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03LAGOS2579 2003-12-18 15:36:00 SECRET//NOFORN Consulate Lagos
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					  S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 LAGOS 002579 



E.O. 12958: DNG: CO 12/19/2013


Classified By: J GREGOIRE FOR REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D)

1. (S N/F) On November 19, Poloff and Econoff met Captain
Olufemi B. Ogunjimi, Commanding Officer (CO) of Nigerian
Naval Station Delta (NNS Delta), headquartered in Warri,
Delta State, at a forum discussing peace and security in the
Niger Delta.

2. (S N/F) Septel provides further context and background to
place this potentially up-and-coming officer in a political
environment with examples of how things really work in his
world. He is interesting not simply because he is the CO of
the Naval base at Warri, but rather, because he is willing to
talk rather openly about how politics and money play into his
job as a military officer.

3. (S N/F) On December 10, the same ConGen officers met with
Ogunjimi at a restaurant in Lagos for a discussion on the
situation in the Delta. Dressed casually in a loose shirt and
slacks, Capt. Ogunjimi, a boyish looking, reserved man,
described his home of origin only as "up there, far away from
Lagos." He noted he has a wife and children living on
Victoria Island in Lagos, where he has kept a home for 16
years, although he said he does not like the chaotic nature
of the city.

4. (S N/F) Ogunjimi told Poloff and Econoff that in the
mid-1980s, as a Second Lieutenant based in Lagos, he
conducted the first seizure in Nigeria of a vessel caught
illegally bunkering oil. Addressing a theme of "political
reality" he returned to throughout the conversation
(septel), Ogunjimi said he was offered a bribe to release the
vessel, which he claimed he turned over to his commanding
officer. Ogunjimi also said he quickly asked for a transfer
when, on the day of the seizure, the men he arrested appeared
at a restaurant in which he was eating and paid for his meal.
Ogunjimi said his transfer was approved, and added that the
ship and crew were later released.

5. (S N/F) As Commanding Officer of NNS Delta, Captain
Ogunjimi said he commands a force of some 600 men, and
reports to Rear Admiral Bob-Manuel, the Flag Officer
Commanding (FOC) for the Western Naval Command (WNC) based in
Apapa, Lagos. Ogunjimi's command is a component of the
Joint Task Force (JTF) Operation Restore Hope, established in
August to coordinate military and security efforts in the
Delta in response to violence between ethnic groups there and
activities involving oil theft (reftel). Ogunjimi discussed
with Mission officers his work over the last year, and the
challenges he and his men face with what he described as
inadequate equipment and limited resources. He said the
political pressures of working in the Delta are great, noting
that he has learned to take vessels he seizes for illegal
bunkering to Lagos, rather than to hold them at his base in
Warri where pressure to release them is more direct. He said
that of the 10 ships he seized in eight months, two were
ordered released by his superiors (septel).

6. (S N/F) Ogunjimi said he approves of the Navy's policy of
rotating Warri commanders in and out annually. He says this
practice should prevent them from becoming entrenched and
corrupted by the political environment of the Delta, and will
also keep them safe. He half-jokingly referred to threats
upon his life and said that for personal security he lives on
the base when his family is not visiting (as do other JTF
senior officers, he said). To maintain the appearance of
impartiality and objectivity, the Captain said he does not
make friends in the Warri community or spend much time there
because to do so would immediately give rise to accusations
of favoritism.

7. (S N/F) Ogunjimi appeared satisfied with his performance
at NNS Delta, but said he looks forward to his next posting
as a Staff Officer at Naval Headquarters in Abuja. He said
his replacement, whom he did not name, should arrive at Warri
on or about January 8. Ogunjimi will leave the post in
mid-January. He said commanding the Warri base "would be a
beautiful job, if not for the politics." Nonetheless, he said
he would rather not command a Naval base again.

8. (S N/F) COMMENT: If we can take him at his word and
demeanor, as well as his command's recent public record,
Captain Ogunjimi seems to be an honest officer interested in
preserving security and upholding the rule of law. Ogunjimi
is probably a man to watch as he makes his way toward higher
ranks. He said he should be eligible for promotion to
commodore within four years, after his tour at Naval HQ and a
stint at the Nigerian War College. He would likely remain a
good contact of the Mission if called upon. END COMMENT.