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Cablegate: Nigeria: Narcotics Certification Discussions

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

UNCLAS ABUJA 003270

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE


FOR INL A/S BEERS AND AF A/S KANSTEINER


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: NARCOTICS CERTIFICATION DISCUSSIONS


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - PROTECT ACCORDINGLY.


1.(SBU) I understand that A/S Beers chaired a December 13
interagency meeting on the potential application of a new
narcotics certification standard for those countries on the
"majors" list, which includes Nigeria. From what we have
heard, Nigeria was given the dubious distinction of joining
Burma, Afghanistan and Haiti as those that might meet the new
(lower) standard for decertification. While I understand
that this was a preliminary, informal meeting, the new
standard is now law (with the December 20th passing of the
Foreign Operations Bill) and I am concerned about the
predilection of some to condemn Nigeria, even after an
unusually successful year of improvements on the law
enforcement front. Let us not forget that a little over two
years ago we did not even have a dialogue with the NDLEA on
counter-narcotics issues.


2.(SBU) In the last 12 months, the GON has:


--increased funding for the NDLEA by 200 percent;


--introduced new money-laundering legislation and drafted
additional legislative proposals to centralize and coordinate
efforts to fight terrorism financing and financial crimes in
line with the FATF;


--increased drug seizures by almost 80 percent over 2000;


--started the investigation of a major Nigeria-based
trafficker in cooperation with DEA;


--effectively prevented drug trafficking on direct flights
from Nigeria to the U.S., which resumed in Frebuary (while we
note far greater U.S. Customs seizures of drugs from flights
originating in Ghana);


--granted NDLEA access to Nigeria's sea ports - a
long-standing USG demand;


--opened the NDLEA Training Academy in Jos, which will yield
a higher degree of professionalism within the Agency (the
first class of 248 cadets graduated December 20);


--opened a high-level law enforcement dialogue with the USG,
covering the complete gambit of law enforcement issues (eight
categories); and


--engaged the Financial Action Task Force in an effort to
address the FATF's and USG's concerns on money laundering
(this includes taking the initiative of sending an Attorney
General-led delegation to Rome in early December to meet with
the FATF's Africa and Middle East Review Group).


3.(SBU) Underscoring the vastly improved GON performance on
drug control this year was a report I recently received form
the DEA Attache in Lagos: on December 13 the NDLEA unit at
Murtala Mohammed International Airport made a 3.8 kilogram
seizure of cocaine hidden in the false bottom of a suitcase
belonging to a Rome-bound (via London on British Airways)
passenger. The seizure marks the first made using one of the
INL-donated Itemisers. Things have changed for the better.
Nigeria deserves our congratulations and certification, not
our condemnation and association with Burma and Afghanistan.
Andrews

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