Viewing cable 03ABUJA387

03ABUJA3872003-02-21 17:42:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Abuja
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 ABUJA 000387 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 1.6X1 
REF: A. A. STATE 44229 
     ¶B. B. ABUJA 339 
     ¶C. C. 02 ABUJA 3332 
     ¶D. D. 02 ABUJA 3333 
Classified by Ambassador Howard F. Jeter; Reason 1.5 (G). 
¶1. (S) Per ref A, Abuja and Lagos EACs met separately to 
examine their respective security postures, including a 
review of the possibility of reducing dependents and 
non-essential personnel. The following are the results of 
those deliberations. 
¶2. (S) There was unanimous agreement among Abuja EAC members 
that as the likelihood of a conflict with Iraq increases, 
large and possibly violent anti-American demonstrations will 
occur in Nigeria, with a possibility of violent protests in 
Abuja itself. There was also agreement that anti-American 
demonstrations could serve as a catalyst to violence in 
cities with existing ethnic or religious fault lines.  The 
threat is mitigated somewhat by the GON,s recent success in 
pre-empting two planned anti-American demonstrations. 
However, the GON's ability to respond effectively to a truly 
spontaneous protest was rated as questionable. 
¶3. (S/NF) ORCA, DAO, and RSO were in agreement that there are 
no new terrorist threats targeting American facilities or 
personnel in Nigeria.  Existing threats were reported 
previously.  A variety of multi-source reporting outlines 
these threats. Although Nigeria was mentioned in a recent 
public statement attributed to Usama bin Ladin, there was 
agreement that there is no evidence of an increased terrorist 
threat in Nigeria beyond that which already exists against 
all American facilities worldwide. Moreover, the purported 
UBL threat seemed to be directed against the GON. 
Additionally, members agreed that the threat of Iraq 
exploiting its official presence to conduct offensive 
activity against Americans is heightened as the potential 
conflict nears. The GON is aware of this potential threat and 
are monitoring their activities. 
¶4. (S) There was unanimous agreement that the Government of 
Nigeria (GON) has the political will to protect USG personnel 
and property against attacks.  The GON recently pre-empted 
two planned anti-American demonstrations in Abuja, deploying 
significant additional security forces in the capital to 
accomplish this task.  Embassy liaison activities indicate 
that GON intelligence services are focusing on identifying 
radical Islamic elements in-country and attempting to deter 
violent anti-American protests.  The GON is also making a 
concerted effort to educate the public about the nature of 
the conflict in the Gulf, i.e., that it is political and not 
directed at Islam. 
¶5. (S) Despite the GON,s strong political will, there was 
unanimous agreement that without advance notice of protest, 
the police likely cannot immediately control large 
anti-American demonstrations. Violent demonstrations in 
November 2002 related to the Miss World beauty pageant ended 
the aura of immunity from political violence that the capital 
had previously enjoyed. However, it was the Abuja EAC,s 
assessment that the GON would use deadly force and deploy the 
military to protect American personnel and property, if the 
use of lethal force became necessary. 
¶6. (S) With two exceptions, Abuja EAC members thought that an 
authorized departure in anticipation of adverse reactions in 
Nigeria was not appropriate under present circumstances.  One 
of the two in favor stated that he was not unusually 
concerned about official Americans but hoped that the 
Mission's invocation of authorized departure would encourage 
private Americans to depart Nigeria, reducing the target 
profile of the relatively large American community presence. 
The EAC examined the Abuja tripwires established in December 
2002, shortly after the Miss World riots (ref C) and 
determined that none of them had been crossed.  A canvass of 
Mission employees revealed no &fear and apprehension in the 
official American community" that had "risen to a point that 
community members are interested in authorized departure8. 
In fact, the responses were the opposite, with a significant 
portion of Mission members expressing concern over being 
unable to return to Nigeria if they use their recently 
approved special R&R in the near future.  Several said they 
would forego the special R&R if taking it seriously risked 
precluding their return to Post. 
¶7. (SBU) At this time the Abuja EAC agreed that the updated 
Nigeria trip wires, Ref C, were still valid for Abuja and 
endorsed the following immediate measures to increase the 
overall security of American personnel and facilities in 
-- Restrict Mission visitors to those conducting "business 
essential to the pursuit of priority USG objectives."  This 
will reduce workload on the Mission and, in particular, will 
allow ADM & RSO to focus on key infrastructure and security 
-- Impose further travel restrictions on USG personnel, 
including requiring a 48-hour advance notification and RSO 
approval for non-emergency travel outside the capital city. 
Travel to and through major Northern population centers would 
be given special scrutiny. 
-- Use of early PCS travel and liberal use of the special R&R 
for non-essential personnel. 
-- Implementation of flexible work schedules. 
-- Issuance of a stronger travel advisory (recommending that 
non-essential travel to Nigeria be deferred). 
-- Recommending to the COM that the third floor of the new 
Chief of Mission Residence (not yet occupied) be designated 
and prepared as Post,s new alternate command center. 
¶8. (SBU) The Abuja EAC endorsed the following measures to be 
implemented upon the eventual onset of hostilities in Iraq: 
-- Convening an EAC to assess host country response and 
consider additional security measures. 
-- Closure of the Embassy and USAID for an initial period of 
two days. USAID will consider utilizing alternate work sites 
such as employee residences, and the Embassy will be staffed 
only by essential personnel. 
-- Non-essential employees and dependents will be instructed 
to stay at home and monitor their Embassy-issued radio for 
situation updates. 
-- Recommend closure of the American International School for 
two days. 
-- A warden message to private Americans advising of the 
outbreak of hostilities, Embassy closure, and recommendations 
on security. 
¶9.  (S)  The Lagos Emergency Action Committee met February 21 
and voted with near unanimity against recommending authorized 
departure at the present time.  Participants agreed that 
there are currently no new or specific terrorist threats 
against official Lagos personnel.  With one exception, EAC 
members opposed authorized departure status. 
¶10.  (S) Participants acknowledged that the impending war 
with Iraq may provoke reaction on the part of some Nigerians, 
given the sympathy many Nigerian Muslims have for Iraq as a 
Muslim nation and recent protests regarding Islamic 
sensitivities (e.g. the Miss World riots in Abuja).  The EAC 
agreed on the need to monitor events closely and review our 
security assessment as the Iraq situation evolves. 
¶11.  (S)  In discussions with the police, RSO has learned 
that the police intend to establish a road block at the 
entrance to Walter Carrington Crescent to prevent 
demonstrations from reaching the US Consulate and/or the 
British Deputy High Commission.  That said, this action might 
not take place faster than a demonstration could materialize. 
 However, several large contingents of police and private 
security guards could be mobilized to protect their own 
properties as well as ours, and could engage any 
demonstrators that became violent.  A small military 
contingent is situated at a Nigerian Army Post Exchange 
across from the Consulate but the Exchange personnel are not 
sufficient in number to provide significant security 
¶12.  (S) EAC explored potential alternatives to authorized 
departure for those employees who feel threatened on an 
individual basis.  Sections should be encouraged to 
accommodate personnel who wish to: 
---take R&R or personal leave; 
---take other authorized leave; 
---utilize Separate Maintenance Allowance status for EFMs; 
---initiate early departure for non-essential employees 
and/or early pack-out dates for employees scheduled for 
Permanent Change of Station in the near future; and 
---consider early departure for PCS family members. 
To facilitate these options, Post Admin will continue to make 
dollars available to those who elect to travel on personal 
leave, and may request permission to increase the amount of 
cash kept on-site for personnel access. 
¶13.  (S) The Lagos EAC recognized the fluid security 
environment may require frequent reassessment meetings as 
events unfold in the coming weeks.  Separately, POL and PAS 
will explore additional strategies to positively impact the 
security environment by countering the development of 
anti-U.S. sentiment in Lagos.  Admin already has pro-forma 
evacuation orders prepared for personnel in the event of any 
move to departure status. 
¶14.  (S)  At this time, the Lagos EAC concluded that 
previously established tripwires for Lagos are still valid. 
However, as the Nigeria travel advisory applies to all parts 
of Nigeria, members raised the potential need to review 
and/or revise the advisory should U.S. military actions in 
Iraq affect the local security environment.  Members agreed 
that the local American public be duly notified via warden 
message and travel advisory of known changes to their 
security situation. 
¶15.  (S)  To date, ConGen Lagos has 
---Increased visual presence of the guard force REACT at the 
American Guest Quarters; 
---Permanently assigned one member of the surveillance 
detection unit at the American International School; 
---Met with Public Affairs Section Employees to review their 
security status; 
---Briefed mailroom employees on procedures in the event of a 
suspected chem/bio attack. 
¶16.  (S) The EAC noted that the security situation might 
differ for Abuja and Lagos should hostilities begin.  The 
Lagos Consulate General recommends the following measures to 
be implemented upon the eventual onset of hostilities in Iraq: 
---Ask Nigerian authorities to immediately increase security 
on Walter Carrington Crescent; 
---Convene an EAC to assess host country response and 
consider additional security measures; 
---Close the Consulate General to all non-official visitors 
with the exception of those requesting American citizen 
services.  Close the Public Affairs Section on Lagos Island 
for an initial period of one day until the security situation 
is reassessed; 
---Non-essential employees and dependents will be instructed 
on further action via the radio network; 
---Maintain close contact with the American International 
School and recommend action based on the prevailing situation 
in Lagos at the time; 
---Send a warden message to private American citizens 
advising them of the outbreak of hostilities, and provide 
recommendations on security. 
¶17. (SBU) The COM has reviewed this message and concurs with 
the EAC,s recommendations.