US secretary of state John Kerry visits Abuja, sale of attack aircraft to Nigeria high on the Agenda



U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Abuja today, high on the agenda was a discussion on ways to ramp up military assistance to help Nigeria defeat the extremist group Boko Haram, a senior U.S. official disclosed.

In talks with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Kerry "made very, very strong commitments to the government that we are going to look at what we can do differently," the official said, adding that Kerry had told his staff to look at ways to boost military cooperation with Nigeria.

The official said Kerry had stressed that more needed to be done in working with neighbouring countries in West Africa.



Abuja Bomb Monday April 14th #Nyanya



Monday 14th April, will be remembered as a very tragic day for residents of Abuja. After nearly 2 years of relative intensified security and an absence of bombs, we woke up to mayhem.




"The bomb  blast incident  suspected  to have been carried out  this morning by members of the Boko Haram Islamic Sect with plate number XQ229LSD  at the popular Nyanya Motor Park, Abuja, may have claimed the lives of  over 200 people.

The tragic incident, which was said to have occurred between 6.30-6.45am destroyed about 16 Coaster (El-Rufai) buses, with four of them filled with over 50 passengers burnt, several motor cycles (Okada), and other mini-buses and cars were either parked or loading passengers were also burnt beyond recognition."


Culled from thisday 


President Goodluck Jonathan Had to cancel engagements to visit the site and victims in the hospital





Abuja to play host to international decision makers in the defence, anti-terrorism and security industry

The Nigeria Counter Terror Symposium is to be officially opened by Her Excellency Erelu Olusola Obada, the Honourable Minister of State for Defence.



August 28, 2012 — As Nigeria’s defence expenditure expands to meet the growing terror threat, estimated to be US$2.1 billion this year and expected to grow at 22% a year to reach US$4.76 billion by 2016, the Nigeria Counter Terror Symposium in Abuja, 20-22 November 2012 is set to bring together senior decision makers from the Nigerian Ministry of Defence and international government, military, police and industry representatives.

The Nigeria Counter Terror Symposium, to be officially opened by Her Excellency Erelu Olusola Obada, the Honourable Minister of State for Defence, will provide a forum to discuss Nigeria’s growing anti-terrorist challenges, force development strategies, national JV and PPP opportunities, as well as assessing a range of solutions available from leading international and indigenous security providers.

International speakers already confirmed include: 
• Ambassador Francisco Caetano Jose Madeira, Head of Counter‐Terrorism Cooperation of the African Union, Director of the African Centre for the Study & Research on Terrorism 
• His Excellency Simon Mulongo, Vice Chairperson, Committee on Defence & Internal Affairs, Parliament of Uganda 
• Laurent Panza Elumba, Deputy Director, DRC National Counter Terrorism Committee 
• Martin A. Ewi, Senior Researcher, Institute for Security Studies

According to Duraid Jalili, Head of Defence from the World Defence Group, “by engaging with a range of urgent discussions, from developing C4ISR architectures and information sharing, to training practices and trade requirements, this strategic gathering provides a unique opportunity to strengthen inter-agency cooperation and create new trade partnerships with the Nigerian security forces.” He also adds “with the new national security strategy and stronger focus on internal security operations against rebel groups in the Niger Delta and the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram, Nigeria is the most active it has ever been in modernising its capabilities to meet this threat, and engaging with internationals to strengthen collaboration with security allies and international industry providers.”

For more information on Nigeria Counter Terror Symposium please visit

Fake Bomb detectors spotted in Abuja

On a trip to Transcorp Hilton Abuja  recently , I noticed the frustrating long queues of vehicls being searched at the gate had dissappeared. There was now a dedicated entry lane demacated with those concrete blocks, there was still the prescence of heavily armed soldiers but the cars were moving in and out freely and the traffic flowed. I thought this is great, these people must be doing something right, and then it happened...

I spotted the miraculous bomb detecting device with an aerial, the magic wand, the solution to the torture we had  endured in the past, all in the name of security.



In many establishments these days there is an increase in the use of these devices but the question you should ask yourself is this ... what exactly does this device detect?



Popularly known as the ADE 651 or you can find various other models out there e.g GT200 or Alpha 6 all these devices have one thing in common, absolute rubbish.

They dont work , and this has been one of the greatest scam devices on the market since the begining of the war on terror.

(Reuters) - Iraqi authorities have arrested a high-ranking police official in connection with the purchase of a bomb detector that the British government says does not work,


Used in places like Iraq, Afganistan and Pakistan some years ago, there was an investigation by BBC news night into the use of these so called bomb detectors.

In the end , the UK government banned the export of these gadgets and the company was charged with fraud.

No western country uses these device because quite simply they do not work.

So in 2012 these things are begining to appear in Abuja.

As long as no one has a multi billion naira contract to supply these gadgets in Nigeria, I  believe we can put up with seeing these things in some places, the word deterant comes to mind.


And for those people who feel safer seeing these devises around please accept my apology, for bursting your bubble.


The best bomb detecting system in the world still remains mans best friend and if you doubt me , ask the US military




For our security tips , email  info




Sungbo Eredo - Nigeria's hidden wonder

Sungbo Eredo: Nigeria's Hidden Wonder

Sungbo Eredo

Nigeria's hidden wonder

The largest historical monument in the world

Related: Benin Iya

The eredo's earth walls protect a powerful and ancient kingdom

Sungbo's Eredo is a rampart or system of walls and ditches that surrounds the Yoruba town of Ijebu-Ode in Ogun state southwest Nigeria (6°49′N, 3°56′E). It is reputed to be the largest single pre-colonial monument in Africa.

As a construction project, it required more earth to be moved than the Great Pyramid of Giza. More than 100 miles (160 kilometers) in circumference with some sections having walls which reach 70 feet (20 meters) in height, it encloses an area 25 miles (40 km) north to south and 22 miles (35 km) east to west. The Eredo served a defensive purpose when it was built in 1000 C.E., a period of political confrontation and consolidation in the southern Nigerian rain forest. It was likely to have been inspired by the same process that led to the construction of similar walls and ditches throughout western Nigeria, including earthworks around Ile-Ife, Ilesa, and the Benin Iya, a 6,500 kilometer series of connected but separate earthworks in the neighboring Edo-speaking region.

Sungbo's Eredo has also been connected with the legend of the Queen of Sheba which is recounted in both the Bible and Koran. In the Old Testament, she is described as having sent a caravan of gold, ivory and other goods from her kingdom to King Solomon. In the Koran she is an Ethiopian sun worshiper named Bilqis involved in the incense trade who converts to Islam. Local legends link the Eredo to a wealthy childless widow named Bilikisu Sungbo. According to them, the monument was built as her personal memorial. Her actual grave is located in Oke-Eiri, a town in a Muslim area north of the Eredo. Pilgrims of Christian, Muslim and traditional African religions annually trek to the holy site in tribute to her. It is believed that the Eredo was the means to unifying an area of diverse communities into a single kingdom.

The impressive size and complex construction of the Eredo drew worldwide media attention in September of 1999 when Professor Patrick Darling, an archaeologist then with the University of Bournemouth, surveyed the site and began publicizing his bid to preserve the Eredo and bring the site some prominence. Previously, the Eredo had been little-known outside of community residents and specialists in Yoruba history. Forty years passed between Professor Peter Lloyd's publication of his analysis of the site and that of Darling, requiring a complete rethinking of West Africa's past. ...1

Hidden in the Nigerian rainforest, the earthworks at Eredo are just a few hour's drive from Lagos.
While not approaching the complexity of a project like the pyramids in Egypt, the builders would have shifted an estimated 3.5 million cubic meters of earth during construction of the ramparts.

The eredo rivals the size
of the Great Pyramid of Cheops

This is one million cubic meters more than the amount of rock and earth used in the Great Pyramid at Giza.

The wall marks out what the believed boundary of the original Ijebu kingdom, ruled by the 'Awujale' spiritual leader.

Civil wars and the arrival of the British eventually broke the kingdom's centuries-old Lagos lagoon trade monopoly. But the Awujale of the modern day town of Ijebu-Ode still holds a traditional position of responsibility.

Dr Darling, described the Eredo site as a breathtaking find with many of its remains relatively intact, though overgrown by the rainforest.
"We are not linking what we found to a city, but to a vast kingdom boundary rampart," he told the BBC.

"The vertical sided ditches go around the area for 100 miles and it is more than 1,000 years old.

Awujale may be linked
to the Queen of Sheba

"That makes it the earliest proof of a kingdom founded in the African rain forest."

Love story

But more intriguing still is the suggested link to the Queen of Sheba, one of the world's oldest love stories.
According to the Old Testament, the Queen, ruler of Saba, sent a camel train of gold and ivory to King Solomon.

Solomon wooed and married the queen after she became overwhelmed by the splendor of his palace and their son began a dynasty of rulers in Ethiopia.
The Bible dates the queen's reign to the tenth century BC and modern scholars have speculated that a link between Judea and an ancient African queen led to the emergence of Judaism in Ethiopia.

In a tale closely linked to that in the Bible, the Koran describes the Queen as a sun worshiper based in the Arabian peninsula who was converted to Islam.
Arabian legend names the queen "Bilqis" and links her to the incense trade which was then a source of great regional power.

Bilikisu Sungbo

But 500-year-old Portuguese documents hint at the power of an Ijebu kingdom and build the case for Sheba being on the other side of the continent.
Local people near to the Eredo monuments link the area to Bilikisu Sungbo, another name for Sheba, said Dr Darling.

Local tradition speaks of a great queen building a vast monument of remembrance and there is an annual pilgrimage to what is believed to be her grave.
The region's long history of gold and ivory trade and the cultural importance of eunuchs linked to royal households further support the Sheba link.
Dr Darling, a member of the African Legacy educational organization which is working with the Nigerian Government, said that Eredo could become Nigeria's first world heritage site, joining monuments like Stonehenge in the UK and the pyramids of Egypt.

He said Eredo had remained hidden to the outside world because of the lack of scientific and archaeological research in west Africa.
"What is exciting about this for me is that we are beginning to bring out the tremendous political and cultural achievements of black Africa," he said. ...2
Edo kingdom

End of ECOWAS Summit in Abuja - Goodluck Jonathan retains chairmanship

After several days of deliberations, the ECOWAS summit  on Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo concluded this evening in Abuja .

The communique issued was thus


"(ECOWAS) requests the U.N. Security Council to strengthen the mandate of the U.N. operation in Ivory Coast enabling the mission to use all necessary means to protect life and property and to facilitate the immediate transfer of power to Mr Alassane Ouattara," it said in a communique.

"(It) also requests the U.N. Security Council to adopt more stringent international targeted sanctions against Mr Laurent Gbagbo and his associates." Ouattara was the U.N.-certified winner of a November presidential election. Incumbent Gbagbo refused to recognise that result, saying it was rigged, and the West African country has lurched towards civil war.


President Goodluck Jonathan's tenure as chairman was renewed .


Abuja City Lock down


7 pm January 13th 2010, the presence of security personnel all over the city can still be felt. Some major streets in the city have been blocked off all day as Nigeria awaits the outcome of the PDP presidential primaries and nominee for the April 2011 elections.

The impasse is between incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan and former VP, Abubakar Atiku. Party delegates all over Nigeria arrived last night to Abuja to partake in the primaries. Overall, 5000 delegates are expected to participate in today's primaries.

10ABUJA215 wikileaks document Nigeria

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10ABUJA215 2010-02-26 16:04 2010-12-08 16:04 SECRET Embassy Abuja

DE RUEHUJA #0215/01 0571637
O R 261637Z FEB 10
Friday, 26 February 2010, 16:37
S E C R E T ABUJA 000215
EO 12958 DECL: 2020/02/26
CLASSIFIED BY: Robin R. Sanders, Ambassador, STATE, EXEC; REASON: 1.4(A), (B), (D)
1. (C) Ambassador met February 26 with Acting President (AgP) Dr. Goodluck Jonathan at the Vice President’s official residence, Aguda House, in Abuja to review the current political situation following the return earlier this week of ailing President Yar’Adua. Moves are afoot, between Jonathan and key northerners in the lead such as former Head of State Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, to encourage the Yar’Adua family to let go and let the President resign with dignity. This will allow Jonathan to serve as interim President until elections and also allow him to designate a vice president. Given the dysfunctional level of the current Cabinet, Jonathan said that once this happens, he will dissolve the cabinet, after consulting with the Council of State. Both moves, he believes, will appease Northern politicians, as he suspects that more northerners will support the resignation idea. Jonathan claims he wants to do a good job over the next 12 months, and leave a legacy of credible elections, electoral reform, including replacing the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) chairman and all of the commissioners. He promised the Ambassador that he would look at her suggestion of using terminal leave for the INEC chairman, which could have him out earlier than June. The Acting President also agreed to allow U.S.-UK technical assistance to help improve the voter registry and provide for a parallel vote tabulation. He expects things to calm down in the next 10-14 days, will not leave the country until things are resolved, and has opened channels with the military. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) was leaving Jonathan’s private office when Ambassador was entering. End Summary.
2. (C) Jonathan told the Ambassador “everyone’s confused” about who is in charge of Nigeria. There has been an increase in the level of uncertainty in the internal political situation following ailing President Yar’Adua’s return, which was shrouded in secrecy, during the early hours February 24. The AgP said he was “unhappy” that the first statement issued following Yar’Adua’s return referred to Jonathan as “Vice President.” The GON issued a second statement February 25 that reversed course and refers to Jonathan as the Acting President. Jonathan said that the Villa received a lot of pressure to correct this error so that the lines of leadership and executive direction were clear.
3. (C) The AgP lamented, “This terrible situation in the country today has been created by four people: Turai Yar’Adua [the ailing President’s wife], his Chief Security Officer (CSO) [Yusuf Mohammed Tilde], his Aide-de-Camp (ADC)[Col. Mustapha Onoedieva] and Professor Tanimu Yakubu [Yar’Adua’s Chief Economic Advisor].” The AgP said he does not know their motives, but expected it was likely for nefarious purposes. He added Minister of Agriculture Abba Ruma and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister Adamu Aliero had provided a second-tier of layering to the bubble surrounding Yar’Adua. The AgP noted that “people are angry,” and did not want to allow those surrounding Yar’Adua to replicate the control and access similar to what they had done in Jeddah for the past three months.
4. (C) Jonathan said the CSO and ADC saw him separately to let him know that they did not intend to mistreat the AgP and expressed their willingness to work with him (which the AgP doubts). The AgP said he told them both “then the best thing is to stop the charade.” The AgP told the Ambassador he believes Yar’Adua is in a semi-comatose state without an understanding of what is going on around him.
5. (C) The AgP said that Former Head of State Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, who according to Jonathan has become one of his closest advisors, worked out a strategy where he would reach out to other former Nigerian Heads of State, including former Head of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon, to approach those closest to Yar’Adua, especially his wife Turai, to try to convince them that the best, and most dignified step to take for the country and for Yar’Adua as a human being would be for the President to resign. This action would constitutionally make Jonathan Nigeria’s President. Doing such would also be easier than convincing two-thirds of the 42-member Federal Executive Committee (FEC) to declare the ailing President “physically incapacitated and medically unfit” to continue in the office of the Presidency. Jonathan said he and his wife, Patience, visited Turai as a humanistic gesture to express their best wishes for the recovery of Yar’Adua and out of respect for his ailing boss. The AgP said under no circumstances did he want Turai to come to his official residence.
6. (C) Once Yar’Adua resigns and Jonathan becomes interim President, he said he would choose a Vice President that could appease the Northerners by working with them to identify a
candidate. AgP Jonathan also shared that until Yar’Adua resigns, and things come down he would not leave the country. (N.B. This is in reference to the POTUS invitation to attend the April 12-13 Nuclear Security Summit). The issue of identifying a northerner as a vice presidential candidate, Jonathan underscored this appears to be the thing most on the minds of the northerners as they feel cheated out of the Presidency with Yar’Adua’s illness.
7. (C) Jonathan said “everyone, including the Army Chief of Staff (COAS) [LTG Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau] and Chief of the President Guards Brigade [BG Abdul Mustapha]” are concerned about the confusion over who is the executive of the nation. The AgP said the military chiefs are making sure no politicians are reaching out to the rank-and-file, and encouraging the military to stay in the barracks so that the uncertain political situation does not generate coup-like behavior emanating from the mid-ranks because of the confusion. As the Ambassador began her meeting with the Acting President, he had just concluded a meeting with COAS LTG Dambazau (see reftel A for Ambassador’s conversation with the COAS February 24).
8. (C) Based on points developed telephonically with Assistant Secretary Carson (ref B), Ambassador encouraged Jonathan to change the perception that he is a regional figure, and be seen, rather, as a national figure who has the best interest of the nation at heart. Ambassador expressed that given that the U.S. and Nigeria are very best friends, we feel the need to share our concerns, as any good friend would do, and that we are counting on him to steer Nigeria through this troubled and uncertain period. At the moment, Jonathan’s detractors believe he is a surrogate for former President Obasanjo. Ambassador advised the AgP that he needs to publicly demonstrate that he is the sole executor of national issues, not being directed or serving a political purpose for Obasanjo or others, so that his leadership would not be in question and the polity would accept that he had the best interest of nation at hand. The AgP said he appreciated our advice, including publicly holding Obasanjo at arms length. He said he would consider taking steps, including possibly convoking the entire diplomatic corps to brief them on the current political climate, using this and other events to demonstrate that he is his own man,
and diminish the appearance he is a regional leader.
9. (C) Jonathan noted that the Northern politicians would always be uncomfortable with him as president, and he understood the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) picked him as Yar’Adua’s running mate in 2007 because he represented the Niger Delta. Jonathan said he was handling Niger Delta issues until the Ministry for Niger Delta Affairs was created in September 2008, allowing him to distance himself from being viewed as someone who could only work on that issue. “I was not chosen to be Vice President because I had good political experience,” he said. “I did not. There were a lot more qualified people around to be Vice President, but that does not mean I am not my own man.” However, he said, with the changed circumstances, the AgP said that his sole focus is to leave a legacy of both electoral reform and credible elections, including changing the entire Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The AgP said he was appreciative of the Ambassador’s remarks made during the National Day reception February 25 and Assistant Secretary Carson’s February 24 statement because both provided him with the courage to press forward.
10. (C) Jonathan shared initially, he had the intention to dissolve the Cabinet early the week of February 22, and had planned to make that announcement at the February 24 FEC meeting, but found out that Yar’Adua was returning, and thus dissuaded him from acting. He said the last Cabinet meeting was disastrous and included yelling and screaming, and it is totally dysfunctional. He said he is “not a politician” and had very limited experience as an administrator, but concluded, “I will not tolerate a brawl.” Jonathan said he will dissolve the Cabinet once he knows people are more comfortable with him being the Acting President or if the current strategy to convince Yar’Adua surrogates and family members to allow the ailing president to resign.
11. (C) Jonathan agreed to the USG offer of technical assistance to review and update Nigeria’s national voter registry and funding for a Parallel Voter Tabulation (PVT). The AgP asked us for a letter formally offering this assistance (NB: we are providing to him today). The Ambassador noted the technical assistance could begin as early as the end of March with his approval (which he gave) with software installed that can assist with cleaning up the voter registry.
12. (C) On the INEC Chairman, Ambassador told the AgP that the USG
would not continue any election assistance if Iwu remains on seat after June 2010. She described the meeting between A/S Carson and Iwu, noting the latter showed no signs of respect for good governance. The AgP said he understood the USG would not be able to continue providing technical assistance if the current INEC chairman remains beyond his five-year mandate that ends in June 2010. Ambassador raised the issue of using Iwu’s terminal leave to get him out sooner. The AgP said he would ask the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) to inquire if the current chair could take terminal leave, which could have him out as soon as next month. Jonathan again said that once he solidifies his position as Acting President or President, and that once the political environment is less uncertain, he would begin taking steps to replace all thirteen of INEC’s commissioners, and work toward replacing Iwu earlier than June provided he can confirm the amount of terminal leave Iwu has. However, the AgP noted this would not be easy, but he is committed to seeing this through.
13. (C) Jonathan said he does not anticipate standing for elections in 2011 and that he is not working towards being a presidential candidacy. He wants to put into place an electoral structure that will be ready for national elections. He did, however, note that, “if they want me to run, that will be something to consider at that time.” However, he stressed that his focus now and for the next 12 months will be on “doing a good job and witnessing respectable and credible elections in 2011.”
14. (S) Ambassador raised with the AgP the case of Mohamed Ibrahim Ahmed (aka “Talha”). Talha was indicted earlier this week in New York on terrorism charges. Nigeria’s State Security Service (SSS) was about to release Talha onto an international flight before Nigerian police intervened and took him into custody. Ambassador underscored that the SSS’ close call in violating an Interpol Red Notice would not be helpful in making the case for Nigeria’s removal from the U.S. Transportation Safety Administration List of “Countries of Concern.” Ambassador also asked that SSS appear as witnesses when requested to demonstrate Nigeria remains a partner to the U.S. in the international fight against terrorism. She added that at least at the Director level, SSS not only knew about the Interpol notice, but simply said they did not want to hold him any longer. Ambassador added that the GON police forces did the right thing and stepped in to block the suspect from boarding the plane. He is now in police custody. Ambassador officially requested that he be turned over to the FBI agents here to escort him to the U.S. to stand trial.
15. (S) The AgP said he would call in SSS Director General Gadzama to clarify the security agency’s role in Talha’s near-release and that if the three SSS officers implicated had taken such action without authorization, they would face serious implications, including termination. Ambassador also took the opportunity to request Jonathan stop repeating that the December 25 attempting bombing case involving Nigerian Abdulmutallab was an “one-off aberration” and that Nigeria indeed does have foreign terrorist links and elements operating in country, as exemplified by Talha.
16. (C) After two days of uncertainty, that included signals of competing heads of state emanating from the dueling titular references within a Villa press release, it appears that Jonathan has plans to firmly take the reigns of the presidency, with the support from key northerners and the senior leadership of the military. As the Ambassador stepped out of her meeting, at least two Ministers and a Governor were waiting to consult with the Acting President. The Acting President’s bottom line is that he would do his best in the job in the next twelve months. He also wanted to ensure we understood he would “not be manipulated by anyone.” We believe the USG is firmly placed to advance our bilateral agenda, including the creation of an environment conducive to free, fair, and credible elections with the approval and assistance of Nigeria’s de facto head of state. Even if he decides to contest for the presidency, Jonathan seems sincere in wanting to leave a lasting legacy of electoral reform for Africa’s most populous nation. It is always hard to judge how some will behave (or surprise you) when leadership is unexpectedly thrown in their lap. The verdict is out on Jonathan and his previously underwhelming personality and performance needs to keep us in the cautious lane, but so far, so good. Things are quiet. The COAS is doing the right things. Jonathan is reaching out to key respected northerners, like Abdulsalami, which we see as a good thing. Our next steps should be to continue to encourage the AgP on the right path; help on the push back on Obasanjo through former and current USG officials; and, if the drum beat calling for the ailing President to resign picks up speed, we should ensure that we indicate our support for this given that it probably the best thing for the country. End Comment. SANDERS

09ABUJA1907 wikileaks document Nigeria

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ABUJA1907 2009-10-20 06:06 2010-12-08 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Abuja
DE RUEHUJA #1907/01 2930617
P 200617Z OCT 09
Tuesday, 20 October 2009, 06:17
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 ABUJA 001907
EO 12958 DECL: 02/04/2029
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Dundas McCullough for reasons 1.4. (b & d).
Ref: Abuja 1836
1. (C) Shell EVP for Shell Companies in Africa met with the Ambassador on October 13 to discuss the status of the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill. She said the GON wanted the National Assembly to pass the bill by November 17 and that the international oil companies would have to move quickly if the House passed the bill in the coming weeks. She said there was “total alignment” among the IOCs and with the Nigerian oil companies. She said it would be helpful if the Embassy would continue to deliver low-level messages of concern and call on the Speaker of the House to see where he stood on the bill. She expected the situation in the Niger Delta to be “quiet” until the end of the year but would get “out-of-hand” when the election cycle starts up at the end of the year. Shell’s views of the PIB track closely with ExxonMobil’s views as reported in reftel. END SUMMARY.
2. (C) Shell EVP for Shell Companies in Africa Ann Pickard met with the Ambassador at the Embassy on October 13. The DCM and Economic Counselor joined the Ambassador, and XXXXXXXXXXXX accompanied Pickard. The Ambassador asked Pickard for her views about the status of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). Pickard said the GON wanted the National Assembly to pass the bill by November 17 in order for the GON to be able to announce it at the upcoming CWC Gulf of Guinea Conference in London November 17-19. She said that if the House passes the PIB in the coming weeks, “we need to move quickly” to obtain any necessary changes before it becomes law. Fortunately, she added, “We are working with the House and the House appears to want to work with us.” She continued that if the Senate passes the PIB, “We aren’t worried.” Unfortunately, she explained, “We think the Senate will pass a bad bill” but it won’t really matter. She added that she would be at the Nigerian House and Senate later that day and would let the Embassy know if there were any unexpected developments.
3. (C) The Ambassador asked if Shell had had engagements with the GON outside the National Assembly, such as with the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria. Pickard said, “We are meeting with them at all levels.” She noted that an IMF team headed by Charles McPherson was in Abuja to look at the PIB and that Shell would be meeting with them as well. In contrast, she said, “We are worried about the World Bank’s political agenda and it is not clear what their agenda is.” She said the World Bank was working on how to make the IJVs “bankable” so that they would be able to go to international and domestic banks for financing.
4. (C) Pickard said the PIB requires an end to gas flaring by 2010. She said the industry won’t be able to do that due to the lack of QShe said the industry won’t be able to do that due to the lack of investment and security. Shell is ahead of the other IOCs and could be ready by 2011. Shell would have to spend $4 billion to do this, but the GON would also have to fund its part and that is a risk. Shell would shut in oil production in fields where it is uneconomic to end gas flaring, and it would let others have the gas for free where it is economic to do so.
5. (C) Pickard continued that NNPC General Managing Director Dr. Mohammed Barkindo was interested in doing something on climate change in preparation for the climate change summit in Copenhagen December 6-18. Barkindo was spread pretty thin so Shell will ask him how they can help him prepare for the summit. She added that Shell had recently told the oil producing countries that coal will squeeze out oil as a result of the CO2 footprint issue if the oil producing
ABUJA 00001907 002 OF 004
countries and IOCs do not do more to address the issue.
6. (C) Pickard summarized the PIB’s potential benefits. The creation of fully integrated and independently functioning international joint ventures (IJVs) would solve the oil and gas industry’s longstanding funding problems if the proposed IJVs are done right. The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) was previously forced to reduce its ownership of some existing joint ventures to 49 percent to make them profitable enough to obtain financing. The proposed division of responsibilities between the NNPC and the Directorate of Petroleum Resources also would be good. The IOCs currently do not know if the NNPC is their partner or regulator.
7. (C) The Ambassador asked if the industry was united in its approach to the PIB. Pickard replied that there was “total alignment with the international oil companies at every level.” She acknowledged that Shell had more exposure to the loss of acreage than any other company. “We could lose 80 percent of our acreage,” she said. The problem comes from the fact that the PIB will redefine how a company can hold on to its exploration and production blocks, limiting what can be kept to two kilometers around each well. “Everyone offshore loses a lot,” she continued. “We will have to bring satellites on fast or we will lose the blocks.” However, the problem with that is that the companies have to be able to pass things through to the blocks quickly and it takes years to get a rig in due to delays in the Nigerian approval process. (NOTE: Pickard told Econoff in Lagos that Shell “sent away” three platforms in late September. END NOTE.)
8. (C) The Ambassador asked about the IOCs’ alignment with the Nigerian oil companies. Pickard replied that “the Nigerian companies are with us” because they will be taxed at the same rate in the current version of the PIB. The IOCs are starting to see what the Nigerian companies want to do.
9. (C) The Ambassador asked what the Embassy could do to help with the Joint House Committee on Petroleum Upstream and Downstream and Justice that is working on the PIB. Pickard said she hoped the current level of dialogue between the GON and the IOCs continues. Unfortunately, “We have not been able to meet with President Yar’Adua for nine months,” she said. “They have him protected.” She said it would be helpful if the Embassy would continue to deliver low-level messages of concern. In particular, she thought it would be helpful for the Embassy to call on Speaker of the House Dimeji Bankoke to see where he stood on the bill. Beyond that, she would like to keep the Embassy in reserve and use it as a “silver bullet” if the PIB passes the House. The Ambassador noted that the U.S., U.K., Dutch and Qthe House. The Ambassador noted that the U.S., U.K., Dutch and French Embassies had already made a joint call on NNPC General Managing Director Dr. Mohammed Barkindo.
10. (C) Pickard mentioned China’s recently reported interest in Nigeria’s oil blocks. She said Shell had received a copy of the letter that Special Advisor to the President on Petroleum Matters Dr. Emmanuel Egbogah had sent to the Chinese which said that their offer for oil exploration blocks was not good enough. Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Odein Ajumogobia had denied that the letter
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had been sent, but later conceded that the GON was only “benchmarking” to see what the IOCs should pay for shallow-water licenses. Pickard said Shell had good sources to show that their data had been sent to both China and Russia. She said the GON had forgotten that Shell had seconded people to all the relevant ministries and that Shell consequently had access to everything that was being done in those ministries.
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11. (C) Pickard observed that there might be changes with how the GON management of the petroleum sector is organized. Minister of Petroleum Resources Rilwanu Lukman may be given the responsibility for implementing the PIB, while Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Ajumogobia may get the Directorate of Petroleum Resources and ongoing business. The problem with these changes is that the GON could still get “unempowered people” who are not able to address the issues. The question is whether Ajumogobia would be able to step up. (NOTE: Press reports on October 17 reported that Lukman will be given overall responsibility for the formulation of policy, and oversee the implementation of the PIB, the Integrated Joint Venture negotiation and rollout, the fiscal terms transition and implementation, the new organization implementation, and stakeholder management. We will also supervise the NNPC and its subsidiaries, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the African Petroleum Producers Association, and the University of Petroleum. Ajumogobia will be in charge of the Gas Master Plan Transition Implementation, the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, the alternative fuels, and the Petroleum Equalization Fund. He will also oversee the Directorate of Petroleum Resources, the Petroleum Training Institute and the Pricing Regulatory Agency. END NOTE.)
12. (C) The Ambassador asked about the level of Shell’s current operations. Pickard said Shell was producing 663,000 barrels per day as of October 13, including the Bonga field. Approximately 80,000 barrels per day had been brought back from the Forcados field on the previous day. Some 900,000 barrels per day of capacity was still shut in. Of that, Shell could bring back 600,000 barrels per day, while the remaining 300,000 barrels per day is “too unreachable.”
13. (C) The Ambassador asked Pickard what she thought about the future of the GON’s amnesty offer to militants in the Niger Delta. She responded that Shell expected the situation in the Niger Delta to be “quiet” until the end of the year. It will then get “out-of-hand” when the election cycle starts up in December, January and February. She expressed particular concern about Bayelsa State, home to Shell’s 500,000 barrel-per-day capacity Bonny field. Pickard also noted that Q500,000 barrel-per-day capacity Bonny field. Pickard also noted that Shell saw Israeli security experts in Bayelsa, but not in the Delta, and that there had been “a big drop in kidnapping” as a result.
Looking Ahead
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15. (C) Shell’s views of the PIB and the alignment among the IOCs and with the Nigerian oil companies track closely with the views of ExxonMobil, as reported in reftel. The main difference is that Shell tends to minimize the different tax concerns and financial vulnerabilities of the individual IOCs. Shell is much more vulnerable than the other IOCs because its operations are concentrated in less favorable JV concessions that are located in the violence-prone Niger Delta. ExxonMobil and Chevron’s operations are concentrated in more favorable production sharing contracts (PSC) in the relatively violence-free offshore areas. In the event that the PIB retains negative terms or violence returns to the Delta, Shell can be expected to hurt the most and cry the loudest.
16. (U) Embassy Abuja coordinated this telegram with ConGen Lagos.