Cablegate: May 3 Rally Organizers Defy Arrest

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

301143Z Apr 04




E.O. 12958: N/A



1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The detention of at least one CNPP
organizer and attempts to detain others are the latest GON
efforts to forestall a public demonstration against President
Obasanjo scheduled for 3 May. Rally organizers say they are
ready to move ahead, "regardless of the risk." The latest we
hear from the GON is that it may declare Monday May 3 a
public holiday (as the existing May 1 public holiday falls on
a Saturday) and urge Nigerians to stay at home. END SUMMARY.


2. (SBU) The GON says the planned march is illegal, and
State Security Service (SSS) detained National Coordinator
for Mass Mobilization for the Conference of Nigerian
Political Parties (CNPP) Buba Galadima on April 29. His
location is unknown at this time, but he is likely being held
at SSS Headquarters in Abuja. Various sources say that at
least 7 other attempted arrests failed in Port Harcourt,
Enugu, Kaduna and Abuja because security personnel could not
find the individuals. CNPP General Secretary Maxi Okwu
missed a meeting at the British High Commission in Abuja on
April 30, and the British do not know whether he has been
detained or gone into hiding.

3. (SBU) Contacts with Chukwuemeka Ojukwu and Muhammadu
Buhari tell us attempts were made to place the two 2003
presidential election opponents of Obasanjo under "house
arrest" on the evening of April 29. SSS agents visited
Ojukwu's residence in Enugu and advised his guards that he
should "remain in the house until further notice." One
contact says Ojukwu's guards responded by chasing the SSS men
from the neighborhood. Ojukwu left the house and is
reportedly en route to Abuja. SSS agents visited Buhari's
house in Katsina that same evening. Buhari was not at home,
and when other agents called on his house in Dauru with the
same advice, found Buhari had already departed.


4. (SBU) CNPP Chairman Balarabe Musa told a radio station
in Abia State on April 30 that the rally will go ahead. He
and our contacts close to Buhari and Ojukwu still believed
the two opposition leaders will try to participate in the
rally. One contact said the arrest of Galadima will "only
provoke a stronger response from Nigerians."

5. (SBU) Embassy contacts in Abuja tell us the GON has
decided to announce that 3 May will be a public holiday. One
source claims "people will be told to stay at home for the

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