C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 002668
DEPT FOR AF/RA: BITTRICK
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/12/2011
TAGS: MASS MARR NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: MPRI IPR - WILL THE PROGRAM CONTINUE?
REF: ABUJA 2653
(U) Classified by Ambassador Howard F. Jeter; Reasons 1.5 (b)
Â¶1. (C) SUMMARY: A mostly positive In-Progress-Review of the
MPRI program was followed by a discussion of MPRI funding
issues for 2002. Claiming the GON was unaware that the
program required an annual commitment of $3.5m, Defense
Minister Danjuma suggested a new arrangement with a
significantly smaller burden on the GON. The unfinished
discussion on funding will be resumed by Generals Vuono and
Saint and President Obasanjo, at a meeting likely on October
Â¶24. END SUMMARY.
Â¶2. (SBU) Prior to the MPRI In-Progress-Review (IPR), OSD/ISA
African Affairs Director Theresa Whelan met Defense Minister
Danjuma to discuss the MPRI Program. DATT, COL Terry Tidler,
PolMilOff, and MPRI VP General Crosbie Saint (ret), along
with Danjuma's PSO Colonel Pennap and a State Security
Service Officer were in attendance. (Ambassador Jeter was
unable to attend due to a meeting with the Vice President,
but did attend the IPR.)
Â¶3. (SBU) Whelan emphasized the importance of the MPRI program
as a cornerstone of the military-to-military relationship,
which had implications for the entire security assistance
program, and solicited Danjuma's views on moving the program
forward. Danjuma agreed on the program's importance, stating
he would like it to continue. However, he said the GON had
been unaware the program would cost $3.5m annually. No money
had been budgeted for FY02. Moreover, the value of the
program would have to be demonstrated to the National
Assembly. Although, "totally in favor of the program,"
Danjuma explained he could not force it on his Service
Chiefs, and would have to "carry them along."
IN-PROGRESS-REVIEW: SOME PROGRESS NOTED
Â¶4. (SBU) The MPRI team's briefing emphasized significant
progress since the last IPR in April, largely due to the GON
providing counterparts for the team. After the briefing, a
discussion ensued on funding for 2002. Chief of Defense
Staff, Admiral Ibrahim Ogohi, argued that money had not been
budgeted for 2002. "Who will pay?", Ogohi questioned.
Danjuma offered that, since Nigeria faced more financial
constraints than the United States, Nigeria could fund their
counterparts for 2002 while the U.S. absorbed the cost of the
American counterparts (i.e. the larger portion of the tab).
We are at the mercy of world oil prices and cannot count on a
supplemental budget, Danjuma explained.
Â¶5. (SBU) Joining the IPR in progress, the Ambassador
explained that this was Nigeria's program, and that funding
demonstrated commitment. The 50-50 split had a symbolic
impact in Washington. Furthermore, if the U.S. were to bear
a greater burden, it would affect other security assistance
programs, such as the C-130 program or the buoy tenders.
(COMMENT: This statement brought about a look of surprise on
the Chief of Air Staff's face, who exclaimed, "I hope not the
C-130s!" When Danjuma mentioned the buoy tenders, Ogohi
began to shake his head in a defiant "No." END COMMENT.)
Finally, there were simply some things that friends and
supporters should not do. Nigeria should be seen by its
people as leading the reform effort, Jeter opined. That
meant footing half of the bill.
Â¶6. (SBU) After further discussions, it was agreed to try to
accelerate the program, and then review progress again.
General Saint noted, however, that until the MOD gave
instructions on a number of proposals, acceleration could not
occur. Danjuma said the MOD would redouble its efforts to be
COMMENT - NEXT STOP, THE PRESIDENT
Â¶7. (C) COMMENT: We believe that Danjuma supports the program,
as he insists. However, budget constraints, skepticism in
the National Assembly for defense-related spending, and, not
least, Service Chief foot-dragging, constrain him. Danjuma
told us during a meeting on October 10 that he would make a
recommendation to President Obasanjo on renewing the program.
He also said he planned to attend the meeting between the
President and Generals Vuono and Saint, which we hope to
arrange for October 24.
Â¶8. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED: While Danjuma's world oil price
predictions may be correct, sufficient money can be found for
the program if the President desires to do so. We will push
for this outcome. However, if the GON is unwilling to pay
its fair share, then other options, including ending the
program, will have to be considered. END COMMENT.
Â¶9. (U) This message was cleared by Theresa Whelan.