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Cablegate: The Offer That Wasn't: Nigerian Helicopters For

VZCZCXRO4400
PP RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHUJA #0260 0420653
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 110653Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2051
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 0084
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 8719
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0350
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

C O N F I D E N T I A L ABUJA 000260

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/25/2018
TAGS: PGOV MASS PM PREL NI
SUBJECT: THE OFFER THAT WASN'T: NIGERIAN HELICOPTERS FOR
DARFUR

REF: USUN NY 0076

Classified By: Political Counselor Walter Pflaumer for reasons 1.4. (b
& d).

1. (C) SUMMARY: Per reftel, Nigerian military advisor to the
United Nations Brigadier General Benjamin T. Obasa indicated
that the Government of Nigeria was considering providing all
required helicopter assets for UNAMID. Post's subsequent
approaches to the GON on the matter elicited blank stares,
and it appears that Obasa was never authorized to make the
offer in the first place. END SUMMARY.

2. (C) Reftel reports General Obasa's offer of twelve
much-needed attack and transport helicopters to be put at the
disposal of the UNAMID deployment. Post's follow-up with GON
officials, however, indicates that Obasa's offer is unknown
within Defense Headquarters, and that he was not authorized
to make it. Furthermore, Post believes that, due to
operational needs in the Niger Delta and poor maintenance,
Nigeria's helicopter fleet likely does not even include
twelve aircraft that could be detached for UNAMID.

3. (C//NF) COMMENT: We believe that Obasa has spent years
outside of Nigeria on various staff and training assignments.
His last assignment was as Foreign Liaison for Defense
Intelligence, and we doubt that he is now in any type of
position that would allow him access to current information
on the state of Nigeria's helicopter fleet. In any event,
the offer does not appear to be bonafide. The February 7
edition of the popular daily newspaper "Punch" quotes Defense
Minister Ahmed as citing UNAMID's need for combat helicopter
support, and lamenting the UN's inability to provide them --
but he makes no mention of Nigeria's ability and willingness
to meet such a need. Uncoordinated, undisciplined statements
from GON military officials are not at all unusual, and are
just one of the challenges of Nigeria's complex
political/military environments. END COMMENT.
SANDERS

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