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Cablegate: Nigeria: Militants Tell Their Stories At

VZCZCXRO2692
OO RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHOS #0305/01 2171201
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 041201Z AUG 08
FM AMCONSUL LAGOS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0086
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHYD/AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE 0165
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
RHEDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEWMFD/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LAGOS 000305

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - HANDLE ACCORDINGLY
SIPDIS

DOE FOR GPERSON,CHAYLOCK
TREASURY FOR DFIELDS, AIERONIMO, RHALL
DOC FOR 3317/ITA/OA/KBURRESS
STATE PASS USTR FOR USTR AGAMA
STATE PASS USAID FOR GWEYNAND AND SLAWAETZ

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: MILITANTS TELL THEIR STORIES AT
NON-VIOLENCE TRAINING GRADUATION

REF: A) SEPTEL B) LAGOS 244

Sensitive But Unclassified; Handle Accordingly

1. (SBU) Summary: Over 100 formerly militant Niger Delta
youths graduated from nonviolence training sponsored by the
Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) through the
Foundation for Ethnic Harmony (FEHN) with trainers from the
University of Rhode Island's Center for the Study of Peace
and Nonviolence on July 12. NDDC Managing Director Timi
Alaibe Director told the youths he would turn the potential
they showed through their militant ventures toward productive
pursuits through skills training to follow the second phase
of nonviolence training in South Africa. Whether Alaibe's
training plans are as solid as he made them sound remains to
be seen. End Summary

2. (SBU) Pol-Econ Chief attended the graduation ceremony for
the final class of over 100 former militants from the Niger
Delta Development Commission (NDDC)-sponsored training in
nonviolence principles and practices conducted by the
Foundation for Ethnic Harmony (FEHN) with trainers from the
University of Rhode Island's Center for the Study of Peace
and Nonviolence. Graduates spoke positively about the impact
the five day training had had on their lives.

NDDC Promises Training, Jobs
----------------------------

3. (SBU) Timi Alaibe, Managing Director of NDDC, told the
group he knows how much potential they have because some of
them had "left Bayelsa at midnight and gone 75 kilometers out
into the sea through dangerous reefs with no compass" to
Bonga. Others he said had "left Port Harcourt and spent
three hours on the sea to travel to Bakassi, with 6 drums of
fuel in your boats." This natural seafaring talent and raw
strength is what he wants to turn into positive skills and
opportunities, Alaibe said. He told the women he understood
how crucial their roles had been in militant activity;
sleeping with those targeted for kidnapping, obtaining and
passing information; they too need to learn new talents to
put to productive use.

4. (SBU) Following the second phase of nonviolence training,
to take place in South Africa, Alaibe has arranged to have
some of the youths train in Norway in seafaring techniques.
This will give them the skills with which to take up the
positions as pilots that are mandated to go to Nigerians
under Nigeria's cabotage law. He has also arranged for some
youths to receive training as crane operators, divers,
undersea welders, and in other marketable skills. While some
of these skills are connected to the oil industry, he will
also provide skills training for them in agriculture, in
aquaculture, in raising of grasscutters (Note: An edible
rodent. End note) and snails.

5. (SBU) Alaibe told the youths that they do not need a grant
of amnesty from the Federal Government; they have amnesty by
reason of having taken the training and giving up violence.
Alaibe thanked Dr. Bernard LaFayette of the University of
Rhode Island's Center for Peace and Nonviolence Studies, who,
Alaibe said, was "subsidizing" the current NDDC-funded
training for 600 students. He said he wants to train another
5,000 youths, and called on the trainers to take the
trainings into the camps themselves so that more youths could
be reached by the program.

6. (SBU) Following the speech, Alaibe told Pol-Econ Chief he
believes that the transformation that these youths undergo
through training in nonviolence is essential to their success
in subsequent endeavors. In the past, youths who have not had
this training were uncontrollable. When their payday fell on
a Saturday, they were not willing to wait until Monday to get
their salaries; instead they tore up the office, breaking
furniture and windows, Alaibe said. He introduced two youths

LAGOS 00000305 002 OF 002


who had gone through the earliest trainings in 2006 who are
now working for NDDC, as well as one who is now working for
the Delta State government, he said.

7. (SBU) Comment: These youths, many of whom came straight
from militant camps only five days before, were unassuming,
polite and deferential, especially to the NDDC Director who
received bows and a standing ovation at the close of his
speech. Whether the plans for skills training Alaibe
described are as solid as he made them sound remains to be
seen.

This cable has been cleared by Embassy Abuja.


BLAIR

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