the Initiative as threatening and exclusionary. 
Some of the other nations might find Nigeria's exclusion odd 
as well. Out of distrust and misunderstanding, Nigeria could 
react by undermining the Initiative. 
 
 
2. (S/NF) As noted, Nigeria has agreements with several of 
the participants on the same issues. Trans-border movement of 
criminals has been a problem in Nigeria for many years. 
Reports that Nigerien mutineers might have fled to Nigeria 
demonstrate that Nigeria should be included in this effort. 
Nigeria, Niger and Chad operate a joint task force to combat 
insurgency and criminality in the Lake Chad Basin. 
 
 
3. (S/NF) With heightened cognizance of potential terrorist 
threats, the GON is aware of the dangers of outsiders 
fomenting unrest in the already volatile Nigerian 
environment. Within West Africa, Nigeria is clearly the 
largest, most important player on security issues and, owing 
to its huge urban centers and diverse populations, perhaps 
the most susceptible to terrorist infiltration.  With Kano 
and Maiduguri serving as major hubs on principal traditional 
trans-Saharan trade routes, large transient and foreign-born 
populations in those and other cities provide ideal places 
for terrorists to bide their time or go to ground if faced 
with pressure across the border.  Finally, Nigeria has a 
solid history of backing USG counter-terror efforts.  For 
example, when other countries refused to bite the bullet and 
interdict Egyptair hijacker Mohammed Ali Rezaq in the early 
90s, it was Nigeria that removed him during a Lagos transit 
enroute to Sudan and turned him over to the FBI. 
 
 
4. (U) An additional reason to invite Nigeria is its 
participation in a permanent joint task force (with Niger and 
Chad) operating against brigands in the Lake Chad area. 
Involving the GON at the inception prevents the kind of 
resentment we experienced with the Nigerians on ACRI.  The 
potential pitfall with inviting Nigeria to the conference is 
that there seems to be no immediate plans to provide any 
resources to Nigeria.  When the Nigerians discover that other 
countries are receiving assistance they will seek equal 
treatment and we must be prepared to respond to their likely 
assistance on requests. 
 
 
5. (S/NF) In short, without Nigeria a big piece of the PSI 
equation is missing.  While impossible to predict the level 
of GON engagement over time, Nigeria's past engagement 
suggests a strong positive role in the months and years 
ahead.  Bringing Nigeria into the planning stages of the PSI 
would help ensure its tacit, and possibly active, support -- 
even in the absence of any immediate prospect of USG material 
support. 
 
 
6. (C) We believe that key GON officials to invite might 
include Director of State Security, LTC L.K.K. Are (retired); 
National Security Adviser LTG Aliyu Mohammed (retired); MFA 
Under Secretary for Africa Ambassador Femi 
George; and Defence Minister Danjuma and/or Minister of State 
for Defence (Army) Lawal Batagarawa. 
JETER 

Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04