Viewing cable 03ABUJA1088

03ABUJA10882003-06-20 13:31:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Abuja
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A 
REF:  A) STATE 153955 
      B) STATE 94517 
      C) ABUJA 0856 
1.(U) This responds to Ref A's request for a certification 
report card identifying the Government of Nigeria's (GON's) 
efforts towards meeting certification benchmarks 
contained in Ref B. 
¶A. Major Traffickers 
2.(SBU) The benchmarks for cooperation against major 
traffickers include increased effectiveness of the Nigerian 
National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and U.S. Drug 
Enforcement Administration (DEA) supported Joint Task 
Force, and the investigation and arrest of a major 
Nigeria-based drug trafficker.  In addition, 
the Government of Nigeria (GON) should adequately fund the 
NDLEA at a level to support salaries and core operations. 
--Although no major Nigeria-based drug trafficker has been 
arrested to date,  NDLEA reports on-going investigations and 
arrests of numerous drug traffickers as well as the dismantling 
of several syndicates in collaboration with DEA.  NDLEA notes 
the successful prosecution of Nigerian and Filipino smugglers 
arising from the 60kg seizure at the Tin-Can Island Port in 
Lagos in 2001. The agency indicated that investigations of others 
considered to be major traffickers have reached advanced stages. 
As evidence of their effectiveness in investigation and prosecutions, 
NDLEA cites the recent sentencing, without the option of a fine, 
of Martin Ike for smuggling 60kgs of cocaine in the luggage of 
his employer, Dr. Gabriel Solomon.  Solomon is incarcerated in 
the UK and Ike was sentenced to ten years imprisonment in 
--Cooperation between the USDEA and the NDLEA is excellent. 
DEA's Lagos Country Office has unrestricted access to all 
levels of NDLEA personnel.  Although it seeks and receives 
assistance from other donors, the Joint Task Force 
considers the DEA their operational advisors. 
--Like all agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria, 
NDLEA is still awaiting their funding allocation for 
FY-03.  Despite the delay, the agency appear to be 
continuing its operations at the seaport and all major 
airports as well as selected border entry points. 
¶B. Extradition 
3.(SBU) The USG asked the GON to continue progress 
towards establishing a reliable system that will allow 
extradition requests to be heard expeditiously and fairly, 
that will respect due process and individual rights while avoiding 
delaying tactics.  The benchmark for Article 6 is continued GON 
progress in strengthening extradition practice and 
procedures, and in resolving pending cases. 
--Nigeria's judicial system still affords defense attorneys 
the opportunity to delay at virtually every step of the extradition 
process, particularly at hearings. The case of Daniel Oruhiu has 
been continued until July 3, 2003 because the presiding judge was 
unable to attend the last hearing.  The GON cites that eight of its 
citizens have been extradited to the U.S. since 1995.  Although due 
process may not have been followed in some cases, the GON points to 
these cases as a demonstration of its commitment to honor its 
international obligation under the 1988 U.N. Convention against illicit 
trafficking in narcotics and psychotropic substances. 
--Regarding expedited extraditions, the Attorney 
General has concluded arrangements meeting the requirement for a 
special prosecutorial team and a special division within 
the Federal High Court system to expedite extradition cases. 
¶C. Interdiction 
4.(SBU) The benchmark for cooperation in the area of drug 
interdiction is to successfully seize at least 
one significant shipment of heroin or cocaine. 
(Significance to be determined by DEA and RNLEO)  In 
particular, the NDLEA must continue efforts at the 
airport in Lagos to ensure that any direct flights to the 
U.S. from Lagos do not become a major conduit for drug 
trafficking.  NDLEA must increase its use of INL-donated 
drug detectors, the Itemisers, at its international airports and 
establish a plan to exercise greater control over mail and 
commercial delivery services. 
--NDLEA has not made a significant heroin or cocaine 
seizure to date, however, it has made substantial 
progress in the number of seizures achieved and the total amount 
of illicit drugs confiscated.  Their efforts are 
evidenced by a total drug seizure of 507,728.10kg in 2002 
and the arrests of 2,657 suspects, of which 870 have been 
convicted.  The others are awaiting trial.  NDLEA 
successfully destroyed 283,398kg of cannabis in Operation 
"Burn the Weed".  As of April 2003, total drug seizures 
stood at 76,641.14kg.  This included 75,742kg of cannabis, 
13kg of cocaine, 26.14kg of heroin and 860kg of 
psychotropic substances.  Within the same period, NDLEA 
destroyed 64,860kgs of cannabis.  109 drug suspects were 
convicted so far, out of 886 that were arrested. 
--The NDLEA unit at Lagos' Murtala Muhammed International 
Airport (MMIA) continues to conduct 100 percent searches of 
passengers and carry-on baggage.  This procedure is a very 
important effort, made even more essential with the May 2003 
commencement of World Airways charter flights direct to the 
U.S. from Lagos. 
--The under-utilization of the drug detection equipment was 
due to lack of consumable supplies for the machines.  Since 
these items are sole-source, NDLEA is completely reliant on 
the supplier.  RNLEO has discussed more reliable supply methods 
with the vendor but problems still exist in timely delivery of 
the items.  Consumables for the Itemiser are time 
sensitive and are useless after the expiration date.  NDLEA 
currently has a three-month supply and the RNLEO is working 
with the vendor to ensure future stock is received in a 
timely manner. 
--Nigeria recognizes that drug trafficking is a borderless 
phenomenon.  NDLEA has stepped up efforts at 
strengthening its sub-regional initiative, The West African 
Joint Operations (WAJO) in collaboration with USDEA.  This 
operation involves the exchange of intelligence as well as 
cross-border operations within the West Africa sub-region. 
NDLEA recently concluded a multi-national and concurrent 
drug interdiction operation across the West Africa sub- 
region, which led to substantial arrests and seizures of 
illicit substances. 
--NDLEA has made numerous seizures of traffickers at 
Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos and 
at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.  An 
antiquated medical x-ray machine at MMIA is being replaced 
by an INL-funded digital x-ray machine in Lagos. As a 
result of the use of even the old x-ray technology at MMIA, many 
traffickers have chosen to operate through other cities in 
Nigeria or other West African countries with less capacity 
to detect them.  Numerous seizures have occurred in Abuja 
with little technical aid so NDLEA plans to improve their 
effort by moving the old machine from MMIA to Abuja as soon 
as some repairs can be completed. 
¶D. Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture 
5.(SBU) The benchmarks for this area includes effective 
GON cooperation with the FATF AMERG to ensure that 
remaining deficiencies in anti-money laundering legislation and 
enabling regulations are corrected and the newly enacted reforms 
are enforced and implemented.  The GON must adequately support the 
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by ensuring that it 
is adequately staffed and funded, and its staff adequately trained. 
In addition, asset forfeiture laws must be enforced and resources 
derived from the forfeiture must be utilized to fight criminal activity 
The GON must continue its cooperation with the U.S. law enforcement 
Agencies to disrupt syndicates perpetrating financial fraud, particular 
those groups involved in advance-fee (419) fraud targeting U.S. 
--Nigeria was designated a Non-Cooperating Country or 
Territory (NCCT) in June 2001. During the past year, positive steps 
have been taken by the GON to overcome this designation.  Initially, 
NDLEA's anti-money laundering activities were limited to general 
investigation.  Currently, its financial investigation 
capacity has been improved by upgrading the financial 
investigative unit to a full-fledged Directorate.  NDLEA 
has intensified its banking inspections and have commenced 
active investigations on several accounts and initiated 
prosecution of five banks suspected of violation of money 
laundering legislation. 
--Nigeria claims tremendous success through a well- 
articulated awareness program aimed at sensitization of 
banks and non-bank financial institutions on international 
money regulations as well as on the reporting standards in 
compliance with FATF 40 recommendations. 
--The GON reports taking the following concrete steps to 
enhance Nigeria's efforts to be removed from the list of 
   --Setting up an Interministerial Committee headed by the 
Permanent Secretary to the President; 
   --Engaging in constructive dialogue and correspondence 
with the FATF particularly the Africa and Middle East 
Review Group; 
   --Holding face to face meeting with the Review Group in 
Rome and; 
   --Amending the Money Laundering Act to meet the standard 
of the FATF. 
--The GON does not want Nigeria to be a haven for money launderers. 
In this regard, a Nigerian delegation visited Rome three times 
between December 2001 and May 2003 for discussions with the FATF 
AMERG.  The last meeting was May 27, 2003.  The GON felt the 
discussions were fruitful.  The newly enacted Money 
Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2003 was reviewed at that 
meeting and the AMERG gave the Nigerian delegation the 
benefit of their experience in other areas.  Currently, 
efforts are underway to consolidate and harmonize financial 
crimes laws in accordance with FATF recommendations.  Nigeria is 
hoping for some positive acknowledgement of their efforts to date 
at the June 18th plenary session. 
--The GON is trying to get FATF to visit Nigeria.  We 
understand that a visit has been agreed to and the timing is 
still pending. 
--NDLEA and the new Economic and Financial Crimes 
Commission (EFCC) are vigorously enforcing the provisions 
of the Money Laundering Act.  Several banks have been 
charged with violating the provisions of the Act and 
if convicted, could lose their licenses. 
--The EFCC, under new leadership, has been active and 
is credited with the arrest of two 419 "kingpins" in 2003, and 
a newly elected member of the National Assembly.  After a 
recent court appearance, bail was denied one of the 
--Two judges from the High Court in Lagos and two from the High 
Court in Abuja have been designated to hear all cases brought by 
the EFCC.  Since this designation, no hearing has been continued 
for more than week. 
-- While Nigerian law enforcement establishment recognizes 
asset forfeiture as an effective deterrence to money 
laundering activities, this has not been an area actively 
pursued by them.  NDLEA and other law enforcement agencies 
are awaiting legislation that would authorize the use of 
proceeds and assets of criminal elements by the agency 
responsible for the seizure.  The new National Assembly may take 
on this issue and pass the appropriate legislation. 
¶E. Corruption 
6.(SBU) As a measure of cooperation in the area of 
corruption, the GON must investigate all credible petitions 
alleging corruption by federal, state and local government 
officials.  The NDLEA and NPF must also properly staff and 
fund special offices of professional responsibility to 
investigate misconduct. 
--The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related 
Offenses Commission (ICPC) has moved in fits and starts since 
its inception in 2000.  First in 2000 its legitimacy was challenged 
in a lawsuit where the ICPC was ultimately deemed constitutional. 
More recently, the Anti-Corruption Act of 2000, which created the 
ICPC, was replaced with the 2003 Anti-Corruption Act that could 
have weakened the Commission considerably.  The High Court recently 
ajudged the new law null and void, and declared the Anti-Corruption 
Act of 2000 still valid.  The ICPC was practically idle during 
both of these proceeding as its power to investigate was severely 
curtailed.  The ICPC staff of 23 prosecutors, 26 
investigators and six advisors is currently conducting 17 
investigations involving 39 people including 14 governors and several 
National Assembly members. 
--Other initiatives of the GON include sponsoring and 
hosting several conferences against corruption in 
Nigeria; aggressive implementation of laws against advance 
fee fraud and failed banks; probing of past governments 
which has resulted in the recovery of large sums in foreign 
currency; probe of the legislature; the implementation of 
anti-corruption law, and the strengthening and further 
empowerment of the ICPC. 
--NDLEA has institutionalized a regime of personnel re- 
orientation and institution of professional responsibility. 
The objective is to instill discipline, transparency, 
loyalty and professionalism.  NDLEA operatives are viewed 
as relatively honest and were the recent targets of other 
Nigerian law enforcement agencies to get them evicted from 
the port of Lagos.  The NPF appear to be serious about 
their reform efforts and have reported large-scale 
expulsions of the rank and file and some mid-level 
officials for soliciting bribes.  Further positive results 
are anticipated as a result of a comprehensive police 
reform and modernization program funded by INL and 
implemented by ICITAP that got underway in February 2003. 
¶F. Demand Reduction 
7.(SBU) The USG asked the GON to provide adequate funds and 
personnel to implement the demand reduction component of 
Nigeria's drug control policy plan. 
--The NDLEA has been engaged in anti-drug public 
awareness based on the belief that articulate demand- 
reduction programs are prerequisite to victory in supply- 
reduction battle. To that end, the following programs are 
being implemented in Nigeria: 
   --anti-drug public enlightenment; 
   --establishment of drug abuse committees all over the 
country starting at the local government levels; 
   --incorporation of drug abuse education in the 
curricular of Nigerian schools; 
   --establishment of drug-free clubs in tertiary 
--Rehabilitation of drug dependent person is a core concern. 
The NDLEA, in collaboration with UNODCCP, embarked on a 
program of standardizing the Common Operational Procedures 
(COP) for improvement of treatment and rehabilitation 
services in Nigeria. 
¶G. Controlled Delivery 
8.(SBU) The USG asked the GON to cooperate with controlled 
deliveries, as called for in Article II of the 1988 UN 
Convention on Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances. 
--In addition to operational activities within the West 
Africa sub-region, NDLEA has participated in several 
successful controlled delivery operations with its 
international collaborators.  NDLEA Chairman cited four 
such operations with British Customs counterparts.