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2001-05-04 09:50:00
Embassy Abuja
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 000964 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/03/2011

(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 000964


E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/03/2011

(U) Classified by Ambassador Howard F.Jeter; Reasons 1.5 (b)
and (d).

1. (C) SUMMARY: Ambassador Jeter called on NSA Mohammed on
May 3 to discuss President Obasanjo's visit to Washington.
Police reform, some sub-regional issues, and Nigeria's voting
record in the Commission on Human Rights (covered septel)
were also discussed. The NSA expressed interest in an
OFR-type program for the police, and suggested the Lagos
Command as a possible starting-point. The NSA agreed with
Washington notional plans for the visit. He said that both
he and the President would meet with Alhaji Kromah later on

2. (SBU) The Ambassador was accompanied by RNLEO, A/DCM, and
his Staff Assistant (notetaker). The NSA was joined by State
House Chief of Protocol Ambassador J.O. Coker, and the
Minister of State for the Army Alhaji Lawal Batagarawa.


3. (C) The Ambassador noted that the round-table planned for
May 9 in Washington would focus on law enforcement issues,
and called on RNLEO to update the NSA on the work of the
police reform team presently in Nigeria. RNLEO stated that
the work of the team was a continuation of the work begun by
OTI last year, which had included discussions and planning
with the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Minister
of Police Affairs. During the past week, the team had
visited Lagos, Abuja, Jos, Maidugari, and Port Harcourt.
They would meet shortly with the IGP and Police Minister as
well. RNLEO explained that while everyone understood the
need for more police in Nigeria, the large number of new
recruits were straining resources at training institutions.

4. (C) The NSA stated that in May 1999, there were only
125,000 police in Nigeria. The Obasanjo Administration had
decided that at least 280,000 were needed, and had decided to
meet that requirement over a four year period.

Unfortunately, the NSA admitted, the Administration had not
realized how far the military regime had gutted the training
istitutions, and he noted that in addition to lack of
facilities, there was even a lack of trained instructors.
The NSA remarked that during a past visit to Washington, he
had met with AG Reno and FBI Director Freeh, and that they
had pledged cooperation and support for police reform.
(Mohammed emphasized fighting financial crimes and building a
criminal database.) He also said that Nigeria would welcome
a train and equip program, like that of OFR, for the police.
(COMMENT: The NSA stated that he had discussed OFR with
soon-to-retire General Archibong. Archibong had told the NSA
that OFR "was the best thing ever to happen to Nigerian
soldiers." END COMMENT.) He noted that Lagos State Governor
Tinubu was coming to the Villa for a meeting with the
President and the IGP that afternoon to discuss security
concerns in Lagos, and emphasized that the Lagos police
command could be used as a test for such a program.

5. (C) RNLEO noted that FBI training in forensics and
establishment of a criminal database had already been
approved and would soon be implemented. The Ambassador added
that the round-table in Washington would afford Mohammed the
opportunity to raise ideas, and to discuss GON plans,
commitments, and concerns. However, the Ambassador noted,
the concern is that the police are taken care of, that they
recieve their pay, and that new recruits receive adequate
training they need to be effective and to protect the
comunities in which they work. Ambassador Jeter also
affirmed that law enforcement reform was critical to the
consolidation of democracy. The NSA said that a census had
been taken of the civil and police services to determine the
real number of state employees (vice "ghost" employees), and
that this had caused a delay in payment of salaries, but that
the salary distribution system would be improved in the next
two or three months.


6. (C) The NSA said that Obasanjo was meeting with Al-Mahdi
later the same day. He would go to Rwanda on Monday, and
then on to the Congo. The purpose was to collect ideas and
bring them to Washington as issues relating to the sub-region
and the continent. Ambassador Jeter firmly suggested that
the President not diffuse the meeting with President Bush
with too many issues. The NSA replied that Obasanjo would
raise briefly only four issues outside of those relating to
Nigeria: Sudan, the Congo, Libya, and West Africa (which
would be more extensive). The Ambassador emphasized that too
much focus on the continent would take away focus from
Nigerian issues, which were the main purpose of the meetings.

7. (C) Ambassador Jeter then explained that the number of
accompanying officials should be kept small to keep the visit
manageable and focused. He noted that this was the first
visit to Washington by an African Head of State, and that
numerous side meetings had been planned with Wahington
Cabinet Secretaries. Moreover, this would be the longest
visit of a Head of State thus far in this Administration.
The Ambassador then delineated the proposed meetings. He
also noted that the round-table on law enorcement issues
would likely cover police reform, counter-narcotics, and
anti-financial crimes efforts, and the White House, State,
DEA, USSS, and the FBI would probably all participate.
Finally, there would be a discussion relating to reforming
the JEPC process. The NSA seemed pleased, and said that
these were all of the issues that had been discussed with
Ambassador Aminu. Mohammed confirmed that AG Bola Ige, the
President's Senior Advisor on Drugs and Financial Crimes,
Ibrahim Lame and NDLEA Chairman Lafiaji would travel to
Washington for the visit. Also, Peter Yisa Gana, the
Chairman of the Special Investigations Panel and Assistant
Commissioner of Police, would accompany the group as a police

8. (C) The Ambassador then asked if there was an issue
relating to deportations that would be raised. The NSA
explained that the GON desired that the USG provide warning
when deportation flights were coming, so the deportees could
be properly handled. RNLEO asked if there was one agency who
was in charge in these cases -- there had been some confusion
among competing agencies in the past. Mohammed said that he
had charged a commission to investigate the process, and was
expecting a report this month, but understood that competing
interests had caused a problem.


9. (C) The NSA briefly discussed sub-regional issues. He
noted that President Obasanjo had hosted a breakfast for RUF
and GOSL officials who had attended the ECOWAS meetings. The
RUF and GOSL officials would travel back to Freetown on May
4, all on the same plane. According to the NSA, the group
had given Obasanjo a mandate to mediate the conflict, and had
said that three-fourths of the peace process was complete --
all that remained was demobilization and reintegration. The
NSA then mentioned that ULIMO-K leader Alhaji-Kromah was in
Abuja, and would meet with the President. Ambassador Jeter
noted that he had spoken by telephone with Kromah, and that
Kromah had asked for a meeting with the NSA. Mohammed said
he would meet with him. The Ambassador said that President
Obasanjo seemed to be doing a lot of work on Sierra Leone and
Liberia, including a trip to Burkina Faso. The NSA agreed,
noting that during President Obasanjo's visit, Campaore had
committed to try to get Charles Taylor to reconcile with
Guinea. The Ambassador asked if Nigeria would lead a meeting
on Liberian reconcilliation. The NSA stated that there were
good alternatives to Taylor, but that most were scared, with
good reason, to return to Liberia.

10. (C) COMMENT: The GON leadership seems to understand
the need for police reform, but is emphasizing the issue of
resources to explain lack of quick action thus far. Still,
with so many institutions utterly gutted by years of military
rule, its hard to criticize Nigeria for not rebuilding more
quickly. Embassy is hopeful that recent statements of
support for police reform by the Minister of Police Affairs
and IGP will bear fruit. The GON's vision of Obasanjo's
visit seems to largely match Washington's in substance,
though there may be more individuals in the President's
entourage than Washington desires. The Ambassador will have
breakfast with the President on Saturday, and will use the
meeting as an opporunity to reiterate Washington's vision.