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Cablegate: Nigeria: Additional Narcotics Certification

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 002986

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE


STATE FOR INL AND AF


DEA FOR OFE -- TOM WADE


E.O. 12598: N/A
TAGS: SNAR NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: ADDITIONAL NARCOTICS CERTIFICATION
NOTES

REF: ABUJA 02865


1. In addition to reftel's report card, Post wishes
to provide the following information on Nigeria's drug
control efforts.


2. Major Traffickers: The initial report card
submitted by Post (reftel) should be revised to show
that Nigeria has arrested and is prosecuting at least
one major trafficker. In January 2002 NLDEA personnel
at MMIA arrested a Nigeria Airways flight attendant
and seized 1.7 kilograms of heroin. An ensuing
investigation by the NDLEA led to the arrest on April
17, 2002 of Anthony Onyechesi, the trafficker
providing the heroin for this and other shipments to
the U.S. The NDLEA also seized assets belonging to
this trafficker, including four vehicles. DEA
confirms that Onyechesi is a significant trafficker.


3. The Nigerian and Filipino cocaine traffickers
arrested in connection with the August 27, 2001
seizure of 60 kilograms of cocaine at Lagos' Tin Can
Island Port, on October 25, 2002, were convicted on
all three criminal counts with which they were charged
and sentenced to nine years imprisonment. They are
currently serving their terms in Nigeria.


4. Extraditions: Attorney General Kanu Agabi is
committed to the successful extradition of Nigerian
fugitives to the U.S. He has assigned the MOJ's most
experienced extradition prosecutor to the US cases and
has pledged to appear in court himself to argue the
extradition cases. He has consulted the new Chief
Judge of the High Court, Rosaline Ukeje, for
assistance in assigning competent judges to hear the
U.S. extradition cases. The MOJ has not established a
formal extradition unit, but this informal system of
giving U.S. extradition requests preferential
treatment shows promise and unprecedented commitment.
MOJ officials believe that the creation of a formal
unit is inappropriate at this time given the modest
workload of US extradition requests, though such a
unit could be created if the pace picks up.


5. The extradition case currently before the court --
Daniel Oruhiu -- opened in early October under a
temporary judge who could not finish the case before
she went on leave. Therefore, the case last week was
transferred back to the Chief Judge of the High Court,
who assigned it to the "High Court Annex #2" on
October 28, 2002. The judge's name will be known
shortly and proceedings should commence shortly.


Asset Forfeiture
----------------


6. The NDLEA Chairman recently submitted a proposal
to the President, asking that the NDLEA be allowed to
keep a percentage of the proceeds from drug
traffickers' assets forfeited and auctioned off by the
NDLEA.


7. In the prosecution of the Nigerian and Filipino
traffickers associated with the August 27, 2001
seizure of 60 kilograms of heroin (para 3), the court
ordered the forfeiture of 8.54 million naira
(approximately USD 67,250) in funds identified in two
Nigerian banks.


Controlled Deliveries
---------------------


8. DEA's Lagos Office clarifies that controlled
deliveries can only be initiated after a viable
opportunity of drug trafficking to Nigeria has been
identified.


9. The NDLEA in early October announced publicly that
it is investigating three major commercial banks for
laundering drug proceeds. According to DEA, it is
working with the NDLEA on a joint investigation of
suspected money launderer (name to be supplied by
classified email).


Regional Narcotics Cooperation
------------------------------


10. The NDLEA has shown a strong commitment to greater
cooperation in the West African sub-region and
throughout the continent. An extradition agreement
was inked with South Africa in October 2002, building
on a bilateral drug and crime control agreement forged
last year.


11. DEA reports that the NDLEA has been the catalyst
in the West African Joint Operation (WAJO) which
brought together drug enforcement personnel from the
entire sub-regional and led to the successful
execution of a coordinated surge operation at air- and
sea ports. 164 drug arrests were recorded during the
six weeks of this regional enforcement initiative.
This initial success is encouraging greater
cooperation in the sub-region, and useful,
collaborative links are being established among
counter-narcotics officials. The NDLEA has also
increased cooperation with its neighbor Benin, with
DEA assistance. In early October the NDLEA and
Beninese Police conducted a joint drug interdiction
operation at the busy Seme border land border crossing
between the two countries.


JETER

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