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08ABUJA2207 2008-11-12 06:52:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Abuja
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1. (SBU) Summary. The Ambassador and Nigerian Civil Aviation
Authority (NCAA) Director General Dr. Harold Demuren met on November
3 to discuss the possible cancellation of Nigeria's technical
assistance (TA) program with the U.S. Department of Transportation
(DOT) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA planned to
cancel TA because the NCAA accepted TA from a contractor/consultant
working for the Boeing Company to draft regulations as part of the
NCAA's quest to receive Category 1 status (in compliance with
minimum international
standards for aviation safety). The Ambassador said she was really
disappointed that NCAA would do this and that she expected them to
get back on track with FAA as soon as possible; especially with the
upcoming U.S. Mission/NCAA lead Aviation Workshop scheduled for
November 17 and 18. Demuren assured the Ambassador that the
situation was resolved and that the DOT/FAA was reconsidering
reestablishing the agreement. Demuren reported that he would meet
with USG DOT/FAA in Washington on November 5 to discuss further and
would brief the Ambassador as soon as he returns to Nigeria. The
possible TA cancellation jeopardizes Nigeria's efforts to reach
category 1 status in the near future and could disrupt USG/GON
cooperation in other areas. Demuren has made attaining category 1
status a major point of his administration. We understand that
Demuren has met with FAA in Washington and FAA intends to continue
technical assistance to NCAA. End Summary.

2. (SBU) The Ambassador met with NCAA Director General Dr. Harold
Demuren, with EconOff as note taker, on November 3 to discuss the
pending cancellation of a TA Program between the NCAA and FAA. An
FAA team was scheduled to visit with the NCAA from November 3-14;
however the trip was cancelled. The Ambassador made strong comments
to Demuren about not following FAA instruction on hiring outside
consultants on the eight critical areas covered by the FAA
agreement. She also said that she would be speaking with Boeing
about the issue. Demuren assured the Ambassador that he had spoken
with officials from DOT/FAA on October 29 and that he had personally
implemented requested corrective actions with his staff. Demuren
indicated that he was flying to the U.S. to attend meetings on
November 5 with the DOT/FAA on the subject and give them his
assurances. (Comment: The FAA planned to cancel TA because the NCAA
accepted TA from a contractor/consultant working for the Boeing
Company to draft regulations as part of the NCAA's quest to receive
a Category 1 rating. Demuren called the Embassy from Washington on
November 6 to say issues with FAA had been resolved and FAA intended
to continue technical assistance to NCAA. End Comment).

3. (SBU) Demuren indicated that NCAA staff did not understand the
differences between the assistance provided by the Boeing Company to
various Nigerian airline carriers and the assistance provided by the
FAA. Larry Williams, Aviation Safety Inspector and lead for the FAA
technical assistance team to Nigeria, told Lagos EconOff October 29
that the consideration of TA cancellation was due to the NCAA's
collaboration with Boeing in one of the eight critical areas, namely
the drafting of regulations, covered under the FAA-NCAA's TA
agreement. That being the case, FAA believed it could deploy its
limited resources elsewhere (Note: The FAA team is providing TA
through an agreement with the NCAA as the GON seeks a category 1
status in eight key areas: legislation, regulation, civil air
authority structure and oversight functions, technical guidance,
qualified technical personnel, licensing and certification,
continued surveillance obligations, and resolution of safety issues.
FAA Division Manager for International Programs and Policy Division
Melvin Cintron told EconOff November 7 that NCAA and Boeing were
called to a meeting on November 6 with many DOT/FAA representatives,
and FAA told Boeing not to provide consultations on the eight
annexes that the FAA TA is working on and that Boeing could provide
consultations on the other nine annexes. End Note).

4. (SBU) The Ambassador explained that the NCAA's action gave the
appearance of a conflict of interest. Again, Demuren assured the
Ambassador that he had made this distinction to his team and they
are cognitive of how to press forward. The Ambassador indicated
that she would also meet with Boeing to clarify the issue.

5. (SBU) The U.S. Mission and NCAA formed a public private
partnership to host a two day Aviation Safety and Security Workshop
in Abuja on November 17 and 18. This event is a two day workshop
that focuses on U.S. aviation safety and security, private sector
expertise, and category 1 status to improve safety and security in
Nigeria's skies.

ABUJA 00002207 002 OF 002

6. (SBU) COMMENT. Dr. Demuren seemed genuinely sorry for the
incident and deeply appreciates USG assistance in Nigeria's quest to
reach Category 1 status. Demuren has made attaining Category 1
status a major point of his administration. On November 7 Cintron
told EconOff that the meeting with Demuren on November 5 was
positive. In addition, on November 6, FAA told Boeing it was
concerned and deeply disappointed in Boeing's actions. Cintron
added that this incident has put Nigeria behind schedule, but that
FAA has confidence that Demuren can stay the course to bring Nigeria
to category 1 status. End Comment.

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