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09ABUJA714 2009-04-24 13:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Abuja
Cable title:  

NIGERIA: BI-WEEKLY POL/ECON UPDATES FOR APRIL 1-17, 2009

Tags:   PGOV ECON ELAB EPET EFIN EAGR KDEM NI 
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LABOR FOR SHALEY
USDA/FAS/OTP FOR MCKENZIE
USAID/AFR FOR ATWOOD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV ECON ELAB EPET EFIN EAGR KDEM NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: BI-WEEKLY POL/ECON UPDATES FOR APRIL 1-17, 2009

REF: ABUJA 0532



1. (U) The following is a joint Embassy Abuja, ConGen Lagos
compilation of April 1-17 political/economic highlights, which did
not feature in our other reporting, covering:

--Politics
--2011 Elections
--Human Rights and TIP
--Labor
--Environment and Health
--Corruption and Crime
--Oil, Gas, and Power
--Delta Incidents

Politics


--------------------------




2. (U) CANADIAN HOSTAGE IN KADUNA: On April 16, Canadian citizen
Julie Ann Mulligan was abducted by armed men in the northern city of
Kaduna. Mulligan, 45 years old, was one of five Canadians in the
country on a Rotary exchange when armed men ambushed the vehicle she
was traveling in. According to press reports, the kidnappers have
demanded a 20 million naira ($136,000) ransom in exchange for her
release. They kidnappers also alleged that Mulligan was extremely
ill, but the status of her health has not yet been confirmed.
Although kidnappings are a common occurrence in the Niger Delta
region, this is the first kidnapping in the Northern part of the
country.



3. (U) NEW GBONG GWOM JOS: Jacob Buba Gyang has been appointed as
the new Gbong Gwom Jos (a traditional ruler of the Berom Kingdom in
Plateau State). He succeeds the late Da Victor Pam who died on
March 7. Gyang is from the Du district of Jos South and is in his
late fifties. Shortly after his appointment, on April 9, the Gbong
Gwom made news headlines again when the House of Representatives
threatened to arrest the Gbong Gwom, and other former officials of
the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) over their refusal to send
documents to the Committee on Customs for their investigation of the
establishment. (Note: Gyang is the immediate past
Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service who left the
office in 2007. End Note.) The committee chairman, Representative
Yakubu Dogara, said that the stakeholders have until April 16 to
make their submissions and the committee will not hesitate to invoke
laws compelling the stakeholders to respond.



4. (U) COUNCIL TO REINVIGORATE NIGERIA'S FOREIGN POLICY: On April
16, President Yar'Adua inaugurated a six-man Honorary Presidential
Advisory Council on International Relations which he established to
"reinvigorate" Nigeria's foreign policy process "in the light of
prevailing realities in today's increasingly complex world". The
Council is chaired by former Commonwealth Secretary-General and
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Emeka Anyaoku.

2011 Elections


--------------------------




5. (U) "MEGA-PARTY" HOLDS SECOND MEETING: The newly formed
opposition "mega-party" held a second meeting in Lagos on April 7.
Buba Galadima, who attended the meeting as a representative of
General Muhammadu Buhari, former head of state and All Nigeria
Peoples Party presidential candidate in the 2003 and 2007 elections,
told Poloff on April 17 that participation in the party is growing.
However, apart from a general consensus of a need to stand firm
against criticism by the People's Democratic Party (PDP), Galadima
did not have any other progress to report. He said that the group
will meet again in May (most likely in Abuja) to determine the
party's name, logo, etc.



6. (U) PDP ENDORSES PLATEAU GOVERNOR FOR 2011: On April 14, the PDP
in Plateau State endorsed Governor Jonah Jang for a second term in
office, despite criticism over his handling of the November 2008
violence in Jos. According to a statement by Commissioner of
Commerce and Industry, Na'Allah Mutbam, no one would be stopped from

ABUJA 00000714 002 OF 005


running for governor in 2011, but he added that there is "no
vacancy" for the seat.

Human Rights and TIP


--------------------------




7. (U) HRR IN TELL MAGAZINE: The cover story of the April 20 edition
of the local TELL Magazine was titled "Nigeria: Great Nation, Poor
Human Rights" and highlighted much of the 2008 U.S. Human Rights
Report released in March. The article also suggests that the recent
"redeployment" of the National Human Rights Commission Executive
Secretary, Kehinde Ajoni (ref A) was a result of her agency's
coordination with the "scathing" USG report. The article indicated
that Ajoni's honest assessment of Nigeria's human rights situation
during the GON's Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights
Council in February was the "straw that broke the camel's back"
after Attorney General and Minister of Justice Michael Aondoakaa
attempted to defend and downplay accusations. Aondoakaa recalled
Ajoni back to the Ministry of Justice on March 19 and replaced her
with Roland Ewubare, a close personal associate of his.



8. (U) TIP LAW NEEDS AMENDMENT SAID NEW EXEC SEC: On April 8, the
National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons
(NAPTIP) held its 14th Annual Stakeholders Consultative Forum in
Abuja. NAPTIP's new Executive Secretary, Simon Egede, announced
that the federal government was considering another amendment to the
2003 Trafficking in Persons Law Enforcement and Administration Act,
which was already amended in 2005 to increase penalties for
traffickers. Egede said that the Act is "inadequate" to prosecute
newer forms of TIP-related crimes that have emerged since the Act
was previously amended. He hopes the changes will provide a "more
comprehensive legal framework to fight TIP and forced labor."

Labor


--------------------------




9. (U) DEREGULATION: LABOR AND CIVIL SOCIETY TO STAGE MAY 1 MASS
RALLY: Vanguard reported on April 20 that General Secretary of the
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) John Odah announced that the Labor and
Civil Society Coalition (LASCO), along with its other civil society
partners, were threatening to hold a nationwide strike on May 1.
The groups plan to hold a mass rally to protest the deregulation of
the "downstream sector" of the petroleum industry, which they fear
will end Nigeria's current system of subsidized pricing for
gasoline. Odah stated that organized labor is determined to resist
the government planned deregulation.

Environment and Health


--------------------------




10. (U) GON IMPOSES FINE ON SHELL OVER OIL SPILL: According to press
reports, on April 14, the Nigerian National Oil Spill Detection and
Response Agency (NOSDRA) imposed a one million naira ($6,667) fine
on the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) for "its careless
handling of oil spillage in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area
of Bayelsa State." The spill took place on September 26, 2008 and
resulted in a fire that damaged adjacent farmlands. In addition,
Shell was directed to clean-up and restore the affected sites.
NOSDRA also stated that it will conduct a damage assessment to
determine whether direct compensation to the victims is warranted.




11. (U) PRESIDENT APPROVES PLAN TO CLEAN-UP OGONILAND IN RIVER
STATE: According to press reports, on April 16, President Yar'Adua
approved a technical plan for cleaning-up sites damaged by oil
spills in the oil-rich Ogoni Local Government Area in Rivers State.
The plan was developed by a Presidential Technical Committee
composed of the Nigerian National Oil Spill Detection and Response
Agency (NOSDRA), the United Nations Environmental Program, Shell
Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and representatives of the
Ogoni community. As a first step, an assessment will be conducted
to determine the extent of oil pollution, which will be followed by
clean-up and restoration efforts. The leader of the Movement for
the Survival of Ogoni People, Ledum Mitee told the media that he
hoped "Shell will honor its commitment made before President

ABUJA 00000714 003 OF 005


Yar'Adua, as the company had made similar commitments in the past
but failed to implement them." The clean-up project, estimated to
cost a $10 million, is to be jointly financed by Shell and the GON.




12. (U) NIGERIAN SENATE HOLDS WORKSHOP ON BUSHFIRES: On March 31,
ESTOff attended the Nigerian Senate Committee on the Environment's
one-day workshop on "Bushfire Prevention and Control in Nigeria."
The workshop was held in collaboration with the Fire Disaster
Prevention and Safety Awareness Association of Nigeria (FDPSAAN), a
local nongovernmental organization. According to several speakers,
bushfires (local name for brushfires) are primarily a result of
deliberate acts to clear land for cultivation, reinvigorate animal
pasture, and aid in hunting (particularly bush meat). To a lesser
extent, lightning and pipeline vandalism were identified as
contributors. Bushfire, apart from causing loss of life and
property damage in rural communities, destroys natural forests and
wildlife habitat and contributes significantly to erosion and
desertification. The workshop, inaugurated by the President of the
Nigeria Senate David Mark and attended by the Minister of
Environment John Odey, brought needed attention to the widespread
problem, as well as its impact on life, property, the environment,
and food security. Participants concluded by calling for increased
public sensitization and national legislation on bushfire.



13. (U) KANO CITY UNVAILS PLAN TO BETTER MANAGE MUNICIPAL WASTE: The
northern Nigerian city of Kano, with over nine million residents,
produces 2,000 tons of garbage daily, but sanitation workers there
can handle only 800 tons. The rest is piling up on the streets and
highways posing serious environmental and health risks to city
residents, according to city officials. The city has increased its
workforce from 3,000 to 3,602 and added fifty trucks and equipment
to its fleet. In addition, the city plans to launch a public
education program to sensitize residents to change their attitudes
and involve them in clean-up efforts. The State is also awaiting
approval of new regulations, which will give more teeth to the Kano
State Waste Management Commission's enforcement authority.



14. (U) THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION ALLOCATES 4.7 MILLION EUROS TO
TACKLE MENINGITIS: According to press reports, the European
Commission (EC) donated 4.7 million euros ($6.1 million) to support
anti-meningitis efforts in Nigeria and Niger as part of its plan to
contain the spread of the disease in West Africa. The fund would be
used to provide treatment for those already affected by the disease.
The EC said the epidemic had already claimed 1,840 lives in the
region, out of which 1,161 were Nigerians.



15. (U) ERADICATION OF POLIO AN ACT OF INTERNATIONAL CITIZENSHIP:
During the 52nd meeting of the Nigerian National Council on Health
held in Kano in Northern Nigeria on April 5-6, the Nigerian Minister
of Health Babatunde Osotimehin stated that Nigeria has a "long way
to go in disrupting the transmission of polio." The minister added
that "it has become worrisome that we have become exporters of the
disease to our neighbors, and besides the global concern, Nigerian
children continue to be paralyzed by the virus." In 2008, 806
Nigerian children were paralyzed by polio, nearly three times the
figure from 2007. (Note: So far in 2009, at least 68 Nigerian
children have been affected and 18 of them paralyzed. End Note).
He lamented the spread of the disease to the south of the country
and the minimal progress against the disease in the north. Minister
Osotimehin lauded the improved efforts of the GON and its partners
and encouraged governments and communities to strengthen their
partnerships, "as eradicating polio is an act of international
citizenship."



16. (U) 5,157 KILLED IN ROAD ACCIDENTS SINCE 2005: According to the
Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission, Osita Chidoka,
accidents involving tractor-trailers, including tankers, resulted in
5,157 deaths and 13,251 injuries in the past three years.

Corruption and Crime


--------------------------



ABUJA 00000714 004 OF 005




17. (U) POLICE REFORM PANEL RECOMMENDATIONS TO BE IMPLEMENTED:
According to March 31 press reports, President Yar'Adua approved the
implementation of 250 out of 400 recommendations he received from
the Police Reform Panel, which submitted its report in December


2008. The article also noted that Minister of Police Affairs, Dr.
Ibrahim Yakubu Lame, said the GON will spend 2.8 trillion naira ($19
billion) over the next five years on implementation of the
recommendations.

Oil, Gas, and Power


--------------------------




18. (SBU) NNPC FOCUSES ON INCREASED REVENUE BASE: In a meeting on
April 8, 2009 with the new Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigerian
National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mohammed Barkindo told AIDOff
and EconCouns that the corporation's short term focus was to secure
a strong revenue base that could incubate its plans for medium and
long term objectives. Barkindo shared that in the current revamping
of the oil and gas industry the plan for upstream development would
involve increased crude production and reserves as well as the
development and implementation of gas investment strategies to
address gas flaring. The corporation's short term plan was to
rebuild the organization by growing production by an annual rate of
20%; upgrade the quality of Nigerian Petroleum Development Company
(NPDC) professionals; upgrade the infrastructure and technology;
enhance processes and systems; continue capacity development; and
establish and implement MOUs with host communities with a view to
having uninterrupted operations. According to Barkindo, the short
term initiative will lead to increased performance of investments in
existing oil fields. In downstream operations, Barkindo said the
refineries were being positioned to increase their respective
refining capacity from 40%in 2009 to 80% in 2011 with the Kaduna
Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC) budgeted for a major
overhaul this year and both the Port Harcourt Refining Company
(PHRC) and Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC) for
overhaul next year. Barkindo also shared that NNPC would invest in
power and would work to become an energy business even as it strived
to invest in renewable energy and that NNPC was positioning itself
to invest in the unilateral/ bilateral Clean Development Mechanism
projects.



19. (SBU) POWER PLANTS' OUTPUT DROPS: Two Nigerian executives, one
heading the local office of a major American industrial product
manufacturer and one heading the power generation division of a
Nigerian energy company, independently told Energyoff on April 14
that during the week prior output from Nigeria's power plants had
fallen to 500MW per day. They blamed the drop in generating levels
on a disruption of the supply of natural gas to the Egbin power
station in Lagos State plus seasonal drops in power output from
hydroelectric power plants.



20. (SBU) GON TO ACCEPT BIDS FOR NATURAL GAS PLANTS: On April 14,
an executive with the Nigerian company Global Energy said that his
was one of fifteen companies that pre-qualified to submit bids to
build and operate three natural gas central processing facilities
planned by the Nigerian government under its Gas Master Plan. The
list of pre-qualified bidders included several international oil
companies already operating in Nigeria, plus new entrants GAZPROM,
E.ON Ruhrgas, Centrica, and Thai, Italian, and Spanish utility
companies among others. Global Energy will partner with the
American company Exterran on its bid. The Global Energy executive
expected that construction on the multi-billion dollar projects
would not start until 2013 at the earliest. An ExxonMobil official
told Energyoff that his company did not apply to be one of the
pre-qualified bidders, but the GON has indicated the company will be
"allowed" to bid anyway. The GON is hosting a conference with
pre-qualified bidders in Abuja in late April to discuss the
mechanics of the bid process.



21. (SBU) PETROLEUM INDUSTRY BILL LINGERS IN NASS: A senior Nigerian
National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) official told Lagos Econoffs
on April 14 that recent changes in senior company officials were
routine and not necessarily tied to a planned restructuring of the

ABUJA 00000714 005 OF 005


company. Later however, he said that NNPC chief Mohammed Barkindo
was being careful not to be seen to be starting reforms before the
National Assembly had approved implementing legislation. He
described the relationship between the Ministry of Petroleum
Resource/NNPC and the National Assembly as "tense." He went on to
say that President Yar'Adua was engaged in getting the Petroleum
Industry Bill quickly passed by the legislature, but he acknowledged
that the National Assembly only worked on the bill in spurts, with
its attention often drawn elsewhere and the bill set aside.

Delta Incidents; No AMCITS Involved


--------------------------




22. (U) BRITISH CITIZEN TAKEN HOSTAGE: On April 4, a British
citizen was abducted from a hotel bar in Port Harcourt. His body
guard was killed in the incident. The hostage is still being held.



23. (U) BOAT ATTACKED AND DESTROYED: According to the media, a
houseboat used for laying pipelines by Agip contractor DAEWOO
Nigeria Ltd was attacked and destroyed in the Igbomotoru region of
Delta State on April 6. No casualties were reported in the attack.




24. (U) JTF REPORTEDLY KILL 14: On April 10, the JTF allegedly
killed 14 militants by sinking six speed boats on Okilo Creek near
Igbomotoru River, Bayelsa State.



25. (U) NAVY THWARTS ATTACK ON SHELL FLOW STATION: On April 11, an
attack on a Shell logistic (flow) station in Nembe Creek region,
Bayelsa State, was repelled by the Nigerian Navy, according to a JTF
spokesman and press reports. At least two naval sailors were
reported killed and four captured (according to OSAC sources);
several (2-4 depending on the source) boats, possibly including one
vessel with off-shore capability, were also seized by the militants.
JTF spokesmen claimed the attack was in retaliation for their
successful operation on April 10 in Igbomotoru.



26. (U) BRITISH HOSTAGE RELEASED: On April 19, MEND released Robin
Barry Hughes, one of two British hostages that were kidnapped in the
Niger Delta on September 9, 2008. MEND issued a statement via email
citing age and health reasons for the release and added that no
ransom was collected.

SANDERS