|01ABUJA1841||2001-07-26 08:52:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Abuja|
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
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
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