US embassy cable - 02ABUJA3332

UPDATED NIGERIA TRIP WIRES

Identifier: 02ABUJA3332
Wikileaks: View 02ABUJA3332 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Abuja
Created: 2002-12-18 15:50:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN
Tags: AEMR ASEC PTER PINS CASC NI US
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 03 ABUJA 003332 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
NOFORN 
 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:12/18/2012 
TAGS: AEMR, ASEC, PTER, PINS, CASC, NI, US 
SUBJECT:  UPDATED NIGERIA TRIP WIRES 
 
REF:  01 ABUJA 2508 
 
 
CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR HOWARD F. JETER.  REASON: 1.5 (G). 
 
 
1.  (C/NF) Abuja and Lagos EACs met separately to examine 
and update tripwires last reported reftel.  The impetus for 
these meetings was rising tensions associated with electoral 
activity in Nigeria and the possibility of U.S. military 
action in Iraq.  This message reports tripwires for both 
Posts. 
 
 
2.  (C/NF) Background:  Nigeria is more volatile today than 
a year ago.  Ethnic and religious passions are evident.  A 
stagnant economy and high unemployment have created large 
pools of disaffected youth easily persuaded to take to the 
streets in some cities.  Elections into local, state and 
national office by law should take place in early 2003 but 
are yet to be scheduled, adding to the underlying tensions. 
Against this backdrop, eventual U.S. military action in Iraq 
will resonate along regional and religious fault lines here, 
already under stress from economic and electoral pressures. 
Should the U.S. engage militarily in Iraq, significant anti- 
American protests are possible in several cities, including 
Abuja and Lagos. 
 
 
3.  (C/NF) Vulnerabilities: While GON security forces retain 
the same limited capabilities they had a year ago, today 
they face additional challenges.  Violent demonstrations in 
Abuja November 22 related to the Miss World beauty pageant 
ended the aura of immunity from political violence that the 
capital had previously enjoyed.  Moreover, other apparently 
politically-inspired violence, including assassinations, not 
only degrades citizens' sense of being secure but poses 
risks for democracy.  Should a credible and specific threat 
to their security arise, the Government of Nigeria would 
seek to protect American citizens and USG facilities. 
However, the Mission is less sanguine now than it was a year 
ago that the GON would be able effectively to provide 
security.  Several Nigerian states face political 
instability so serious that it may be difficult to hold 
elections in those states.  The GON must seek to preclude 
any possibility of several, nearly simultaneous outbreaks of 
widespread, deadly political violence in far-flung parts of 
Nigeria.  Responding to that imperative spreads GON forces 
out and creates new vulnerabilities in areas thought to be 
relatively safe. 
 
 
4.  (C/NF) Different Circumstances:  Trip wires for Abuja 
and Lagos are not identical.  Overall security conditions 
and the capacity of the security forces in each city to 
manage potential security challenges differ.  In a nutshell, 
security conditions and the GON ability to respond are 
better in Abuja than in Lagos, though swift population 
growth in the capital has made it less safe than it was 
previously.  A large demonstration around the Embassy in the 
event of U.S. military action is likely, while the ability 
of the GON security apparatus in Abuja to respond to such an 
eventuality is uncertain.  The events of November 22 showed 
a GON unable to respond effectively to very credible threat 
information.  A week later, a massive security presence 
precluded another violent episode, even though (sources say) 
the number of those intending to demonstrate was larger. 
Meanwhile, the security apparatus in Lagos has been 
traditionally unreliable in the face of serious threats. 
While the threat posed by the Oodua People's Congress, the 
largest and most organized group with a sustained history of 
violence against the federal government of Nigeria and the 
Nigerian National Police Force, has receded, the ubiquitous, 
often-violent criminal element in Lagos adds dimensions to 
the challenges that confront Consulate Lagos in ways that 
Embassy Abuja does not have to face. 
 
 
5.  (C/NF) Both Abuja and Lagos have taken numerous steps to 
enhance emergency preparedness, including updating the 
Emergency Action Plan (EAP), EAP briefings of all official 
employees and adult family members, as well as similar 
briefings for U.S. firms and private American citizens. The 
Mission also recently conducted a Crisis Management Exercise 
(CME).  Posts have requested and received additional host 
country security support and have enhanced their security 
posture significantly at all official buildings and 
compounds.  Additionally, Lagos has taken all necessary 
steps to ensure that adequate supplies of U.S. dollars are 
on hand and evacuation orders prepared for all Mission 
employees and family members.  Abuja does not have 
sufficient USD, but evacuation orders have been prepared; 
efforts are underway to increase USD cash-on-hand. 
Classified holdings are in the process of being reduced to 
one-hour destruction time, and emergency preparedness drills 
will continue to be conducted at both Posts.  Consular 
officers have visited various cities throughout Nigeria to 
meet wardens and U.S. citizens on the topic of emergency 
preparedness.  Both Posts have in place special security 
directives governing travel by employees to areas of 
particular concern within Nigeria. 
 
 
6.  (C/NF) In consideration of the distinctly different 
security environments of Abuja and Lagos, the respective 
EACs have developed Abuja-specific and Lagos-specific 
tripwires.  Chief of Mission reviewed both sets of trip 
wires December 18 and concurred. 
 
 
7.  (C/NF) One important difference between Abuja and Lagos 
is the Abuja EAC's determination that "minimal" staffing is 
not a viable option for the capital.  The Embassy does not 
have a MSG detachment, and its perimeter cannot readily be 
defended.  Should circumstances dictate drawdown below the 
"essential" level (about 40% of normal staffing, septel), 
the EAC would recommend Post closure to the COM. 
 
 
8.  (C/NF) Tripwires for Embassy Abuja: 
 
 
A.  Any of the following trip wires would trigger an EAC and 
an assessment of the security environment in Nigeria: 
 
 
-- There is a significant upsurge in violent crime in Abuja; 
-- There are large or violent anti-U.S. demonstrations in 
any Nigerian city; 
-- There is scattered unrest in Nigeria as the result of a 
political event (party convention or caucuses); 
-- A USG installation anywhere in the world is attacked; 
-- Threats of a non-specific and unverifiable nature against 
American lives or property. 
 
 
B.  Any of the following tripwires would trigger an EAC and 
consideration of whether to issue a stronger Travel Advisory 
(recommending that non-essential travel be deferred) and 
impose further travel restrictions on USG personnel: 
 
 
-- The U.S. commences military operations in the Middle East 
in support of UNSCR 1441; 
-- There are large or violent anti-U.S. demonstrations in 
any Nigerian city with a significant AmCit population; 
-- There is a more severe disruption in delivery of 
petroleum products than heretofore experienced; 
-- There is an effective general strike for any reason; 
-- Threats of a credible nature to American lives or 
property emerge anywhere in Nigeria. 
 
 
C.  Any of the following tripwires would result in convening 
the EAC and specific consideration of whether to request a 
travel warning urging that travel to Nigeria be avoided, and 
to recommend that the COM consider authorized departure: 
 
 
-- There are large or violent anti-U.S. demonstrations in 
any Nigerian city with American lives or property targeted; 
-- There are riots or unrest in the Abuja satellite towns 
and security forces are unable to restore order quickly; 
-- Inter-ethnic, inter-religious or communal violence breaks 
out in several parts of the country and security forces 
require more than two but less than four days to restore 
order; 
-- Highly credible threats to American lives or property 
emerge anywhere in Nigeria; 
-- Fear and tension in the official American community rise 
to the point that a significant number of community members 
request authorized departure. 
 
 
D.  Any of the following trip wires would result in the 
convening of an EAC to recommend that the COM consider 
ordered departure of dependents and of personnel not 
included on the "essential" list: 
 
 
-- Large anti-American demonstrations in the vicinity of 
Embassy Abuja or USAID, and security forces are unable to 
control and disperse the crowds, or violent demonstrators 
target a USG installation in Abuja and cannot be immediately 
deterred by police; 
-- Any USG installation in Nigeria is attacked; 
-- Inter-ethnic, inter-religious or communal violence breaks 
out in several parts of the country and security forces are 
unable to restore order within four days; 
-- Specific, highly credible threats are made to American 
lives or property; 
-- Violent anti-American demonstrations (anywhere in 
Nigeria) result in major damage to American property. 
 
 
9.  (C/NF) The tripwires for Consulate General Lagos are: 
 
 
A.  Any of the following tripwires would trigger an EAC and 
an assessment of the security environment in Lagos and the 
Southern Nigeria Consular District, as well as a tier-one 
test of the warden system. 
 
 
-- No clear winners in upcoming elections.  Results openly 
contested.  Assassination of prominent person(s). 
-- Unrest during or after PDP convention. 
-- Significant major natural or man-made disaster. 
-- Access to transportation and telecommunications 
interrupted by strikes of increasing frequency. 
-- Local and state government services paralyzed at some 
levels (i.e. police, electricity, fuel and water 
deliveries). 
-- Governors request that military assure internal security. 
 
 
B.  Any of the following tripwires would trigger an EAC to 
consider recommending a warning to avoid non-essential 
travel to Nigeria, further restrictions on the movements of 
USG personnel and their dependents, and possible suspension 
of visa operations. 
 
 
-- Credible reporting that situation deteriorating quickly. 
Random sustained violence outside the greater Lagos and 
surrounding area (the regions just beyond the limits of 
Lagos, Ikoyi, and Victoria islands, as well as neighboring 
mainland Lagos areas) increases to the point that the police 
and security forces have difficulty controlling this 
violence. 
-- Instability adversely affects public utilities and 
provokes severe shortages of some essential items. 
Replenishment of basic foodstuffs and water increasingly 
difficult.  Unfettered transport of children to the American 
and British schools no longer assured. 
-- Rising number of Nigerian elite send relatives on 
"vacation" outside Nigeria. 
-- Capital flight increases and oil revenue inflows 
problematical. 
-- Political leaders unable to come to grips with situation 
and show no inclination to compromise. 
-- Shakeup in military hierarchy.  Certain commanders 
relieved. 
 
 
C.  Any of the following tripwires would trigger an EAC to 
consider requesting a warning to avoid all travel to 
Nigeria, suspension of visa operations, and recommending 
that the COM consider authorized departure for dependents 
and persons not on the "essential" list: 
 
 
-- Credible reporting that situation continues to 
deteriorate.  Random violence encroaching on Lagos area; 
police and other security forces unable to control this 
violence. 
-- Instability adversely affecting public utilities; 
shortages of essential items worsening.  Transport to the 
American and British schools no longer reasonably safe. 
-- Rising number of Nigerian elite send relatives on 
"vacation" outside Nigeria. 
-- Large-scale shakeup in military hierarchy.  Commanders of 
critical formations relieved. 
 
 
D.  Any of the following tripwires would result in the 
convening of an EAC to recommend that the COM consider 
ordered departure of all personnel not on the "essential" 
list and suspension of all but emergency ACS: 
 
 
-- Substantial and occasionally sustained violence reaches 
areas close to the Lagos islands and cannot be controlled or 
such violence cuts off access to the Lagos airport for more 
than 24 hours.  Police and security forces on the defensive. 
Curfew imposed; military on the streets. 
-- Severe shortages of basic goods and sustained 
interruptions of essential services set in. 
-- Civil disturbances in oil-producing areas endanger 
company operations.  Crude oil deliveries sharply reduced. 
 
 
JETER 

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