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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08ABUJA2107 2008-10-27 11:33:00 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Abuja
Cable title:  

NIGERIA: RUMORS FROM THE NIGER DELTA

Tags:   PGOV PREL PINR EPET KCOR NI 
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P 271133Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4270
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 002107 

NOFORN
SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/W, INR/AA
DOE FOR GEORGE PERSON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/19/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR EPET KCOR NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: RUMORS FROM THE NIGER DELTA

Classified By: Political Counselor Walter Pflaumer for reasons 1.4. (b
& d).



1. (C) SUMMARY: On October 16, Poloffs met with Olafemi Aduwo
(protect), founder of the Rights Monitoring Group. In a
rambling conversation, Aduwo made several claims about former
Chief of Defense Staff Owoye Azazi and imprisoned arms dealer
Henry Okah which were both interesting and, though
unverifiable, seemed to parallel some of the rumors Post has
heard concerning these two Niger Delta-related personalities
-- specifically, that Azazi was compromised on Niger Delta
issues and Okah holds information on the GON's activities in
the Niger Delta that, if revealed, would be higly
embarrassing. END SUMMARY.



2. (SBU) On October 16, Poloffs met with Olafemi Aduwo,
founder of the human rights NGO Rights Monitoring Group
(RMG). Aduwo, a native of Ondo State, said he is the nephew
of 1979-1983 Chief of Naval Staff and former military
governor of Western State Akin Aduwo, and came back from
exile in Ghana in 2000 where he fled to seek protection from
the Abacha regime. He said he was "heavily involved in the
June 12 incident," where Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola's
apparent 1993 legitimate election victory was overturned by
Ibrahim Babangida (he did not specify his own role, but
presumably it was one of support for Abiola and a free and
fair election). He also said that, in more recent years, the
RMG has worked closely with former Economic and Financial
Crimes Commission chairman Nuhu Ribadu to gather evidence
against high-profile suspects. (Note: While Post has seen RMG
referenced in press reports, we have not worked directly with
them in the past. End note.)



3. (C) In the course of the conversation, Aduwo claimed that
it was "well-known" that former CDS Azazi, an ethnic Ijaw,
was in contact and collusion with certain Niger Delta
militants during his tenure at Defense Headquarters. Aduwo
claimed that Azazi had his own jetty, from which he ran his
own set of refineries which processed illegally bunkered oil.
He also claimed that "boys" would visit Abuja every two
weeks to pay Azazi a cut of their proceeds and in turn he
would pass them information about the activities of the Joint
Task Force.



4. (C) Aduwo also claimed that the reason why imprisoned arms
dealer Henry Okah is being tried in secret is that the GON
wants to prevent the airing of recordings Okah made while
negotiating with the President and Vice President Goodluck
Jonathan. Aduwo asserted that Okah's trip to southern Africa
(Aduwo did not specify the date, but Okah was arrested in
Angola in September 2007) was part of secret negotiations he
was carrying on with Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, and
while there he also spoke by telephone to Yar'Adua himself.
Aduwo maintained Okah recorded these conversations, and
presumably is planning to release them at some point during
the trial, presumably in an attempt to either blackmail or
simply embarrass the GoN.



5. (C) COMMENT: Post is unable to confirm (or disprove) the
details of Aduwo's claims. Azazi was frequently cited as
compromised on Niger Delta issues, but specifics about his
alleged corruption were hard to come by; Aduwo's claims add a
little felsh to the bones. And of the many theories floated
publicly about the reason for Okah's closed trial -- most
speculated that he will reveal embarrassing details about
arms sales to the militants from the GON's own armories --
Aduwo's claims are new and somewhat more compelling, given
that a good deal of information about GON arm sales is
already in the public domain. END COMMENT.



6. (C) Bio Note: Aduwo seems to be famous primarily for
being well-known -- he somehow appears in Nigerian newspapers
with great frequency as a sought-after commentator on current
events, but seems to add little value to the projects he
joins and rarely offers any opinions that are not commonly
held by other Nigerians. He does, however, seem to maintain
a good contact list and good ties to key Nigerian
governmental organizations -- he is traveling next week to
the U.S. on an election observation mission for the

ABUJA 00002107 002 OF 002


Independent National Electoral Commission, and claims to work
out of the Presidential Villa.



7. (U) This cable was coordinated with Consulate Lagos.
Sanders