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Cablegate: Lagos Commissioners On Security & Development

VZCZCXRO5823
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHOS #0672/01 2831519
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 101519Z OCT 07
FM AMCONSUL LAGOS
TO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA PRIORITY 9248
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 0135
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9482
INFO RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH AFB UK
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RHMCSUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LAGOS 000672

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - HANDLE ACCORDINGLY
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC NI
SUBJECT: LAGOS COMMISSIONERS ON SECURITY & DEVELOPMENT

REF: LAGOS 30

1. (SBU) Summary: In meetings with Theodore Craig, Office of
Policy Planning, U.S. Department of State, two Lagos State
Commissioners explained that relations between Lagos Governor
Fashola and President Yar'Adua are strong, that Yar'Adua has
agreed to expand a major expressway from four to 16 lanes,
and that the GON has released approximately USD 82.4 million
to the state for local development. Governor Fashola is
committed to transparency and reportedly provides the state's
budget to a stakeholder's forum. A Security Trust Fund, to
which private companies can contribute, will augment the
city's Rapid Response Force to which the state government has
already allotted 200 vehicles. End Summary.

2. (SBU) During a September 29 visit to Lagos, Theodore
Craig, Adviser on West African Affairs, Office of Policy and
Planning, U.S. Department of State, met with Opeyemi
Bamidele, Commissioner for Information and Strategy for Lagos
State and Jide Sanwo-Olu, Commissioner for Training in Lagos
State.

-----------------------------------------
Good Relations Between Fashola & Yar'Adua
-----------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Bamidele told Craig and Poloffs that relations
between Lagos State Governor Fashola and President Yar'Adua
are good, despite being from opposing political parties
(Yar'Adua is with the People's Democratic Party and Fashola
is with the Action Congress) and that their parties would
equally benefit from the positive relationship. Bamidele
said Lagos State fully supports Yar'Adua, as witnessed by the
fact that Yar'Adua and Fashola recently traveled to the
United States together. President Obasanjo, on the other
hand, was often at odds with Lagos State's former AC Governor
Bola Tinubu. Bamidele put this down to the fact that
Yar'Adua is better educated than was Obasanjo. People are
comfortable offering Yar'Adua advice and opinions as he
settles into his position, unlike under Obasanjo who readily
expelled people from the party for offering candid opposing
views, our contact said.

--------------------------------------------- --------
State & Local Government Development Responsibilities
--------------------------------------------- --------

4. (SBU) The Federal Government agreed to expand the Badagry
Expressway, which connects Lagos city to Cotonou, Republic of
Benin, from four to 16 lanes. Lagos State expects to see the
funds by 2008 and Bamidele thought the Nigerian-owned
construction firm Hi-Tech would be hired for the project.
Governor Fashola's "good working relations" with President
Yar'Adua left Bamidele confident projects such as this would
move forward. Further, Lagos state will begin building a
fourth "mainland bridge" between the Lekki peninsula and
Ikorodu on the mainland in September 2008, Bamidele told
Poloffs.

5. (SBU) According to Bamidele, the State Government
consulted with local government stakeholders to identify the
communities' priority development projects. President
Obasanjo withheld from Lagos State naira 10.3 billion
(approximately USD 82.4 million) because he did not accept
the increased number of local government areas (LGAs) in the
state. However, Yar'Adua released these funds to the state,
which then visited local government project sites to ensure
that projects were funded and completed. LGAs are
responsible for providing waste management, market
development and management (such as providing the
infrastructure necessary for markets), and running primary
health centers and elementary schools. Lagos State, like
many others, opposed President Yar'Adua's attempt to remove
health care from the purview of local governments, Bamidele
said. State officials believe the federal and state
governments should fund research institutions and teaching
hospitals and leave primary health care to the LGAs.

---------------------------------
Internally Generated State Income;
Budgets Shown to Stake Holders
---------------------------------

LAGOS 00000672 002 OF 002

6. (SBU) Lagos State government receives naira 2.8 billion
from the federal account; it has managed to raise over naira
5 billion (approximately USD 40 million) through capital
development and internally generated revenue, Bamidele said.
Major revenue sources include state income tax, property tax,
and a value added tax (VAT). Foreign investment and air and
sea ports also generate substantial amounts of revenue.

7. (SBU) Credible state accountants monitor spending and
file budgets with professional budget monitoring
institutions, according to Bamidele. The state opens its
books to civil society and interest groups at a stakeholder's
forum where it receives suggestions and recommendations from
experts and those involved in decision making. Sometimes
local government allocations are also publicized, he added.

------------------------------------
Lagos Government Invests in Security
------------------------------------

8. (SBU) To increase the capacity of federal police forces
in that Lagos megacity, the state government has invested in
a Rapid Response Force, providing 200 new security vehicles
equipped with vehicle tracking systems to ensure they can be
traced, personal protective vests, and housing for Rapid
Response workers. (Note: There are no state controlled
police in Nigeria; all police are federal level employees.
End Note.) According to Jide Sanwo-Olu, Commissioner of
Training in Lagos State, the Rapid Response Force will be
privately managed but paid for by government through a trust
fund. A bill authorizing the Security Trust Fund was sent to
the Lagos State House of Assembly to fully legalize the fund
and allow private companies to contribute funds to cover the
Force's costs. Sanwo-Olu said there is "absolutely no
pressure on companies" to contribute to the Trust Fund. In
the alternative they could buy items on a "wish list" and/or
make in-kind contributions to the management and
administration of the Force.

9. (SBU) Sanwo-Olu said it is the government's
responsibility to prioritize solutions to the Lagos
megacity's problems of security, waste, crime, pollution,
traffic, etc., in order to attract investment. Crime in
Lagos is poverty driven, he asserted, as the city was planned
for 5 million people but is now home to approximately 18
million, and does not generate sufficient job opportunities
to employ them all. (Note: The 2006 national census
announced Lagos's population to be 9 million people; many
Lagosians estimate the city's population to be between 16-18
million. (Reftel) End Note.)

------------------------------------------
State Politics: Civil Servants & Judiciary
------------------------------------------

10. (SBU) Reorganization of the civil service, which employs
130,000 people, is a huge challenge, explained Sanwo-Olu.
The state government is now using software and consulting
services provided by Oracle to facilitate the state's
restructuring. The systems Oracle put in place help
government identify ghost workers and to eliminate them by
directly depositing salary payments into the bank accounts of
legitimate workers. Improvements to justice administration,
such as upgrading buildings and "remunerating judges well,"
have been made to prevent corruption, Sanwo-Olu said.

11. (SBU) Over eight million land reform dispute and title
transfer documents have been put online, according to
Bamidele. He believes this will effect positive change by
improving the efficiency of mortgage payments and personal
transactions.

12. (U) Theodore Craig did not clear this cable before
departing post.
HUTCHINSON

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