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2001-05-04 09:25:00
Embassy Abuja
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 000962 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/04/2011

(U) Classified by Ambassador Howard F. Jeter; Reasons 1.5 (B)
and (D).

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 000962


E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/04/2011

(U) Classified by Ambassador Howard F. Jeter; Reasons 1.5 (B)
and (D).

1. (C) SUMMARY: Ambassador Jeter called on the Director
General of the Nigerian State Security Service (SSS), Kayode
Are, on April 23 at SSS Headquarters. The Ambassador was
accompanied by Embassy Counselor for Regional Affairs. Afas
Gadzama, the SSS Deputy Director for Intelligence, also
participated. Ambassador Jeter used the meeting to describe
the importance the U.S. places on Nigeria succeeding in
consolidating its democracy and on an internal intelligence
and security service's obeying the rule of law and responding
to democratically elected civilian authority. A wide-ranging
discussion on regional issues also characterized the meeting.


2. (C) Are noted he was very interested in helping make the
Nigerian government's transition from dealing with the
Clinton Administration to the Bush Administration "seamless."
He noted that it was the Bush Administration that provided
Nigeria's Narcotics Certification. He said he hoped that the
Bush Administration would understand Nigeria's role in
Africa, and added "We can provide a front line response and
bear the brunt" for international actions on the continent.
Are noted his agency is working at a faster pace than before
the Obasanjo inauguration. He stated he was interested in
"capacity-building" to increase the capabilities of the SSS,
particularly in building data bases on issues of particular
interest. Are then began a long discussion of economic
issues; pressing particularly for assistance in increasing
foreign investor confidence and engagement in Nigeria. He
noted that U.S. narcotics certification would help foreign
investor confidence.

3. (C) Are then described his strategy for preventing
Nigeria from becoming a haven for international terrorists,
particularly the north. He said the SSS was now completing
the training of a group of intelligence officers from Niger
to strengthen that country,s "ineffective" security
organizations. He said the SSS wanted to establish a cadre
of officers in neighboring countries with whom Nigeria would
be familiar and who could be dealt with more quickly and at a
lower working-leve
l than the current ongoing exchanges
between national security advisors in each country. He said
he was particularly interested in building good databases on
members of international terrorist organization. Are also
said he believed some non-Nigerian members of Algerian
terrorist organizations may be hiding out in northern
Nigeria. His service was looking for them and was causing
these fugitives to "keep low." He said they avoid causing
trouble in Nigeria to diminish their risk of being


4. (C) The Ambassador and the DG discussed regional
cooperation in some detail. Ambassador Jeter described his
perception of the successes and failures of regional
cooperation in southern Africa, based upon his 15 years of
working in that region. Are noted that initial efforts to
build cooperation in West Africa had not gone very far. He
observed that the West African Security Coordinators'
meetings used to occur regularly, primarily among Anglophone
countries. Francophone countries were now beginning to get
over their initial wariness toward the idea. He stated that
security chiefs from the Anglophone countries met regularly
on a bilateral basis and he was interested in expanding the
participation in these meetings to include Cameroon and Chad.
Are added that last year there was a call for a joint
meeting of the chiefs of all the intelligence services in the
region. Only four or five attended; Are said that he did not
believe this effort would be productive until all ECOWAS
countries participated. During the discussion on regional
issues, the Ambassador noted that Nigeria might find it
useful to discuss with some representatives of the Southern
Africa Development Community (SADC) how SADC managed to build
its regional institutions. The Ambassador also expressed
U.S. support for ECOWAS and its regional efforts.

5. (C) Are also noted that West Africa differs from southern
Africa because in southern Africa there were several vibrant
economies, while in West Africa, Nigeria was the only country
that would pay for international undertakings. He commented
that whenever any regional activity is proposed or initiated
in West Africa, it is always Nigeria who pays the bills.
Nigeria even pays for the travel of ECOWAS member-state
officials who come here for training. He noted it was
important that the Nigerian National Assembly begin to
recognize this reality and make funds available to undertake
these regional responsibilities.

6. (C) A long and detailed conversation ensued concerning
Sierra Leone and Liberia. Are appeared to know all the
players personally, their whereabouts and their relationships
to one another. He noted that Liberian President Charles
Taylor was a problem, but not the only one. The SSS Chief
pointed to the break-down of civil society in Liberia and the
general attitude of Liberians toward corruption as a means to
acquire wealth as being the fundamental cause of that
country's problems. He noted that perhaps the only
difference between Charles Taylor and ULIMO-K leader Alhaji
Kromah is that Taylor likes the good life and can lead it
through his position, while Kromah wants the same good life
but cannot get at the means of acquiring it. Are also said
he believed Taylor would always manage to win an election in
Liberia because he was perceived by ordinary indigenous
Liberians as the man who helped get rid of their
Americo-Liberian oppressors. He noted that "we need to find
a way to let Taylor know he can't keep it up." Are also
noted his concern about the domino-effect of destabilization
and conflict in West Africa and feared that Cote d,Ivoire
might be next. (Note: Interestingly, Are did not place much
emphasis on Burkinabe President Blaise Campaore's role in
destabilizing the region. End Note.)


7. (C) Ambassador Jeter expressed his appreciation for the
behind-the-scenes role the SSS has played in facilitating and
protecting the visits of so many senior American officials
during the past two years and aiding in the protection of
U.S. Military Forces in Nigeria (Operation Focus Relief).
The Ambassador said he hoped that cooperation would continue
and that it was likely, given the high level of U.S. interest
in Nigeria, that there would be even more visitors in the


8. (C) The meeting was unusual for someone in Are's position
as chief of an internal security and intelligence service
because it was clear he was primarily interested in
discussing Nigeria's domestic and external economic
situation, the military, and political development in Sierra
Leone and Liberia. The explanation may be in the fact that
Are may have been wearing his board of directors and National
Security Council hats more than focusing entirely on his own
agency's activities. END COMMENT.

9. (C) BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Lateef Kayode Kolawole Are
is the forty-five year old Director General of the SSS. He
took over shortly after Nigerian President Obasanjo was sworn
in on 29 May 1999. He has long-standing personal and working
connections to both President Obasanjo and to Nigerian
National Security Advisor Aliyu Mohammed. His wife Angela,
is a close friend of President Obasanjo's wife Stella and
travels with her on her trips abroad. He was forced to
retire from the Nigerian Army as a Lieutenant Colonel during
the Abacha regime, probably in some part due to his Obasanjo
and Mohammed connections.

10. (C) Are is an up-and-comer in the Nigerian Government
due to his connections and his relatively young age, by
Nigerian standards for, holding such an important position.
He is a member of the Nigerian National Security Council and
sometimes serves as Acting National Security Advisor when
Aliyu Mohammed travels outside Nigeria. In addition to his
being chief of the some twenty thousand members-strong SSS,
the Nigerian Internal Security and Intelligence Agency, Are
is also reported to be on the boards of directors of several
Nigerian banks and corporations. It is probable that he
obtained these positions after he became SSS Director
General. Embassy personnel observed him several months prior
to the Obasanjo inauguration, and at the time he appeared to
be indigent and struggling.