|01ABUJA2118||2001-08-28 13:13:00||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 ABUJA 002118
1. (U) This is an action message. Please see para 7.
2. (C) Ambassador Jeter, accompanied by PolMilOff, called on
NSA Aliyu Mohammed on August 22. LTC Idris, the NSA's
Military Advisor also attended. This message summarizes
their discussion on Nigeria's counter-narcotics performance
and USG benchmarks.
3. (C) Ambassador Jeter emphasized that there existed a
perception that Nigeria was off-track on meeting
counter-narcotics benchmarks, and passed the NSA the
non-paper relayed in Ref A. The Ambassador explained that
the certification process was an annual event, and that
Nigeria would have to do more to meet the requirements for
certification next year. Drugs had been discovered on the
Nigeria Airways/South Africa Airways flight to New York, the
NDLEA-DEA joint taskforce was moribund, and while the
President had agreed to double the NDLEA budget, the Embassy
had seen no evidence that NDLEA had received more money or
had additional resources. Moreover, Nigeria had not even
bothered to answer the FATF survey, and had therefore joined
an ignominious group of "non-cooperating" countries.
4. (C) The NSA said he understood, and that the GON would
take the benchmarks very seriously. He said he would meet
with Alhaji Bello Lafiaji, the NDLEA Chairman, to discuss the
way forward. He also noted that the NDLEA had been given
access to Nigeria's ports two weeks ago, which should help
close another route for traffickers. Finally, the NSA asked
if Nigeria's submission of the FATF questionnaire could
reverse the damage that had been done. He said that he would
make sure the survey was completed and submitted if this
would have any impact.
5. (C) The NSA then asked about the case of the funds
allegedly looted by Abacha. He noted that the forensic
analysis was expected back in Abuja within the next few days.
The NSA asked if he should send the analysis to Ambassador
Jeter or a letter from President Obasanjo to President Bush.
Ambassador Jeter suggested that the NSA keep working in the
channel President Obasanjo had used, and the Embassy would
make sure the forensic documents were sent to Washington.
The Ambassador emphasized that the Embassy wants to work with
the GON on this issue, and he encouraged greater interaction
between the GON expert on this issue and the Embassy's Legatt.
6. (C) COMMENT: The seriousness with which the NSA took the
Ambassador's warning on certification was welcome; however,
it has been consistently difficult to get the GON to engage
more than rhetorically on these issues, particularly serious
engagement with the Attorney General. While the NDLEA has
made serious efforts to combat trafficking, resources are
limited, and other agencies such as the Ministry of Justice,
have thus far taken little action. Embassy will continue to
engage the GON at every opportunity to encourage progress on
the benchmarks. END COMMENT.
7. (C) ACTION REQUEST: The NSA asked if completion of the
questionnaire, even at this late date, would have any impact
on Nigeria's standing. Embassy requests information to
respond to this question, and if the answer is yes, to whom
should the GON forward the FATF responses. END ACTION