Cablegate: Nigeria: 2004 Annual Terrorism Report

Published: Thu 30 Dec 2004 03:08 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
REF: STATE 25841
1. (U) Post provides the following input for the 2004 Annual
Terrorism Report. The information is keyed to the questions
asked in REFTEL:
A. (U) Civilian rule returned to Nigeria with the
inauguration of Olusegun Obasanjo as President in May 1999.
Since his inauguration, President Obasanjo has pursued an
active international agenda commensurate with Nigeria's
perception of its role as a leader in both continental and
world affairs. During 2004, published reports indicate that
the GON actively pursued any threats of terrorism within its
B. (U) President Obasanjo's government was among the first
to send condolences after the September 11 attacks. More
importantly, Nigeria steadfastly and publicly lent its
diplomatic support to Coalition efforts against the Taliban
and Al Qaida despite the domestic political ramifications
for a country that is home to Africa's largest Muslim
population. The GON did not publicly support the invasion of
Iraq, however,it has taken steps to insure the security of
Americans and American property in Nigeria. The GON backed
UN Resolutions 1267, 1333 and 1368 and has initiated
legislative and regulatory steps to shore up its anti-money
laundering regime in order to fight terrorism. The New
Partnership for African Development (NePAD), an organization
founded by Obasanjo and other African Heads of State, has
condemned terrorism and called for concrete measures to be
taken by African states to combat the scourge. Nigeria is
signatory to seven counter-terrorism conventions and is
reviewing other UN conventions with the view of acceding to
these instruments.
C. (U) Nigeria also has taken on a leading role in making
counter-terrorism an important issue in West Africa, the
sub-region where Nigeria's diplomatic and political
influence is most pronounced. Nigeria has also taken the
lead in ECOWAS and the AU in sponsoring joint Intelligence
and Security Conferences on counterterrorism.
D. (U) There have been at least two serious terrorist
related incidents in Nigeria over the last 12 months, both
in Northern Nigeria and related to elements of the "Nigerian
Taliban". There is evidence that these incidents may have
international connections. While current criminal law does
not contain many specific anti-terrorism provisions, the
penal code does proscribe acts of violence, which includes
terrorism. The judiciary probably would prosecute diligently
any cases of terrorism and would cooperate with the USG in
prosecution despite some of the institutional shortcomings
of the judiciary, i.e. understaffing, corruption, lack of
equipment, large caseloads and inadequate pay.
E. (SBU) The GON has limited expertise and equipment to
intercept wire, oral, or electronic communications. The
State Security Service probably has the capability to
conduct wire taps but the Nigerian Police Service does not.
RSO review of national police statutes and checks with local
security contacts determined there are no known specific GON
laws that permit wire-tapping. It is unknown whether any
GON security service has the capability to intercept
information technology communications. GON security elements
can initiate surveillance and investigate suspected
terrorist and terrorist's organizations at any time. There
is no special examining magistrate with specific powers in
the CT area. Intelligence would probably be permitted as
evidence in a court of law. In Nigeria, suspects must be
charged within 48 hours by law, but, in practice, can be
held as long as deemed necessary. Access to suspects is not
necessarily recorded but probably will be if visitor is not
a Nigerian National. Most criminals are photographed and
fingerprinted by GON security elements but DNA samples are
not taken due to resource constraints and a lack of
scientific knowledge.
F. (U) GON security services have been particularly
cooperative and proactive when asked to investigate
potential counterterrorism threats to U.S. interests.
G. (SBU) The GON has taken receipt of at least one suspect
terrorist this year for another cooperating third country.
H. (U) The GON Intelligence and Security Services are
working hard to improve intelligence sharing on C.T. issues.
But, there have been no new developments by the GON
concerning the creation of any counterterrorism units. The
Inspector General of Police responsible for command and
control over the 312,000 plus person National Police Service
has told RSO that his service has no hostage rescue
capability. He also mentioned that several members of his
staff would be receiving individual training from Spain in
the future but no definite dates for the training have been
I. (U) The Nigeria Police Service during 2004 lead a joint
task force responsible for tracking down, killing, and
apprehending many members of an indigenous terrorist group
commonly referred to by the government as the "Taliban".
Members of the group were allegedly responsible for the
killing of several police officers and over running a police
station in Yobe State.
J. (U) In addition to the so-called Taliban Operation in
Yobe State, in Rivers state the GON established an
additional task force to conduct internal security
K. (U) There have been no changes since the previous report.
L. (U) There are no known legal impediments to prosecution
or extradition of suspected terrorists. However, members of
both the police force and the judiciary have been
susceptible to corruption in the past. Given the high-level
GON awareness on counter-terrorism, it would be difficult
for corrupt practices to impede the prosecution or
extradition of any high-visibility terrorism cases.
M. (U) There are areas, especially in Northern Nigeria,
where terrorists could potentially operate; however there
are no confirmed reports that this is occurring. Post has a
high degree of confidence that the GON would act on reports
of terrorist activities.
N. (SBU) The GON does not support international terrorism or
terrorists. The GON clearly and repeatedly has condemned
terrorism and followed up with concrete actions. However,
some individuals and private groups in Nigeria have ties to
and perhaps receive funding from sources in Sudan, Iran,
Pakistan and Libya. It is possible that some of these
individuals or groups may have indirect links with extremist
or terrorist organizations.
O. (SBU) International terrorism activity exists but its
extent is still being investigated.
P. (SBU) Individuals with ties to Al Quida and Hezbollah are
in country.
Q. (U) The GON intelligence and security services have been
working hard on improving their capabilities and have
progressed. Within the past 12 months, the GON has
successfully concluded many high profile events that were
potential targets for international terrorism. In the past
12 months, the GON has hosted the Commonwealth Heads of
Government Meeting, All Africa Games, Visit by the Queen of
England as well as many other Heads of State and
Governments, many ECOWAS meetings; all have been
successfully held with no untoward incidents of any type.
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