Viewing cable 01ABUJA2984

01ABUJA29842001-11-26 19:14:00 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 02 ABUJA 002984 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/26/2011 
(U) Classified by Ambassador Howard F. Jeter; Reasons 1.5 (d). 
¶1. (C) SUMMARY: Press reporting from "The Guardian" newspaper 
on November 21, repeated in para 2, indicates that Nigeria 
and South Africa will sign a military pact.  The pact 
apparently will focus on naval cooperation, primarily 
training, maintenance and joint exercises, and joint patrol 
of the South Atlantic.  It is somewhat ironic that Nigerian 
Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Samuel Afolayan, used a 
comparison with South Africa's smaller navy to argue for 
additional resources for Nigeria's navy, which is seriously 
overstaffed but has no operational, ocean-going vessels.  END 
¶2. (U) Begin article text: 
"Nigeria, South Africa to sign military pact" 
NIGERIA and South Africa will soon sign a military pact that 
will streamline the areas of co-operation between their armed 
forces.  The Chief of Defense Staff, Admiral Ibrahim Ogohi 
who disclosed this when the Chief of South African Navy, Vice 
Admiral John Relief visited him in Abuja, said   some aspects 
of the program were being implemented. 
Already, a Nigerian Lieutenant Colonel is a member of the 
Directing Staff at the South African Command and Staff 
College.  Also, Nigeria is to start the exchange of cadets 
with the South African Defense Academy. 
Vice Admiral Relief in explaining the scope of the 
relationship between the two countries stated that "what is 
important is that between Nigeria and South Africa, we have 
the best Navies in Africa.  The first level of co-operation 
is in the area of training. Second is the repairing of 
warships and the conduct of joint exercises between both 
countries.  We both support the new African Initiative and 
Millennium plan.  We have ability to build relations 
Both Nigeria and South Africa, according to Relief, are 
desirous of providing security in the South Atlantic. 
According to him: "The South Atlantic is a very important sea 
route to South Africa.  We share the coast with Namibia and 
Angola.  It is being mined for diamonds and natural gas. 
There are lots of natural resources that will tempt people 
there.  A strong Navy will guarantee the safety of the areas. 
 Currently, there is no threat, but that doesn't mean that in 
the unsure world we are, things might not change." 
Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Samuel Afolayan who in 
October visited South Africa, said the international 
community attached great importance to the security of the 
South Atlantic and the co-operation between Nigeria and South 
African Navies.  Said he: "It is a good expectation that 
after my visit to South Africa, I followed it up with a visit 
to the United States and the safety of the South Atlantic was 
what we discussed.  They were delighted that we are concerned 
with the geo-political consideration of the zone. They are 
eager to note and see such developments going   on in the 
African continent." 
Afolayan advocated increased funding and re-equipping of the 
Nigerian Navy to meet up with the challenges of the new 
He stated: "With the South African Navy that is small, 
compact and efficient, we see the need for the Nigerian Navy 
to be better equipped than what it is now.  They have 
capabilities yet to be possessed by the Nigerian Navy.  We 
will get those capabilities if we are re-equipped." 
The South African Navy has about 5,500 uniformed personnel 
and 2000 civilians. It has two naval bases, a dockyard, nine 
combat craft, three sub-marines, six minesweepers and four 
¶3. (C) COMMENT: Bilateral military cooperation between 
Nigeria and South Africa is likely to be beneficial to 
Nigeria, and to U.S. goals for Nigeria's military.  At times, 
African states accept notions of military reform more readily 
from another African State rather than the West.  It is 
somewhat ironic (but unfortunately normal), however, that 
Nigerian Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Samuel Afolayan, 
used the South African visit as an opportunity to argue for 
additional resources for Nigeria's Navy, rather than using 
the visit as an opportunity to advocate for a more 
streamlined Service.  The Naval Service is top-heavy and 
personnel-laden (19 Admirals and 34 Commodores and less than 
10,000 men) but has no operational ocean-going vessels. 
¶4. (C) The Nigerian Navy tends to think big, voicing a need 
for submarines and aircraft carriers to the DATT.  However, 
its capabilities are small.  A Nigerian Navy without 
fundamental defense reform is not likely to achieve anything 
beyond coastal patrol, and that achievement is likely only 
because the U.S. is providing the wherewithal (Balsam-class 
180' patrol vessels).  END COMMENT.