|01ABUJA2152||2001-08-29 16:02:00||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 002152
1. (C) NDLEA Chairman Alhaji Bello Lafiaji called on
Ambassador Jeter on August 27. The Ambassador informed
Lafiaji that he had shared the non-paper on certification
benchmarks with National Security Advisor Aliyu Mohammed and
President Obasanjo. The President had informed the
Ambassador that 250m Naira had been earmarked for the NDLEA,
and would be released soon.
2. (C) The Ambassador told Lafiaji that the U.S. was aware of
his efforts, as was President Obasanjo. Lafiaji complained
bitterly that he had done a great deal to improve the NDLEA,
but was still struggling to get resources for the Agency
(particularly for communications equipment and logistics),
and to garner support and cooperation from Ministries and
other government agencies. He said that he had personally
filled-out 99 percent of the FATF survey, even though it was
really the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance, and it
still had not been sent. Lafiaji said that the NDLEA would
work to meet every benchmark that was part of its portfolio,
and he would try to get other Ministries and agencies to do
their part. Lafiaji bemoaned the lack of cooperation he had
received, particularly from the Ministry of Justice, and said
that the Ministry was not playing its required role.
However, assistance from some state governors for NDLEA zonal
commands in their states has been excellent, and much better
3. (C) The Ambassador asked Lafiaji if he planned to
coordinate with ECOWAS on the NDLEA academy in Jos (Ref D).
Lafiaji said he would, and observed that he was seeking a
Ministerial-level endorsement from ECOWAS for the academy.
4. (C) Lafiaji plans to travel to the U.S. for the UNGA to
address the Third Committee (on October 3 or 4). He would
appreciate meetings in Washington the day after his address
in New York, and would like to meet with INL A/S Rand Beers,
as well as State/AF, DEA, FBI, and perhaps the NSC. He told
the Ambassador that he would inform the Embassy of the exact
dates of his trip as soon as they are known.
5. (C) COMMENT: Lafiaji has made a number of important
changes in the NDLEA, including a merit-based promotion
system. He also opposed politicizing the Agency, including
appointments of political cronies. He has also made himself
readily available to the Embassy, and has stated his
willingness to address Embassy concerns. However, there
seems to be little he can do to make other agencies and
Ministries more actively engaged, despite his active
lobbying. He expressed strong frustration with others in the
GON, and reacted somewhat defensively when the Ambassador
said that not enough was being done. Embassy will watch for
improved GON performance as a result of President Obasanjo's
infusion of much needed money into the NDLEA and recent
high-level approaches on the counter-narcotics benchmarks.
6. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED: On August 29, Lafiaji called the
Ambassador to inform him that 60 kg of cocaine had been
seized from a ship from Brazil at Tin Can Island (Lagos).
Lafiaji described this as the single largest interdiction
since the beginning of his tenure. Embassy will report on
this potentially significant development as more information
becomes available. END COMMENT.