Viewing cable 01ABUJA2072

01ABUJA20722001-08-17 15:58:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Abuja
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 002072 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/13/2011 
 (U) Classified by Ambassador Howard F. Jeter; Reasons 1.5 
(b) and (d). 
¶1. (C) SUMMARY: On August 13, Ambassador Jeter accompanied by 
DATT, Acting ODC Chief and PolMilOff met with Acting Minister 
of Defense Lawal Batagarawa and other Ministry officials to 
discuss security assistance programs.  Ambassador Jeter 
explained that he had requested the meeting due to slow 
progress on many assistance cases, including MOD failure to 
sign a number of significant LOAs, and continuing problems 
with IMET.  A lively and positive discussion followed, 
facilitated by Minister Batagarawa, including an ODC briefing 
on the role of ODC and the types of U.S. security assistance 
¶2. (C) Batagarawa promised an improved relationship ("the 
same as I did with OFR").  As a result of the meeting, the 
participants agreed to have bi-weekly meetings between ODC 
and the Ministry and Services.  Additionally, Batagarawa 
asked for training on security assistance for the Ministry's 
Legal Department and Joint Services Department.  The Ministry 
agreed to give multiple names for all IMET slots in the 
future.  Finally, the Minister instructed the head of the 
Legal Department to inform the Nigerian DATT in Washington, 
Group Captain Ode, to sign the Amended LOA for MPRI (although 
it appears that additional intra-Ministry discussions will 
occur before this instruction is carried out).  END SUMMARY. 
¶3. (C) Numerous problems have plagued the security assistance 
relationship between the U.S. and Nigeria since the inception 
of democracy in May 1999.  Lack of Ministry action, largely 
due to stovepipe communication channels within the Ministry 
and between the Ministry and Services, as well as 
bureaucratic infighting over resources, have delayed 
completion of LOAs and caused the loss of badly needed and 
highly desired IMET slots.  Moreover, the Nigerian DIA 
insists that the DATT provide a notice of at least 30 days 
before there is any contact between the DATT and GON 
officials.  DIA has included ODC in this highly restrictive 
requirement, which has made it nearly impossible for the many 
TDY ODC staff members to establish and maintain productive 
relationships.  (However, this has not prevented DIA from 
returning ODC's letters seeking IMET course requests with 
long lists filled only with intelligence courses.)  As a 
result, Ambassador Jeter requested a meeting between the 
Embassy (including himself, DATT, ODC and PolMilOff) and 
policy-makers in the Ministry, including the Minister, the 
Ministers of State for Army, Navy and Airforce, the Chief of 
Defense Staff and the three Service Chiefs. 
¶4. (U) Ambassador Jeter was accompanied to the meeting by 
DATT Nelson, Acting ODC Chief Kinser and PolMilOff.  The 
meeting was chaired by the Acting Minister of Defense 
(Minister of State for Army), Lawal Batagarawa.  Also in 
attendance from the Ministry were the Permanent Secretary, 
the heads of the Joint Services and Legal Departments and the 
Directors of the Army, Navy and Air Force Departments.  The 
Chief of Defense Staff, Vice Admiral Ibrahim Ogohi appeared 
during the last few minutes of the meeting. 
¶5. (C) Ambassador Jeter explained the reasons he had 
requested the meeting, and emphasized the importance of 
opening lines of communication on security assistance. 
Delayed response to LOAs was holding back assistance that was 
clearly needed and desired by the Ministry and Services. 
Dropped IMET slots resulted in lost money and training to 
Nigeria.  If the situation did not improve, it would be 
difficult to convince Washington to maintain the current 
level of security assistance to Nigeria. 
¶6. (C) Minister Batagarawa explained that while he was aware 
that the Ambassador had requested a meeting with 
policy-makers, he felt it was more important to begin with 
the civil servants that dealt with these issues on a daily 
basis.  Moreover, he noted, policy-makers can change, while 
the MOD civil servants were less likely to be moved (and thus 
could provide continuity in the security assistance 
relationship).  A policy-maker level meeting could follow, if 
¶7. (C) Major Kinser gave a security assistance briefing, and 
a lively discussion of the legalese of LOAs, including the 
MPRI amended LOA ensued.  The Head of the Legal Department 
complained that the Embassy expected that the Ministry's 
signature on LOAs was the perceived final step, whereas the 
Nigerians were used to a three stage process, including a 
letter of offer, a letter of acceptance and, after 
negotiation, the signature of an agreement.  She bemoaned 
many of the legal details in U.S. LOAs, including the 2.5 
percent fee and responsibility to pay any additional costs. 
Somewhat surprisingly, the Minister suddenly interrupted his 
Head of Legal Department's questioning, and accurately 
explained the difference between direct commercial sales, FMS 
cases, and FMS grant assistance.  He emphasized the 
advantages of working through the USG to procure equipment, 
but noted it was discretionary.  However, with FMS cases 
where the USG grants were provided, the Ministry would be 
mistaken not to take full advantage of the goodwill.  Major 
Kinser explained the difficulties the Embassy had had with 
IMET.  The Head of the Joint Services gave her commitment 
that from now on the Ministry would supply multiple names for 
each training slot, and do so in a timely manner. 
¶8. (C) Ambassador Jeter noted that the MPRI amended LOA had 
yet to be signed by the GON.  This meant that the U.S. could 
not access the money that Nigeria had transferred.  He also 
noted that due to payment delays and exchange-rate 
fluctuations, the final sum had come up short by about USD 
400,000.  Batagarawa asked his Head of the Legal Department 
if that were true.  She explained that it was, that she had 
concerns about the LOA language that she had raised with 
Minister Danjuma, and that she had sent a letter to the 
Nigerian DATT in Washington, Group Captain Ode, to send a 
letter giving the USG access to the money, rather than 
signing the LOA.  Batagarawa directed that now that she had 
clarification on the LOA process, she should immediately 
write to Ode to sign the LOA.  She complained that she had 
planned to meet with other department heads to discuss the 
case, and wanted to do so before carrying out Batagarawa's 
instruction.  He agreed, but told her to meet "quickly," and 
bring him a recommendation by Thursday, August 16. 
¶9. (C) DATT suggested a bi-weekly meeting between ODC and the 
Ministry to discuss cases and IMET slots, and to avoid any 
future misunderstandings.  DATT, however, explained that this 
might be a problem due to DIA's requirements for the DOD 
personnel at the Embassy.  However, DIA could certainly 
attend the regularly scheduled meetings.  The Minister 
heartily agreed to the bi-weekly meetings (as did the MOD 
staff in attendance).  He waved off DIA as a problem, but 
agreed that including DIA was acceptable.  He also stated 
that representatives of the CDS and the Service Chiefs should 
also attend.  The situation would improve, the Minister said. 
 I give my personal commitment, "the same as I did with OFR." 
¶10. (C) The Minister then told the DATT that he wanted 
security assistance training for MOD civil servants, 
especially the Legal and Joint Services Department.  He 
explained that fewer problems would occur if there were a 
better understanding in the Ministry of the U.S. process. 
Colonel Nelson agreed to work on a security assistance 
training plan that would involve bringing a small team to 
Abuja to carry out the training for the Ministry.  Smiling, 
the Minister asked, "Colonel Nelson, do I have your word on 
that?" and jocularly turned to the Ambassador, and said, "I 
am going to hold you responsible for his commitment."  (NOTE: 
A slot was found for MOD personnel in October by the ODC. 
¶11. (C) Due to the suspension of security assistance during 
the Abacha regime, the Embassy and the Ministry of Defense 
are in some ways creating a new relationship. 
Understandably, any new relationship has problems.  While the 
Embassy has worked for the past two years to reform and 
rebuild the security assistance relationship with Nigeria, 
the Ministry of Defense is in many ways just now finding its 
feet, and expanding its role in overseeing the Services.  A 
renewed effort to establish open and transparent channels of 
communication between the Embassy and the Ministry, is an 
important step.  The recent meeting was extremely helpful in 
this regard. 
¶12. (C) For those that would engage in corrupt practices, 
working with the USG presents serious problems.  Because our 
programs are so well defined and carefully managed, there is 
little room for kickbacks.  Therefore, the purchase of 
military goods from others, such as Russia or China, holds a 
much greater attraction for those MOD rent seekers.  While 
corruption of this sort will not go away any time soon, 
improved communication and cooperation will make it more 
difficult for those who would restrict and then criticize the 
relationship with the U.S. for their own ends. 
¶13. (C) Minister Batagarawa has consistently met his 
commitments to the Embassy, and has served effectively as a 
problem-solver for the bilateral relationship.  His decision 
to involve the Ministry's civil servants was well-considered. 
 We are also confident that he will do everything he can to 
meet his commitment to us for improved coordination on FMS 
cases and IMET. 
¶14. (C) DAO COMMENT:  A security-related follow-on meeting 
between ODC and MOD, Service and DIA staff was held on August 
¶14.  The meeting established the bi-weekly schedule.  At the 
meeting, MOD Joint Services and Legal Departments stated that 
unless the U.S. makes the voluminous legal changes to the 
LOAs currently awaiting signature, they would not be signed. 
ODC explained that it was very unlikely that any substantive 
changes would be made but that our legal experts would review 
the Nigerian requests.  DAO pointed out that this would mean, 
at best, further delays and at worst, the complete cessation 
of the FMF program for Nigeria.  DATT believes that when this 
development is revealed to Batagarawa, the MOD Legal and 
Joint Staff representatives will be told to cooperate.  END 
¶15. (U) This cable was cleared with DAO and ODC.