S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 ABUJA 000387
FOR A/S WALTER KANSTEINER FROM AMBASSADOR JETER
ALSO FOR DS/IP/AF, DS/DSS/ITA, DS/ICI/PII AND AF/EX
E.O. 12958: DECL: 1.6X1
TAGS: AMGT AEMR ASEC NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: ADDITIONAL CONTINGENCY PLANNING
REF: A. A. STATE 44229
Â¶B. B. ABUJA 339
Â¶C. C. 02 ABUJA 3332
Â¶D. D. 02 ABUJA 3333
Classified by Ambassador Howard F. Jeter; Reason 1.5 (G).
Â¶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
EMBASSY ABUJA THREAT ASSESSMENT
Â¶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.
Â¶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.
HOST COUNTRY CAPABILITIES
Â¶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.
Â¶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.
Â¶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.
Â¶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.
Â¶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
-- Recommend closure of the American International School for
-- A warden message to private Americans advising of the
outbreak of hostilities, Embassy closure, and recommendations
CONSULATE GENERAL LAGOS THREAT ASSESSMENT
Â¶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.
Â¶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.
HOST COUNTRY CAPABILITIES
Â¶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
Â¶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.
Â¶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.
Â¶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
Â¶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
---Briefed mailroom employees on procedures in the event of a
suspected chem/bio attack.
Â¶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
---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.
Â¶17. (SBU) The COM has reviewed this message and concurs with
the EAC,s recommendations.