Search

 

Cablegate: Nigeria: Edo Nddc Projects Appear to Benefit

VZCZCXRO0044
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHOS #0118/01 0921244
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 011244Z APR 08
FM AMCONSUL LAGOS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9835
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 9556
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 0190
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 000118

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - HANDLE ACCORDINGLY
SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/W, INR/AA, DS/DSS/OSAC, OES
OSLO FOR HELENA SCHRADER
DOE FOR GPERSON
TREASURY FOR ASEVERENS, SRENENDER, DFIELDS
COMMERCE FOR KBURRESS
STATE PASS USTR FOR FLISER, AGAMA
STATE PASS USAID FOR GWEYNAND AND SLAWAETZ

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC SENV NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: EDO NDDC PROJECTS APPEAR TO BENEFIT
COMMUNITY; NATIONAL PARK OFFERS ECOTOURISM


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED; HANDLE ACCORDINGLY

1. (SBU) Summary: The Edo State Commissioner for the Niger
Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on March 12 showed
visiting Nigeria desk officer Andrew Silski four projects
around Benin City, including school blocks, road
construction, and a solar powered water project. Emboffs
were unable to determine the cost of these and other projects
or whether these costs are in any way commensurate with the
approximately USD 4 million budget Edo State NDDC receives
monthly. Deskoff also visited the Okomu National Park in Edo
State, which appears to be successfully protecting wildlife
and old growth forest; it remains to be seen whether the park
will generate employment opportunities for the surrounding
communities. End Summary.

--------------------------------------------- ------
Edo NDDC Funds Roads, Schools, Solar Water Projects
--------------------------------------------- ------

2. (U) On March 12, Matthew Iduoriyekemwen, Niger Delta
Development Commission (NDDC) representative for Edo State,
gave Nigeria Deskoff and Emboffs a tour of a few of the
Commission's projects in and around Benin City, Edo State.
Commissioner Iduoriyekemwen explained that Edo is often the
smallest oil producer of the nine NDDC states and in 2007 the
Edo NDDC office received between USD 3.8 and 4.2 million per
month from the Federal Government. (Note: The reduction in
revenue is likely due in part to militant attacks on
pipelines in Delta State that cut off Edo's oilfields and to
territorial disputes over production sites near Delta State.
End Note.) Therefore, Iduoriyekemwen said, the NDDC
typically funds projects under USD 17 million in areas where
population needs are great, such as the capitol (Benin City)
and where communities lobby for particular projects. Deskoff
saw two road construction projects, six new school blocks,
and a soon to be finished 20,000 gallon solar powered water
project in a rural area.

3. (SBU) Discussing government's relationship with the NDDC,
Iduoriyekemwen said Edo State Governor Oserheimen Osunbor
works with the NDDC to avoid duplicating projects. The
Federal Government does not make its required contribution to
the NDDC on a timely basis, Iduoriyekemwen said, but the
international oil companies can be relied upon to pay their
shares on time. Emboffs noted that the main street in Benin
City was in need of repair; Iduoriyekemwen said it was a
federal road and therefore outside the NDDC's purview.

4. (SBU) Describing project proposal solicitation,
Iduoriyekemwen said small projects are publicly advertised at
the NDDC office in Benin City while large projects are
published in nationwide media sources. Interested
contractors reportedly undergo a prequalification assessment
to determine their competence. The NDDC then considers the
most realistic bids, which are not always the cheapest, he
noted, and in-house engineers offer their analysis and
recommend which bid to award.

--------------------------------------------- -----
Ecotourism Opportunities at Nigerian National Park
--------------------------------------------- -----

5. (U) Deskoff toured the Okomu National Park and Ecoresort
in Edo State on March 13. Okomu, located on the border of
Nigeria's south-south and south-west regions (between Edo and
Ondo states), is home to one of Nigeria's two rainforests and
boasts a diverse range of wildlife. In addition to the
rarely seen monkeys, chimpanzees, forest elephants and forest
buffalo, the park is reportedly home to over 200 species of
birds and over 700 species of butterflies. Deskoff saw
numerous butterflies and birds during this excursion, as well
as recent evidence suggesting elephants were in the vicinity.

LAGOS 00000118 002 OF 002


6. (U) The Park also offers an Ecoresort which is capable of
lodging 24 visitors (12 rooms offering two twin beds) in the
heart of the forest. The facilities appeared new and in
excellent physical condition. According to the tour guide,
over 20 guests each month visit Okomu.

7. (U) Yakubu Kolo, Director of the Park, told Deskoff that
his office meets nearby communities on a weekly basis to
discuss the importance of the park and its biodiversity of
flora and fauna. Kolo said community members help park
rangers monitor the park's perimeters for poachers and
illegal loggers. Illegal logging is reportedly a great
threat to the park's old growth trees, some of which reach a
circumference of over 20 feet.

8. (SBU) Comment: The road and school projects we saw in Edo
state appeared to be well-used and in strategic locations
(there were hundreds of children at the school and much
traffic on the completed roads). The rural water project was
located near a village but in an area which seemed to be
slated for upscale housing. While Emboffs were happy to have
the chance to view these apparently successful projects, we
had no way to gauge the cost of these and other NDDC
projects, nor to determine whether those costs are in any way
commensurate with the approximately USD 4 million budget Edo
NDDC receives monthly. Nor could we assess whether other
criticisms levied at the NDDC, such as lack of transparency
in its procurement processes, were valid.

9. (SBU) The Okomu National Park is clearly one of Nigeria's
ecological gems offering at least temporary protection for
species threatened by the poverty of the human inhabitants of
the surrounding area. Emboffs were unable to observe whether
the park will offer employment or other development
opportunities to the surrounding community. End Comment.

10. (U) This cable was cleared by Deskoff and Embassy Abuja.
BLAIR

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC