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Cablegate: Nigeria: 2001 Annual Terrorism Report

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 003232

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: 2001 ANNUAL TERRORISM REPORT

REF: STATE 198912


Classified by Ambassador Howard F. Jeter. Reasons 1.5 (b) and
(d).


1. (U) Post provides the following input for the 2001
Annual Terrorism Report. The information is keyed to the
questions asked in reftel:


A. (U) Civilian rule returned to Nigeria with the
inauguration of Olusegun Obasanjo as President in May 1999.
Since his inauguration, President Obasanjo has pursued an
active international agenda commensurate with Nigeria's
estimation of its role as a leader in both continental and
world affairs. As such, Nigeria has established a balanced
foreign policy that coincides with USG interests in many
important aspects.


(U) Nowhere has the convergence of interests been more
visible than with regard to terrorism. President Obasanjo's
government was among the first to send condolences after the
September 11 attacks. More importantly, Nigeria has
steadfastly and publicly lent its diplomatic support to
Coalition efforts against the Taliban and Al Queda despite
the domestic political ramifications of being home to
Africa's largest Muslim population. The GON has expressed
support for UN Resolutions 1267, 1333 and 1368 and has
initiated legislative and regulatory steps to shore up its
anti-money laundering regime in order to fight terrorism. The
New Economic Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), a
new organization founded by Obasanjo and other African Heads
of State, has condemned terrorism and called for concrete
measures to be taken by African nations to combat the
scourge. Nigeria is signatory to three UN counter-terrorism
conventions and is reviewing other UN conventions with the
view of acceding to these instruments.


(U) Nigeria also has taken on a leading role in making
counter- terrorism an important issue in West Africa, the
sub-region where Nigeria's diplomatic and political influence
is most pronounced. President Obasanjo participated actively
in the Conference on Terrorism hosted by Senegalese President
Wade in Dakar this October. Nigeria has also been
instrumental in placing terrorism high on the agenda of the
December 2001 ECOWAS Heads of State Summit in Dakar.


B. (U) There were no cases of thwarted terrorist attempts
or of the dissolution of terrorist cells during the year.


C. (U) Judiciary: There have been no known acts of
terrorism nor criminal prosecutions of terrorists during the
year. While current criminal law does not contain many
specific anti- terrorism provisions, the penal code does
proscribe acts of violence, which includes terrorism. Because
President Obasanjo has given terrorism a high priority, the
GON is moving quickly to draft improved terrorism
legislation. Likewise, the judiciary probably would
prosecute diligently any cases of terrorism and would
cooperate with the USG in prosecution despite some of the
institutional shortcomings of the judiciary, i.e.
understaffing, corruption, lack of equipment, large caseloads
and inadequate pay.


D. (U) Extradition: The GON did not extradite any suspected
terrorists or request extradition of any terrorists during
the year.


E. (U) Possible Impediments to Prosecution/ Extradition:
There are no known legal impediments to prosecution or
extradition of suspected terrorists. However, members of
both the police force and the judiciary have been susceptible
to corruption in the past. Given the high-level GON focus on
counter-terrorism, it would be difficult for corrupt
practices to impede the prosecution or extradition of any
high visibility cases.


F. (U) Other Responses: The GON has drafted legislation, the
Anti-Terrorism, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act,
containing explicit criminal sanctions against both terrorism
and its financing. Not only does the Act expressly prohibit
terrorism, it establishes an inter-agency commission with the
mandate to coordinate GON anti-terrorist activities. In view
of Nigeria's importance as an oil exporter (Nigeria accounts
for ten percent of U.S. imports), the establishment of the
Niger Delta Security Commission (NDSC) protects important
American and other foreign economic interests in Nigeria.
The NDSC's mission is to enhance the security of oil
installations against possible terrorist attacks.


(U) The GON, through the Nigerian Central Bank, has made
efforts to identify any terrorist financial assets in
Nigeria. Thus far, none has been identified. Toward the
later part of the year, Nigeria also began to work with the
Financial Action Task Force to strengthen its overall
anti-money laundering regime.


G. (U) International Fora: The GON gave clear diplomatic
support in the UN and within ECOWAS to the counter-terrorism.
President Obasanjo lent his support and prestige to President
Wade's October Conference on Terrorism. Obasanjo also worked
to include anti-terrorism as a major aspect of the New
Economic Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), the new
institution which merges the pan-African development plans of
Presidents Wade and Mbeki.


H. (U) The GON does not support international terrorism or
terrorists. The GON clearly and repeatedly has condemned
terrorism, followed up by concrete actions. However, some
individuals in Nigeria and private groups here have ties to
and perhaps receive funding from sources in Sudan, Iran,
Pakistan and Libya. It is possible that some of these
individuals or groups may have indirect links with extremist
or terrorist organizations.
There has been one unconfirmed press report of a Nigerian
national fighting for the
Taliban/Al Queda in Afghanistan. The GON does not condone any
such ties to terrorist groups.


(C) One of the September 11 terrorist hijacker's passport
contained a Nigerian visa and entry and exit stamps. The
Nigerian security services have informed us privately that
the passport entries were forgeries probably obtained from a
Nigerian criminal organization based outside the country.


I. (U) Public Statements: The GON has made no public
statements supporting terrorism or any terrorist group. All
GON statements have been against terrorism and supportive of
the Coalition against the Taliban and Al Queda. Following a
November 2 meeting in Washington with President Bush,
President Obasanjo told a press conference that Nigeria
considered itself a member of the anti-terrorism Coalition.


J. (U) Change In Posture: As a result of September 11, the
GON has been more vocal in its opposition to terrorism.


K. (U) Bilateral Cooperation: The Central Bank of Nigeria
(CBN) responded quickly to USG requests to identify and
freeze terrorist assets if found in Nigeria. The CBN issued
a Call Circular requiring all banks to identify any terrorist
entities listed in Executive Order 13224. The CBN has
amended the list several times to reflect USG additions.
Although no assets have been found to date, the CBN requires
the banks to continuously monitor accounts. The CBN also has
implemented stricter customer identification procedures that
require banks to maintain sufficient information about
customers and correspondent financial institutions.


(U) By establishing the NDSC, mandated to protect oil
installations from terrorist activity the GON is protecting
U.S. economic and commercial interests. Additionally, the
Nigerian Police and other security forces continue to
cooperate to the fullest extent, given the restraints on
their capabilities, in the area of combating terrorism and in
protecting American citizen residents and USG personnel and
installations.


L. (U) The U.S. Government has not sought the cooperation of
the GON in the investigation or prosecution of an act of
international terrorism in the past five years.


M. (U) Prevention of Terrorism: As stated in section K
above, GON security agencies have given their full
cooperation in protecting U.S. citizens and interests from
possible acts of terrorism. For example, the GON has
provided enhanced and ongoing security for the Embassy and
its related agencies. Also, the GON has given high priority
to information sharing for security purposes.
Jeter

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