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Cablegate: Senator Inhofe's Visit to Nigeria

VZCZCXRO8856
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #2467 3521802
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 171802Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4747
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 1581
RUEHYD/AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE 0567
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 0481
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS ABUJA 002467

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/W, INR/AA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV NI
SUBJECT: SENATOR INHOFE'S VISIT TO NIGERIA

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: From December 3-4, Senator James Inhofe
visited Nigeria, accompanied by Representatives Randy
Neugebauer, Jeff Miller, and Robert Aderholt. In addition to
several private meetings, the delegation visited the Senate
Committee on Defense and the Army and Defense Headquarters to
discuss U.S./Nigerian military cooperation. Both meetings
focused heavily on how to expand training opportunities for
Nigerian officers in U.S. military schools, how to secure
more U.S.-donated equipment for the Nigerian armed forces,
and the role of AFRICOM in African-U.S. military-to-military
relations. The tone of the discussions was frank but
friendly, and Post looks forward to following up with the GON
on the aforementioned subjects. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Senator James Inhofe and Congressmen Randy
Neugebauer, Jeff Miller, and Robert Aderholt visited Abuja
December 3-4 to conduct private meetings and engage the GON
on defense-related matters. The delegation's first meeting
was with the Nigerian Senate Committee on Defense and the
Army to explore ways of expanding defense-related
cooperation, particularly in the area of training under the
aegis of the International Military and Education Training
(IMET) program. Senator Inhofe noted that he was the point
person on the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee for the
program and encouraged greater Nigerian participation in it,
in addition to a prioritization of Nigerian capacity building
needs. CODEL also discussed training assistance in the
maintenance and upkeep of Nigeria's C-130 aircraft and the
possibility of U.S. aid in refurbishing the aging fleet, as
well as the scope and purpose of AFRICOM.

3. (SBU) CODEL met with Air Vice Marshal B.G. Danbaba, Chief
of Policy and Planning for Defense Headquarters and a past
beneficiary of U.S.-sponsored training. Danbaba was
enthusiastic about the proposition of increasing Nigerian
capacity via IMET. Lamenting the Nigerian military's overall
decline in professionalism under U.S. sanctions, he stated
that "somewhere along the line things went very bad." He
expressed gratitude for the role Nigeria's foreign partners
could play in changing things for the better, and said the
GON would be willing to pay for slots in U.S. military
courses. DCM ticked off a list of U.S./Nigerian military
cooperation success stories, including the California State
National Guard Partnership program, the Regional Maritime
Awareness Center radar installation in Lagos, and the scores
of Nigerians who were trained in the U.S. in the past year.
Senator Inhofe recounted his role in the creation of AFRICOM,
and reaffirmed the benefits it could bring to Africa. The
meeting closed with Danbaba describing the upward trajectory
of continental acceptance of the new command, including
widespread receptivity among Africa's militaries and slow but
growing receptivity among politicians.

This cable coordinated with Consulate Lagos, and cleared by
CODEL Inhofe.
Sanders

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