Cablegate: Nigeria: 2007-2008 International Narcotics Control Strategy


DE RUEHUJA #0233/01 0361410
O 051410Z FEB 08





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: 07 STATE 136787
1. Summary
Nigeria remains a hub of narcotics trafficking and money laundering
activity and is still ranked as one of the world's most corrupt
countries. Nigerian criminal organizations dominate the African
drug trade and transport narcotics to markets in the United States,
Europe, Asia, and other parts of Africa. Some of these organizations
are also engaged in advance-fee fraud, commonly referred to in
Nigeria as "419 Fraud" after a formerly relevant section of the
Criminal Code of Nigeria, and other forms of fraud against U.S.
citizens and businesses as well as citizens and businesses of other
Countries. Serious under/unemployment has been a major problem for
Nigeria in civilian governments and military governments alike.
Abysmal economic conditions for the vast majority of Nigerians
contribute significantly to the continuation and expansion of drug
trafficking, widespread corruption and other criminal acts. These
factors, combined with Nigeria's central location along the major
trafficking routes and access to global narcotics markets have
provided both an incentive and mechanism for criminal groups to
2. Heroin from Southeast and Southwest Asia, smuggled via Nigeria,
accounts for a significant portion of the heroin reaching the United
States. Nigerian criminal elements, operating in South America,
transship cocaine through Nigeria to Europe, Asia, and Africa.
South Africa is a major destination for Nigerian-trafficked cocaine
within Africa. Nigerian-grown marijuana is exported to neighboring
West African countries and to Europe, but not in significant
quantities to the United States. Aside from marijuana, Nigeria does
not produce any of the drugs that its nationals traffic. Nigeria is
a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. End Summary.

3. II. Status of Country
Nigeria does not produce precursor chemicals or drugs that have a
significant effect on the United States, but it is fully entrenched
as a major drug-transit country. In addition, Nigerian criminal
elements operate global trafficking/criminal networks, moving
cocaine and heroin to major developed country markets.
4. Nigerian drug organizations are heavily involved in corollary
criminal activities to their prime illicit "business" of drugs.
These include document fabrication, illegal immigration, and
financial fraud. Their ties to criminals in the United States,
Europe, South America, Asia, and South Africa are well documented.
Nigerian poly-crime organizations exact significant financial and
societal costs, especially among West African states with limited
resources for countering these organizations.
5. The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) is the law
enforcement agency with sole responsibility for combating narcotics
trafficking and drug abuse in Nigeria. In 2007, the NDLEA enjoyed
success in securing more resources from the Nigerian national budget
but is still underfunded. The Agency received a total sum of
N26.824M (ca. $220,000 for administrative expenses and N357M (ca. $3
million) for salaries and benefits. No funds were released for
capital projects.
6. All law enforcement agencies suffered a loss of focus while the
country concentrated on local, state and national elections in April
2007. Cooperation between Nigeria's law enforcement agencies still
leaves much to be desired. Although all law enforcement elements
are represented at Nigeria's international airports and at its sea
ports, joint operations between them are virtually non-existent. A
missing ingredient partially explaining the dearth of apprehensions
of major traffickers or the absence of consistent interdiction of
major shipments of contraband is interagency cooperation. No single
law enforcement agency in Nigeria has adequate resources to combat
the increasingly sophisticated international criminal networks that
operate in and through the country itself; inter-agency cooperation
is necessary for success.

7. III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2007
Policy Initiatives. Nigeria's counter narcotics policy is based on
the National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP), which has been in
place since 1998. This plan assigns responsibilities to various
government ministries and agencies as well as NGOs and other
interest groups. In addition, the Master Plan outlines basic
resource requirements and timeframes for the completion of
objectives. Many of these goals are still unfulfilled.
8. NDLEA has 46 field operational commands, seven (7) established
Directorates and nine (9) autonomous Units and offices that work
together to carry out the drug control mandate of the Agency.
Additionally, the recent computerization of the Agency's
administrative and accounting statistics ensures greater efficiency
and transparency than in the past.
9. Law Enforcement Efforts. Established in 1989, the NDLEA works
alongside Customs, the State Security Service, the National Agency
for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Nigerian

Police Force (NPF), and the Nigerian Immigration Service at various
ports of entry and throughout the country. The NDLEA's most
successful interdictions have taken place at Nigeria's international
airports, with the majority of hard drug seizures (e.g. cocaine and
heroin) at Lagos' Murtala Mohammed International Airport.
Increasing numbers of drug couriers are being apprehended at Abuja
International Airport. The agency has successfully apprehended
individual drug couriers transiting these airports, but only a few
of the major drug traffickers sponsoring these couriers. Efforts
similar to the vigorous inspections conducted at Lagos and Abuja
international airports are also needed at Nigeria's five major
seaports as smugglers change their tactics to avoid detection.
NDLEA also emphasizes a public campaign focused on destroying the
annual marijuana crop throughout the country.
10. Between January and September 2007, Nigerian law enforcement
apprehended 3440 narcotics law violator suspects and seized a total
of 46,487 kg of various types of illicit drugs summarized thus:
Cannabis - 45,937 kg; Cocaine - 259.2 kg; Heroin - 85.9 kg; and
Psychotropic substances - 204.5 kg. Indeed, a single seizure of
62.4 kg of heroin at Kano Airport sent from Pakistan in April 2007
is a strong indication that heroin still remains a serious threat to
the country. More vigilance is required not only to prevent the
importation of cocaine through the borders but also to prevent the
importation of heroin through the airports.
11. Attempts by the NDLEA to arrest and prosecute major traffickers
and their associates often fail in Nigeria's courts, which are
subject to intimidation and corruption. Asset seizures from
narcotics traffickers and money launderers, while permitted under
Nigerian law, have never been systematically utilized as an
enforcement tool, but some convicted traffickers have had their
assets forfeited over the years. The number of major traffickers
penalized remains small. NDLEA has requested that the National
Assembly amend the narcotics law to provide a more strict and
effective punishment for major traffickers with the minimum sentence
being a 5 year jail term and no option of a fine, plus provision for
the seizure of a foreign offender's passport.
12. Drug-related prosecutions have continued at a steady pace.
Special drug courts and a more energetic approach by the NDLEA to
prosecute drug traffickers efficiently and successfully have been
put in place.
13. The NDLEA has assumed a leadership role in drug enforcement in
the region. With DEA assistance, the NDLEA created the West African
Joint Operation (WAJO) initiative, bringing together drug
enforcement personnel from 15 countries in the region to improve
regional cooperation. DEA-assisted WAJO planning conferences have
continued to be held successfully. The NDLEA continues expanded
counter narcotics cooperation with the police in South Africa, where
Nigerian criminal organizations are believed to be responsible for
the bulk of drug trafficking.
14. Corruption. Corruption has for many years permeated Nigerian
society and continues to be a systemic problem in Nigeria's
government. Unemployment is very high and civil servants' salaries
are low. In addition, actual payment of salaries is frequently
months in arrears, compounding the corruption problem. To combat
corruption, the Nigerian Government established the Independent
Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC)
through the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act of
2000. The Act prohibits corrupt practices and other related
offences, and also provides for punishment for those offenses.
Recent high profile investigations and arrests have resulted in
cabinet level officials being charged, dismissed from their post and
incarcerated while awaiting hearings on corruption charges. None of
these actions were for drug-related offenses. USG technical
assistance, funded through State/INL and implemented by the U.S.
Department of Justice, has continued providing the ICPC with
additional training and technical assistance, including a Resident
Legal Advisor (RLA) to improve enforcement against corruption.
Neither Nigerian policy nor any senior government officials are
known to encourage or facilitate the illicit production or
distribution of illegal substances or the laundering of proceeds
from illegal drug transactions.
15. Agreements and Treaties. Nigeria is a party to the 1988 UN Drug
Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as
amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on
Psychotropic Substances. Nigeria has signed the UN Convention
against Transnational Organized Crime, the Protocol against
Trafficking in Persons, the Protocol against Smuggling of Migrants,
and the Protocol against Trafficking in Illegal Firearms. The 1931
U.S. - UK Extradition Treaty, which was made applicable to Nigeria
in 1935, is the legal basis for U.S. extradition requests. The
United States and Nigeria also have a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty
(MLAT), which entered into force on January 14, 2003.
16. The Government of Nigeria continues to work on a mechanism to
process U.S. extradition requests expeditiously while observing due

process under Nigerian law. Currently, a dedicated prosecutorial
team handles all U.S. extradition cases before a specifically
designated High Court judge. Nigerian law still affords the
defendant many options to delay/confuse proceedings, especially
interlocutory objection proceedings which allow defendants to raise
objections which are litigated first before the main case can
proceed. There is one case pending extradition since 2004.
17. Cultivation/Production. Cannabis is the only illicit drug
produced in any large quantities in Nigeria, and it is cultivated in
all 36 states. Major cultivation takes place in central and northern
Nigeria and in Delta and Ondo states in the south. Marijuana, or
"Indian Hemp" as it is known locally, is sold in Nigeria and
exported throughout West Africa and into Europe. To date, there is
no evidence of significant marijuana imports from Nigeria into the
United States. The NDLEA has continued to pursue an aggressive
eradication campaign.
18. Drug Flow/Transit. Nigeria is a major staging point for
Southeast and Southwest Asian heroin smuggled to Europe and the
United States and for South American cocaine trafficked to Europe.
While Nigeria remains Africa's drug transit hub, there are
indications that the preferred methods of trans-shipment have
changed. The NDLEA unit at Lagos' Murtala Mohammed International
Airport conducts 100 percent searches of passengers and carry-on
baggage. This is extremely significant given the addition of DELTA
Airlines direct flights to the U.S. from Lagos that started in
December 2007. The enhanced security posture at this airport has
prompted some drug traffickers to use Nigerian seaports, concealing
large quantities of contraband in shipping containers. They also
seemed to have moved to other West African airports and seaports
with less stringent security controls.
19. Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Local production and use of
marijuana have been a problem in Nigeria for some time; however,
according to the NDLEA and NGOs, the abuse of harder drugs (e.g.,
cocaine, heroin) seems to be on the rise. Heroin and cocaine are
readily available in many of Nigeria's larger cities. (Note: Since
there is no formal tracking system or statistical evidence
available, the actual extent of domestic drug abuse in Nigeria is
unclear.) The NDLEA continues to expand its counter narcotics clubs
at Nigerian universities and distribute counter-narcotics
literature. The NDLEA also has instituted a teacher's manual for
primary and secondary schools, which offers guidance on teaching
students about drug abuse. NDLEA sponsored a nationwide contest
between primary and secondary schools with public presentations held
at the "UN Day against Drugs" ceremony in 2007. Sophisticated drug
treatment is only available from a few private clinics in Nigeria's
major cities.

20. IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. U.S.-Nigerian counter narcotics cooperation
focuses on interdiction efforts at major international entry points
and on enhancing the professionalism of the NDLEA and other law
enforcement agencies. The DEA country office in Nigeria works with
the NDLEA Joint Task Force and other operations personnel to help
train, coordinate, plan and implement internal and regional
interdiction operations. At all levels, USG representatives enjoy
excellent access to their counterparts and there is an evident
desire on both sides to strengthen these relationships. One option
for a high-level law enforcement dialogue which is being explored is
a renewal of the U.S.-Nigeria Law Enforcement Working Group which
used to meet annually, with each nation alternating as host in its
capital. The last meeting of the Group was in 2004.
21. The Road Ahead. Federal funding for Nigerian law enforcement
agencies and key anti-crime agencies remains insufficient and
erratic in disbursement. This affects the planning and consistency
of actions on the part of these agencies, giving the impression of
lack of commitment and ineffectiveness. Unless the Nigerian
Government remedies this situation, very little progress will be
made and none sustained. It will require strong and sustained
political will and continued international assistance for any
Nigerian government to confront these difficult issues and bring
about meaningful change.
22. The U.S. Government has expanded aid to Nigeria's counter
narcotics efforts; anti-drug assistance provided since February 2001
now totals over $3 million. Although Nigeria does not produce
reliable crime statistics, opinions vary on whether public security
deteriorated throughout the country in 2007. The police remain
grossly mistrusted by the Nigerian population and organized crime
groups continue to exploit that mistrust by preying on citizens
throughout the country.
23. Nigerian police are poorly trained. NDLEA has mandated that all
its officers and operatives undergo re-training at the basic level
and mid-level before qualifying for promotion under the new
promotion scheme.
24. The U.S. Government will continue to engage Nigeria on the

issues of counter narcotics, money laundering and other
international crimes. The underlying institutional and societal
factors that contribute to narcotics-trafficking, money-laundering
and other criminal activities in Nigeria are deep-seated and require
a comprehensive and collaborative effort at all levels of law
enforcement and government. Progress can only be made through
Nigeria's own sustained effort and political will, and the continued
support of the international community.

© Scoop Media

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