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Cablegate: Nigeria: Ambassador Travels to Kebbi State for Ofr

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ABUJA 001446

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MASS MARR PREL NI ECOWAS
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: AMBASSADOR TRAVELS TO KEBBI STATE FOR OFR
SUPPORT


1. (U) Summary: Ambassador Jeter met June 19 with Governor
Mohammed Aleiro and the Emir of Gwandu, the second-ranking
Northern traditional ruler, in the first trip to Kebbi State
by an American Ambassador. Governor Aliero said he was
pleased that Kebbi State had been chosen as a training site
for OFR III. He noted that President Obasanjo addressed the
issue of USG troop training during the last Council of State
meeting in Abuja, asking the Governors to use their state
officials and traditional rulers to explain the training and
reduce the prospect of erroneous reports. The Emir pledged
support for OFR. End Summary.


2. (U) Ambassador Jeter met June 19 with Governor Mohammed
Aleiro and the Emir of Gwandu, Ajhaji Mustapha Jokolo,
formally the second-ranking Northern traditional ruler, in
the first trip to Kebbi State by an American Ambassador.
Accompanied by the DATT, USAID Director, Poloff, and a Public
Affairs FSN, the Ambassador described to the Emir the
training that would take place in Kebbi State under OFR III.
As a former army Captain who trained in the U.S. and who was
Aide-de-Camp to military ruler General Buhari, the Emir was
very supportive of the USG,s efforts to train and equip
Nigerian soldiers to enforce the peace in Sierra Leone. He
pledged to communicate to his subjects both the nature and
the importance of the OFR training.


3. (U) In a separate meeting, after welcoming the
Ambassador,s delegation, Governor Aliero also pledged his
personal support for the OFR III training in his state. He
noted that President Obasanjo addressed the issue of USG
troop training during the last Council of State meeting in
Abuja, asking the Governors to use their state officials and
traditional rulers to explain the training and reduce the
prospect of erroneous reports. Governor Aliero said his
Administration would work to ensure a warm welcome.


4. (U) The Governor also described economic conditions in
ten-year-old Kebbi State, which resemble those of other
Sahelian areas. The economy, he said, consisted almost
entirely of small-scale subsistance farming, which during a
three-month rainy season, produced primarily millet, cassava
and some rice in the wetlands along the Niger river. Aliero
emphasized the importance of education to economic
development and democratic consolidation. His progress on
education, he said, included spending 40 percent of his
annual budget on education, hiring 1400 new teachers for
schools, and increasing teacher salaries by 30 percent.
(Note: Adult literacy among the agricultural states in the
North runs between thirty to forty percent, divided between
English, Hausa and Arabic. End Note.) The Governor asked
for USG help in developing the solid mineral resources in
Kebbi State and the North, claiming that Nigeria,s solid
mineral reserves could prove to be competitive with those of
South Africa,s.


5. (SBU) Comment. The Kebbi State elected and traditional
leadership appears fully supportive of the OFR III training,
and we expect a trouble-free relationship with local
officials. End comment.


Jeter

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