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Cablegate: Nigeria: National Inland Waterways Proposal For

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

UNCLAS ABUJA 002885

SIPDIS


SECDEF PASS TO CDRUSAETAC WINCHESTER VA
SECDEF PASS TO HQUSACE WASHDC
SECDEF FOR DC//USDP-DSCA-ERASA// AND DC//UDP/ISA//
SECSTATE FOR AFR/PM//


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MASS NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: NATIONAL INLAND WATERWAYS PROPOSAL FOR
SUPPORT FROM ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS


REF: A. NIWA MAY 28 LETTER TO AMBASSADOR JETER
B. HOPPER/OVERFIELD JUNE 19 EMAIL


1. The U.S. Mission to Nigeria cannot support at this time
the proposed project presented by the National Inland
Waterways Authority (NIWA) (Ref A). This decision is based
on several considerations. First, it is impossible to tell
from NIWA's proposal exactly what they wish the Army Corps of
Engineers to do. There is presently no funding and virtually
no prospects for significant funding for any major
undertaking. ODC, USAID, and other Western donor agencies do
not have funding to pay for a major project nor has the
National Inland Waterway Authority demonstrated that they
have the funds necessary for even a preliminary study. Given
the current fiscal constraints in Nigeria, where many
thousands of civil servants wait months for their salaries,
it is highly unlikely that GON funds, even if promised, would
be made available in the near term.


2. The Mission would be pleased to revisit this decision if
the NIWA proposal were better defined and resources
identified. Even at that point, the Mission would be hard
pressed to support major undertakings, especially outside the
metropolitan areas of Abuja and Lagos. Mission
administrative offices are understaffed and in cramped
temporary quarters in which they will remain for the
foreseeable future, probably until the new Chancery is
completed in 2004. The security situation outside the major
cities is sometimes volatile with sudden, unanticipated,
communal violence a possibility in some areas of the country.


3. An additional concern is the need for assurances that
environmental and economic impact studies, as required by
authorities in both Nigeria and the United States, are
undertaken before a major project, such as dredging of the
Niger River, begins. Moreover, there are political forces in
Nigeria, including local communities that would be
significantly impacted by the proposed activity. Nascent
environmental groups would also become involved eventually,
especially in the aggrieved and volatile Niger Delta.
JETER

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