Viewing cable 03ABUJA236
Title: NIGERIA: NAVY MINISTER: NOTHING WILL HAPPEN ON

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
03ABUJA2362003-02-04 12:32:00 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 ABUJA 000236 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
CAIRO FOR POL -- MAXSTADT 
LONDON FOR GURNEY 
 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/04/2013 
TAGS: PHUM PREL PGOV MOPS PINS NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: NAVY MINISTER: NOTHING WILL HAPPEN ON 
BENUE 
 
 
REF: A. ABUJA 205 
     ¶B. ABUJA 228 
 
 
 CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR HOWARD F. JETER; REASONS 1.5 (B) 
AND (D). 
 
 
¶1.  (C) During a January 23 conversation with Ambassador 
Jeter, Minister of State for Defense (Navy) Chris Agbobu 
commented on the October 2001 Benue massacre.  Agbobu did 
not expect anyone to be held accountable. Agbobu said 
while "everyone knows what happened (at Benue)" nothing 
would come of the government's investigation. 
 
 
¶2.  (C) Agbobu remarked that defeated PDP presidential 
aspirant and Benue native Barnabas Gemade's unsuccessful 
attempt to use the Benue incident to weaken Obasanjo during 
the PDP convention proved that the people of Benue did not 
blame the government for the killings.  According to 
Agbobu, most people realized that the massacre would not 
have happened if "criminals" had not killed and mutilated 
19 soldiers. Implying that he thought the attack on Zaki 
Biam had been  authorized by someone within the senior 
levels of the military or government,  Agbobu said the 
military acted correctly and that the Army would have 
reacted even more forcefully if the decision had been his. 
 
 
¶3.  (C) COMMENT: Agbobu became the naval Minister of State 
only last month and was at the Ministry of Agriculture when 
the massacre happened.  In that position, he was well known 
to the Ambassador, and following his appointment to the MOD 
called on the Ambassador at the Embassy on January 23. 
 
 
¶4.  (C) Agbobu's implication that the attack on Zaki Biam 
was authorized at a level significantly higher than that of 
those in immediate command of the offending soldiers is 
troubling; however, Agbobu is neither a military insider, 
nor was he at the MOD at the time of the Benue incident. 
He appears to be giving us his opinion more than anything 
else.  His belief that the GON will never hold anyone 
accountable for Benue may also be his personal view but it 
is one shared by many Nigerians.  END COMMENT. 
JETER