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Cablegate: Anambra Update - January 30, 2004

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

301541Z Jan 04

UNCLAS LAGOS 000260

SIPDIS

LONDON FOR GURNEY, PARIS FOR NEARY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM NI
SUBJECT: ANAMBRA UPDATE - JANUARY 30, 2004

REF: A) LAGOS 124 B) 2003 LAGOS 2187

Anambra - New twists in the continuing crisis

1. (U) The crisis of the Governor vs. the "godfather"
continues to grind on in Anambra State. There have been
accusations that the GON, namely President Olusegun Obasanjo,
is doing nothing to bring peace and order to Anambra, and, in
fact, may be the main force stirring up trouble for Governor
Chris Ngige. Possibly in response to those charges, Senate
President Adolphus Wabara has attempted to broker a truce
between Ngige and his "godfather", millionaire Chris Uba.
Wabara brought the two opponents together twice, in December
and last week, along with Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
officials, prominent members of the Igbo community and local
traditional rulers. The result of these meetings was the
so-called "Owerri Peace Accords", reported to be heavily
weighted in Uba's favor, but which allowed Ngige to remain in
office.

2. (U) Neither side respected the agreement. Uba immediately
got a friend on the high court in Enugu State to issue an
order ousting Ngige from office. The Ngige faction persuaded
the Appeals Court to reverse the Enugu court and the Governor
celebrated by choosing his own Deputy Governor -- in
contravention of the "Peace Accords" which had given Uba the
right to pick the Deputy Governor. Meanwhile, back in the
Senate, Wabara was swearing in a hand-picked "Implementation
Committee" for the "Peace Accords."

3. (U) All parties are behaving as if the crisis has been
resolved in their respective favors. The Inspector General
of Police, Tafa Balogun, continues to resist all demands that
he restore Ngige's police bodyguard that was taken from him
by the Enugu court order. Ngige travels around Anambra and
Abuja with private bodyguards and is much photographed doing
his gubernatorial duties -- handing out prizes at high
schools, attending important weddings and funerals,
appointing his cabinet. Sometimes, he drives himself because
he doesn't trust anyone to do it for him. Yesterday, his
armored car reportedly broke down. Uba, after a short
vacation abroad, is back pulling strings and, allegedly,
attempting to pay off federal legislators to get them to
declare a state of emergency in Anambra and put him in power.
There are new players and court decisions every day and no
final resolution in sight.

Anambra - Police action: good, bad and otherwise

4. (U) Inspector General Balogun announced January 27 the
discovery of a large cache of illegal guns in the huge and
sprawling Onitsha market. The guns were discovered during
the capture of six men described as burglars and two others
said to be "arms dealers." Along with the guns, police
discovered blank gun license forms and blank Nigerian
international passports. A police spokesman told the
Guardian newspaper that the police are not yet certain what
the guns and official forms were being stockpiled for, but
that "it was generally believed that they might be intended
for no good." Balogun issued a statement praising the
Anambra police units and in the same statement said that his
new program to fight corruption in the police force had
resulted in the firing or prosecution for corruption of
almost 900 policemen nationwide. Sixty-five will be tried
for extorting money ("dash") from motorists. The saga
continues.
HINSON-JONES

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