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Cablegate: Codel Payne Meeting with Lagos State Governor

VZCZCXYZ0003
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHOS #0591 2351239
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 231239Z AUG 07
FM AMCONSUL LAGOS
TO RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA PRIORITY 1325
INFO RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 9143

UNCLAS LAGOS 000591

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

GRAY - PLS PASS CODEL PAYNE FOR CLEARANCE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV NI
SUBJECT: CODEL PAYNE MEETING WITH LAGOS STATE GOVERNOR
FASHOLA

REF: ABUJA 1817

1. (SBU) Summary: Recently-installed Lagos State Governor
Babatunde Fashola told HIRC Africa Subcommittee Chair Donald
Payne August 21 he was determined to improve Lagos's
miserable physical condition. Roads, power, water, and
sanitation were in a shocking state and totally inadequate to
cope with Lagos's population of 17 million. Fashola focused
particularly on the deteriorating crime and security
situation, blaming the federal government for not providing
enough resources for police services and to alleviate
poverty. Fashola said as a new governor he was determined to
make improvements during his tenure, even if he broke some
crockery, adding he did not care if he got re-elected. He
appealed for USG help in resources for the police. End
summary.

2. (U) In a brief private meeting with Congressman Payne and
Acting CG McConnell following a ceremonial welcome, exchange
of gifts and media encounter, Lagos State Governor Fashola
emphatically stressed his determination to make a difference
during his time as governor, even if it meant he would not
get re-elected.

3. (SBU) Fashola said basic infrastructure had been allowed
to deteriorate to a shocking degree-roads, sewers, power,
water, etc. Meanwhile the population had burgeoned to over
17 million, a figure which he said was carefully calculated
by various indices such as the amount of refuse produced
daily. The official figure of 9 million was used by federal
authorities as a convenient excuse to minimize Lagos's needs.

4. (U) Fashola said his first priority however was to
improve security in Lagos which had also deteriorated badly.
He blamed the situation in part on the previous government
policy of not providing police with sufficient resources and
training. Poverty, lack of job opportunities, and soldiers
returning from UN peacekeeping missions who marauded were
also factors.

5. (U) Acting CG McConnell welcomed the Governor's priority
on addressing the problem of crime. He expressed concern
about security for Americans and other expatriates in Lagos,
noting his British counterpart had recently contacted him
with a similar concern. The USG would help where it could
and would like to stay in close touch with the Governor on
security.

6. (U) Fashola urged the US to press the federal government
in Abuja on the need to provide more resources to Lagos. At
present 52 percent of Nigeria's revenue is taken by the
federal government leaving only 48 percent for Nigeria's 36
states and many municipalities. Fashola said he would
welcome any help the U.S. could give, citing the need for
bulletproof vests as well as walkie-talkies and other
communications gear for the police.

7. (SBU) Comment: Governor Fashola is starting off with
enthusiasm and zeal. His challenge will be to maintain that
commitment over time in the face of the daunting problems of
Lagos and the culture of corruption to which a number of
other governors have succumbed. End comment.

8. (U) Congressman Payne cleared this cable.


MCCONNELL

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