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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08LAGOS501 2008-12-18 12:42:00 CONFIDENTIAL Consulate Lagos
Cable title:  

NIGERIA: MILITANT CAMPS CONTROLLED BY DISTANT

Tags:   PREL PGOV NI 
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VZCZCXRO9591
RR RUEHPA
DE RUEHOS #0501 3531242
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R 181242Z DEC 08
FM AMCONSUL LAGOS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0369
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 0010
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH AFB UK
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEWMFD/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
					  					
C O N F I D E N T I A L LAGOS 000501

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/W, INR/AA
STATE PASS NSC FOR BOBBY PITTMAN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: MILITANT CAMPS CONTROLLED BY DISTANT
POWER-BROKERS

REF: A. LAGOS 434


B. ABUJA 1951

1: (C) Summary: The President of the oil services company
Nestoil, Ernest Azudialu, told PolOffs November 17 that
governors of the Niger Delta States know the leaders of the
militant camps personally and seek to eliminate the violence
in their states by co-opting these leaders. When cooptation
failed in Rivers State, Governor Rotimi Amaechi (PDP)
initiated military confrontation. Azudialu claimed that the
militant leaders whose names are widely known are not the
people who really control the militants, but rather are
themselves controlled by distant patrons. End Summary.



2. (C) Ernest Azudialu, President of oil services company
Nestoil, told PolOffs on November 17 that the governors of
the states plagued by widespread violence know exactly which
power-brokers actually control the militants and seek to
eliminate the violence by co-opting them. This is easiest in
Delta and Bayelsa, where one camp, that of Tom Polo, is much
stronger than the others and so able to exert its will over
them when expedient, according to Azudialu. The governors of
Delta and Bayelsa states can maintain a semblance of peace by
making payments to the leaders of the powerful camps.
Furthermore, even when independent criminals engage in
violence, the major militants can exert their influence,
Azudialu claims. As an example, Azudialu reported that when
kidnappings of Nestoil workers occur in Delta or Bayelsa
state, it takes only one call to get them released within 24
hours. (Note: this report would appear to corroborate what
PolOffs were told regarding the release of one trawler crew
in Bayelsa state, per reftel a. End Note.)



3. (C) This situation in Delta and Bayelsa contrasts with
that in Rivers State, where there are rival camps fighting
for control, Azudialu said. According to Azudialu, Governor
Amaechi had tried to co-opt key camp leaders in Rivers State
but discovered that there were many criminal camps operating
and none was willing to subordinate itself to another. In
consequence, there was no one person with whom to negotiate
or to make payments. The resulting military campaign,
Azudialu said, is successful, and if it continues for another
six months will eliminate violent crime in Rivers State.



4. (C) Azudialu claimed people who live far from the violence
and the misery of the Niger Delta control the camps, not the
militant leaders whose names are widely known. These distant
power-brokers profit from the current situation, and
government officials buy peace by negotiating with them for
cease-fires, hostage releases etc. Azudialu suggested that
the close ties between these leaders and government explained
why no major militant commander had been captured or killed,
citing a case where the military Joint Task Force (JTF) was
called off as soon as it got too close to killing or
capturing a militant leader.



5. (C) Comment: We have known for sometime that there are
power-brokers that control the oil bunkering in the Niger
Delta so comments by Azudialu are nothing new. We have heard
that many of these brokers live outside Nigeria. It is
common knowledge also that military and government leaders
are also complicit in oil theft. These issues are the main
reasons why very little has been done to address oil
bunkering and its attendant consequences for Niger Delta
development. End Comment.



6. (U) This cable has been cleared by Embassy Abuja.



BLAIR