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Cablegate: Nigeria: New Attorney General Sworn In

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

UNCLAS ABUJA 000729

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE


DEPT FOR AF AND INL
NSC FOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV CJAN KCRM SNAR NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: NEW ATTORNEY GENERAL SWORN IN


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED -- Protect Accordingly.


1.(U) On the morning of March 6 President Obasanjo swore in
Kanu Godwin Agabi as Nigeria's new Attorney General and
Minister of Justice. He takes over the Ministry of Justice
after the December 24 assassination of Chief Bola Ige.


2.(U) Agabi was AG from June 1999 till June 2000, when he was
transferred to the Solid Minerals Ministry, a job he held
until now. Like the late Bola Ige, Agabi is a Senior
Advocate of Nigerian (SAN). Unlike Ige, Agabi is a member of
the President's political party, the PDP, and he is a devout
Roman Catholic, frequently leading prayers during the weekly
Executive Council meetings. He was born and has spent most
of his career in or representing the south-south state of
Cross River. He has served as a federal Senator, a state
(Cross River) Commissioner of Finance, and was appointed as a
prosecutor on the Failed Banks and Financial Malpractices
Tribunal during the Abacha years.


3.(SBU) Comment: The appointment of Agabi was rumored in the
press and among the chatterati of Abuja but only within the
last week. He does not seem to have left a strong impact
during his last stint as AG, leading us to believe Obasanjo
put a priority on stability and loyalty over distinguishing
records in making this selection. Nevertheless, Agabi's past
experience should allow him to become comfortable with the
reins of the Justice Ministry in short order. This is good
news for us, as we expect to engage him quickly on our
outstanding requests for cooperation on a variety of law
enforcement and judicial issues.
Jeter

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