Nigeria & Haiti: An interview with Sokari Ekine

Sokari Ekine is the co-editor along with Hakima Abbas of the “Queer African Reader” published in April 2013.

Queer African Reader

Queer African Reader

The QAR  is a collection of writings, analysis and artistic works that engage with the struggle for LGBTI liberation and inform sexual orientation and gender variance.  Published at a time of increasing draconian anti-homosexuality legislation on the continent, this is an extremely important piece of work from African Queers and allies from the continent.   Only two weeks ago Nigeria with the largest population in Africa passed the Same Sex Marriage Bill which despite it’s name has little to do with Same Sex Marriage.  The Bill punishes same sex relationships with up to 14 years in prison.  Also facing a 10 year prison sentence is anyone failing to report or supporting same sex relationships, anyone seen to be touching someone of the same sex and thereby deemed to be ‘gay’ and any organization that works on behalf of LGBT people.   For more on the Bill see here.

In her interview with the Public Archive Ms Ekine discusses the issue of aid and development in Haiti where she presently lives and also the similarities between the Same-Sex Marriage Bill and the US Patriot Act. Exerts from the interview below

In one of your “occasional musings” on Haiti on Black Looks, you point out that two criticisms of the deliverance of aid and charitable support to countries like Haiti are the introduction of inappropriate technologies without local consultation or participation and the other the long-term sustainability of projects. What have you seen in Haiti over the past couple of years in regards to both? How would you assess the implementation of foreign aid projects as we pass the four-anniversary of the earthquake?

Volumes have been written on the ineffectiveness and lack of sustainability of development aid but the issues   can be broken down according to two factors: waste and dependence.  In addition to the usual governmental and non-governmental aid agencies, there are hundreds of faith based groups and churches in Haiti. With the right connections and a few photos of starving black children, a US based charity or church can raise thousands over a weekend, employ x number of people and arrive in rural Haiti with free food, medicines, clothes and religion. I contend that we don’t know what many religious groups and other charities are really doing in Haiti. There are few regulations, no visas requirements and no monitoring of projects or churches. Every flight I have taken to or from Port-au-Prince, there has been at least one mission and some I have spoken too have been coming for years. They tell you this with pride completely unaware or maybe not, that they are contributing to a culture of dependency which keeps them in jobs and Haitians in poverty.

In many cases the technology might be appropriate but because consultation is minimal — in the sense that insufficient research takes place of local resources available, local needs and local infrastructure — projects fail or soon become unsustainable. Take for example a water purification project of considerable cost, was to provide clean water to a number of internally displaced camps and poor neighborhoods. The project organizers insisted that the water be provided free of charge, which is a laudable but not practical without considerable ongoing funding to pay for a water truck, drivers and maintenance.  I understand wanting to provide free water but even if there was funding for free delivery, how long could this be sustained? The cost would be thousands every year and we need to ask is there another way? Can this money be used to create jobs so people can become financially independent? I don’t know the answer but meanwhile the purifier lies idle and no one gets water free or otherwise which is rather sad.

We can compare this with another project/enterprise for a group of 20 women living on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. The women have received a small amount of funding to build a water storage tank for wash water and a small water purifier for drinking water.  Once completed the women will have low cost water for themselves plus be able to sell the surplus and at the very least they will break even.

There are so many examples like this where the technology sounds great but quite often the actual application is not thought through. Another problem is that NGOs arrive, offer services or technology, make all kinds of promises but fail to follow up with the necessary support.  This has happened to SOPUDEP who were provided with compost toilets but promises of support never materialized. The system became too expensive to maintain and this summer they reverted to traditional ‘deep hole’ latrines.  The school was also offered ‘solar’ cookers but they refused them because they were totally unpractical.  You cannot prepare daily food for 700 children with solar cookers!

But it’s not just with technology that interventions are whimsical.  In a recent article on Restaveks, Nicholas Kristof concludes that “free and accessible birth control” is one way to fight trafficking in Haiti and presumably globally since this is a global problem.  The idea of providing birth control to Haitian women is highly problematic, ending poverty by ending the birth of poor children to poor mothers is not a solution but a depopulation strategy. It does not tackle the structural causes of poverty.

You’ve also written on the environmental costs of “reconstruction.” What have you seen and what are the major issues in Haiti concerning development, sustainability, and eco-system preservation?

The piece you refer to concerns the degradation of the riverbed in Pernier. In the period after the earthquake, particularly in the past two years there has been this massive building boom largely fueled by government projects and Haitian-American monies. In the past year alone parts of Port-au-Prince such as the rich neighbourhood of Petion-Ville have been completely transformed. It’s great that rebuilding is taking place but it’s only in the richer neighborhoods and it comes at a high price to the environment. Haiti is a mountainous and hilly country and right now some of those hills are disappearing.  For example on the outskirts of the Port-au-Prince along Route Nationale 1 huge chunks of hillside are being cut out to provide building materials. The same goes for river beds which are being excavated for the gravel. The photos I took only show the present and I am sorry I didn’t take photos three years ago so people could see the difference. Imagine 24/7 removing the gravel from the riverbed? First the trees were destroyed now the hillsides and the rivers are going the same way. It’s an unregulated paradise for business and the government, which collects taxes for destroying the environment.

In years to come Haitians will again be blamed for destroying their rivers and hills much in the same way they are blamed for destroying the trees. But when you investigate, it is not the people but big business and corrupt governments who are to blame. In her trilogy Love Anger, Madness, first published in 1968, the Haitian novelist Marie Vieux-Chauvet, described how foreigners forced Haitian peasants to cut down their trees for sale or starve. We don’t hear this story. Rather, it is always poor Haitians cutting trees for firewood whereas thousands of trees were cut by corporate greed and government corruption. The farmers knew this would destroy their land and tried to protest, but their lives were worth less than the trees! Then charities arrive with food, clothing, and the bible to save those whose land and livelihood were destroyed.

You introduce your first post in the Haiti – Feminist Series on Black Looks by noting: “One of the stories least reported has been the one about Haitians organizing for themselves, particularly stories presented within a framework of feminist organizing and movement building.” Can you say a little about the different types of feminist organizing and movement building that you’ve encountered in Haiti?

What stands out for me are the everyday acts of solidarity and mutual support.  Support networks are crucial as in Haiti there is always a crisis but just the energy needed to live and work through the week is tremendous and sometimes overwhelming. The violence of poverty is overwhelming – we of the privileged speak about it, write about it, and stare at it through tinted or even open windows but really we don’t know.

This is not to say there are not differences, but one’s religious beliefs or sexual orientation are not determining factors for coming together. I’m not talking about grand campaigns but rather small, focused actions that respond to the practical needs of women and children in poor communities. Secondly, building relationships within and between neighborhoods and communities, between issues and creating support networks where women are at the center. What this means is that the possibility of change becomes real, not a dream – though dreaming is good too.

Most recently I have noticed there is a growing focus and concern over sustainability – how to integrate movement building and organizing with income generation that is viable, possible over the long-term, and that does not force people to have to rely on donors even if the donors themselves are working in solidarity. However these are small pockets of organizing. Overall when I look at Haiti in the present, it is hard to see how the majority of lives have improved. Some people made a lot of money in the aftermath of the earthquake and a small few are still making money but the poor are being erased. I think they are in a fight for their lives.

Continue reading on the Public Archive


us embassy cables – Pfizer blackmails Nigeria into settling Trovan lawsuit

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ABUJA671 2009-04-20 16:04 2010-12-09 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Abuja

DE RUEHUJA #0671/01 1101600
P 201600Z APR 09

Monday, 20 April 2009, 16:00
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 000671
EO 12958 DECL: 04/20/2034
Classified By: Economic Counselor Robert Tansey for reasons 1.4(B&D)
¶1. (C) Summary. In an April 2 meeting with the Ambassador, Pfizer lawyers Joe Petrosinelli and Atiba Adams reported that Pfizer and the Kano State government had reached a preliminary settlement on lawsuits arising from medical tests conducted with Trovan (oral antibiotic) on children living in Kano during a meningitis epidemic in 1996. Petrosinelli said Pfizer has agreed to the Kano State Attorney General’s (AG) settlement offer of $75 million, including a $10 million payment for legal fees, $30 million to the Kano State government, and $35 million for the participants and families. According to Adams, several final details need to be worked out on the mechanism for payment. Pfizer strongly recommends setting up a $35 million trust fund for the participants to be administered by a neutral third party and for the $30 million for the Kano State government to be used for improving health care in the state. Pfizer underscored that the Nigerian representatives wanted lump sum checks and that Pfizer is concerned with potential transparency issues. The next step is a meeting between high-level Pfizer officials and Nigerian side at a neutral location to work out the final details. End Summary.
¶2. (SBU) On April 2 Pfizer lawyers Joe Petrosinelli and Atiba Adams and Pfizer Nigeria Country Director Enrico Liggeri met with the Ambassador and EconDep to discuss the status of settlement negotiations. Four lawsuits were brought against Pfizer stemming from medical tests with the oral antibiotic Trovan conducted on children living in Kano during a meningitis epidemic in 1996. In Kano State Court there is one civil suit and one criminal case and in the Federal High Court there is one civil suit and one criminal case. Since 2006, Petrosinelli and Adams have been briefing the Mission on the status of the cases.
Settlement Reached
¶3. (C) Petrosinelli reported that Pfizer had tentatively reached “an agreement in principle” on the Kano AG’s settlement offer of $75 million. Adams explained that the parties agreed that the $75 million would be broken down as follows – a $10 million payment for legal fees; $30 million to the Kano State government; and $35 million to participants and families. Petrosinelli noted, that Pfizer has worked closely with former Nigerian Head of State Yakubu Gowon and that he has played a positive mediation role with Kano State and the federal government. Petrosinelli said Gowon also spoke with Kano State Governor Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, who directed the Kano AG to reduce the settlement demand from $150 million to $75 million. Adams reported that Gowon met with President Yar’Adua and convinced him to drop the two federal high court cases against Pfizer. (Comment: In 1966 Gowon became the head of state following a military coup that deposed Major General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi who had come to power via an earlier military coup. He was head of state from 1966 to 1975. He now plays an elder statesman role in Nigerian politics. End Comment.)
More Discussions Needed
¶4. (C) According to Adams, details need to be worked out on the mechanism for payments to the Kano State government and participants because Pfizer is unwilling to give a lump sum payment. Pfizer is concerned with transparency issues and is pushing for a $35 million trust fund for the participants to be administered by a neutral third party and the remaining $30 million to be used for improving health care in Kano state. Pfizer underscored that the Nigerian representatives were pushing for lump sum checks and Pfizer will not agree to that. Pfizer is considering rebuilding Kano’s Infectious Disease Hospital where the trial was conducted and working with health care nongovernmental organizations. Adams suggested that the trust fund for participants be administered by a neutral third party because he expects “additional” participants to come forward after they hear about the settlement. The Ambassador suggested Pfizer work with NGOs already working in Kano State and for Pfizer to consider working with local NGO implementing partners that the USG has used because of their transparency record.
ABUJA 00000671 002 OF 002
EconDep provided Pfizer a copy of the U.S.-Nigeria Framework for Partnership document as a guide for existing projects and partners in Kano. Petrosinelli explained that the next step was a meeting at a neutral location between high-level Pfizer officials and the Nigerian side to work out final details and conclude the settlement.
Pfizer Exposes Attorney General
¶5. (C) In follow up to the April 2 meeting, EconDep met with Pfizer Country Manager Enrico Liggeri in Lagos on April 9. (Note: Liggeri has years of experience in Nigeria because his family operated a business in Lagos from the early 1960s to the late 1980s. He spent most of his childhood in Lagos. End Note.) Liggeri said Pfizer was not happy settling the case, but had come to the conclusion that the $75 million figure was reasonable because the suits had been ongoing for many years costing Pfizer more than $15 million a year in legal and investigative fees. According to Liggeri, Pfizer had hired investigators to uncover corruption links to Federal Attorney General Michael Aondoakaa to expose him and put pressure on him to drop the federal cases. He said Pfizer’s investigators were passing this information to local media, XXXXXXXXXXXX. A series of damaging articles detailing Aondoakaa’s “alleged” corruption ties were published in February and March. Liggeri contended that Pfizer had much more damaging information on Aondoakaa and that Aondoakaa’s cronies were pressuring him to drop the suit for fear of further negative articles.
¶6. (C) Liggeri commented that the lawsuits were wholly political in nature because the NGO Doctors Without Borders administered Trovan to other children during the 1996 meningitis epidemic and the Nigerian government has taken no action. He underscored that the suit has had a “chilling effect” on international pharmaceutical companies because companies are no longer willing to conduct clinical testing in Nigeria. Liggeri opined that when another outbreak occurs no company will come to Nigeria’s aid.
¶7. (C) Comment: Pfizer’s image in Nigeria has been damaged due to this ongoing case. Pfizer’s management considers Nigeria a major growth market for its products and having this case behind it will help in efforts to rebuild its image here. Final discussions on the $30 million and $35 million are likely to be tricky because the Nigerian side wants to control who gets the money, not Pfizer. The U.S. Mission will continue to advocate for transparency in settling the case and also note to GON authorities that Pfizer must abide by the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and cannot simple hand over large sums of money to state and local officials. Petrosinelli and Adams will get back to the Mission on what further assistance may be needed. End Comment.
¶8. (U) This cable was coordinated with ConGen Lagos. SANDERS

us embassy cables – Johnnie Carson reassures oil companies in Nigeria

DE RUEHOS #0075/01 0540820
O R 230820Z FEB 10

Tuesday, 23 February 2010, 08:20
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 LAGOS 000075
EO 12958 DECL: 2020/02/23
CLASSIFIED BY: Donna M. Blair, CG, State, ConGen Lagos; REASON: 1.4(B), (D)
¶1. (C) Assistant Secretary (A/S) Carson met with members of the International Oil Companies (IOCs) on February 7. The A/S stressed the fact that Nigeria is the most important country in Africa for the United States. The IOC members noted that the A/S spoke mainly of issues in Northern Nigeria and did not dwell on Southern issues. The Petroleum Industry Bill is discouraging future investment mostly in deep-water fields where most of the remaining oil in Nigeria lies. If Nigeria raised the price of gas to two-thirds of the world price, the IOC’s would be at each others throats trying to cut the price by a penny or two. Nigeria has the possibility of becoming the next Pakistan within 25 years. A/S Carson allayed the IOCs concerns of the United States’ relationship with China. END SUMMARY.
¶2. (C) Assistant Secretary Carson met with members of the international oil community in Lagos on February 7. In attendance were the following: Shell Senior Vice President’s Ann Pickard and Ian Craig; Shell Vice President Peter Robinson; Chevron Managing Director Andrew Fawthrop; Chevron Public Affairs Manager Femi Odumabo; Exxon Mobil Managing Director Mark Ward; Hercules Manager Coleman McDonough; Schlumberger Manager Supply Chain Service Demi Adenusi; American Business Council (ABC) President Dick Kramer; Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary; Economic Officer; Maritime Affairs Officer; Marine AttachC) and, Consul General Lagos.
¶3. (C) Fawthrop asked the A/S whether he was in Nigeria to deliver a message or was it more of a fact-finding trip? A/S Carson stated that he was in Nigeria for both reasons in that he wanted to listen and engage with Nigeria. Nigeria is the most important country in Africa for the United States due to: the size of its population; presence of hydro-carbons; peace keeping role in ECOWAS, especially in Sierra Leone and Liberia; its seat on the United Nations Security Council; along with the strength and size of its financial markets the A/S continued. Nigeria has enormous potential and is the seventh largest Muslim country in the world with an Islamic population that will eclipse Egypt by 2015 according to A/S Carson. Having no United States presence in Northern Nigeria is akin to having no presence in Egypt and is why the United States is considering opening a Consulate in Kano.
¶4. (C) The United States is concerned about the power vacuum in Nigeria and the state of health of President Yar A’dua, per A/S Carson. The president is “very, very, very, very ill” and Nigerians are under illusions regarding the state of their president. “Nigeria cannot afford to implode or run aground.” 30 years of military government was not good. The United States expects a stable, legal, democratic, constitutionally-based government with no “military involvement, full stop” A/S Carson stated. It is important for the GON to do a better job this time around in regards to elections. Only ten percent of Nigerians saw a ballot ticket in the 2007 elections. If Nigeria brings credibility to its democratic processes, its economic processes will improve.
LAGOS 00000075 002 OF 005
——————————————— ————-
——————————————— ————-
¶5. (C) Some places are more important than others within the Federal system of Nigeria and Lagos is one of the more important places, according to A/S Carson. Consulate General Lagos is bigger and more important than Embassies Benin and Togo together. Lagos is significantly more important than Cape Town even though the latter is 100 times better in terms of livability. The United States must be in Lagos in a significant way, A/S Carson declared.
¶6. (C) The statements of the A/S sounded wonderful from a Hausa viewpoint, but nothing was mentioned about Southern and Eastern Nigeria, Fawthrop pointed out. The A/S agreed that Fawthrop was correct. The United States is underrepresented diplomatically, economically, commercially, militarily and from a security standpoint. When the A/S served in Nigeria from 1969-1971, the United States had the Embassy in Lagos with Consulates in Ibadan, Kaduna, and briefly in Port Harcourt, before the Civil war, and also a USIS post in Kano. With the Nigerian population at 50 million the United States was better and more broadly represented in a Nigeria that produced almost no oil. With an Embassy in Abuja and a Consulate in Lagos, the United States has experienced a “huge loss” in Nigeria today, per A/S Carson. The United States must get back into Enugu and Port Harcourt. “No presence means no access, which leads to no influence. Without influence you have nothing.”
¶7. (C) Akwa Ibom governor Godswill Akpabio was singled out as an impressive governor by Mark Ward. Akpabio has built up infrastructure and industrial development. He is “one to watch” per Ward. Other Southern governors that were highlighted included were Rivers State governor Chibulke Amaechi and Edo State governor Oshiomhole. Fawthrop suggested that USAID has a lot to offer in the South in that if USAID makes a mistake it is OK. If a private company engages in a similar project and makes a mistake you have a FCPA investigation. The Consul General (CG) added that it might be possible to team up with security assets of the IOCs to arrange diplomatic trips to the Niger Delta. This arrangement would not happen “100 percent of the time,” but more often than not, per the CG.
¶8. (C) The PIB is more about taking control and not a real solution, per Mark Ward. XXXXXXXXXXXX There are currently three versions between the Senate, House, and Interagency committee and it is unclear when and what will materialize, according to Ward. Fawthrop added that the PIB amounts to resource nationalization and stated that it costs more than 40 percent to develop the oil as opposed to leaving it in the ground. The current fiscals of the PIB estimate that is costs 25 percent to develop the oil, thereby creating a disincentive. If the oil stays in the ground then billions of development money will go away and the resulting slowdown will be a massive problem. The IOCs received a lecture from a team made up of various GON agencies (the interagency team) in Abuja In a recent meeting in an example of the current level of communication per Fawthrop. The whole group then went to the office of the Vice President where the interagency team stated that there was very good communication between them and the IOCs.
¶9. (C) The large fields, elephants, have all been developed in
LAGOS 00000075 003 OF 005
Nigeria per Fawthrop. What remains are fields one-quarter to one-third the size. The same costs are involved in producing the oil but the revenue will be less because there is less oil. The IOCs need more incentive, not less, in order to develop these fields profitably. What the PIB accomplishes is a disincentive. The downstream sector is very simple in Nigeria in that the refined gas is moved from one tanker to another, to a smaller tanker and then sold. The refining sector, exploration and production sectors are very complex. It is unrealistic for the PIB to try to change all of these areas in one tome of legislation, asserted Fawthrop.
¶10. (C) The gas side of the PIB tries to legislate the delivery of gas rather than incentivize it. “The donkey is tired and beaten. It will not go no matter what you tell it” stated Fawthrop. If the gas price went to two thirds of the world price the IOCs would “cut each others throat” to cut the price by one or two cents. The rest of the IOC members nodded in agreement to this statement by Fawthrop. European gas competition has gas developed on a cost plus basis adding about eight percent to the cost. The model should be based on rate of return and not forced upon operators by legislative decree.
¶11. (C) Whenever gas doubles the cost of electricity goes up by one quarter. Stable electricity will allow industry to flourish in Nigeria but this will not happen 15 months before the elections. Amateur technocrats run the oil and gas sector according to Shell’s Peter Robinson. They believe that they can control the industry via spreadsheets and pushing through the PIB. There are many emotional issues in the PIB with Nigerian politicians believing that they make no money on deep-water projects. Potential banker and businessmen partners do not understand the industry. The GON has made USD 2.5 billion with no investment in the past two years according to Robinson.
¶12. (C) A large problem will be the ten percent of equity that is to go to the communities argued Fawthrop. Equity going into the communities will make them explode. The recipients of the monies will be highly disappointed when they see the amount they will receive, a much larger sum will be expected. Kramer referred to the community equity as the “lawyer relief act” and wondered how one defines an actual community.
¶13. (C) Peter Robinson stated after the meeting that Pedro Van Meurs, the oil consultant hired by the GON to help negotiate with the IOCs, is considering leaving. Van Meurs has been trying to show the GON officials that their fiscal math does not work with the PIB. Van Meurs does not agree with the IOC position completely but sees areas for improvement. One example given to Lagos Econoff by Exxon Mobil Project Manager Anh Tran concerned the levels of cost involved with deep-water projects. Exxon, and other IOCs, maintain that their capital costs are at least 40 percent of deep-water projects while the GON allows for 25 percent capital costs under the PIB. Van Meurs agreed that 25 percent was not adequate.
¶14. (C) It is possible that Nigeria could be a future Pakistan according to A/S Carson. In 25 years, there could be impoverished masses, a wealthy elite and radicalism in the North. The question is whether the oil wells will be dry as well and could Nigeria be on “sustainable and irreversible glide path to a new economic base” per the A/S. When you look at the 2020/20 plan by the GON you see that Nigeria needs to grow by 14 percent a year to
LAGOS 00000075 004 OF 005
be at the current level of Indonesia Fawthrop asserted. That is using today’s figures, which does not take into account Indonesia’s growth Kramer added. Nigeria is growing at five percent now and would need 20 percent growth per annum in energy and USD 22 billion investment in power plants Fawthrop stated. What would happen if Nigeria fell just short of their goals, would there be an alternative plan in place Fawthrop wondered? He cited the example of the 2009 6,000 Megawatt goal. It was apparent early on that the goal was not feasible and an alternative plan could have been devised. The GON insisted that they would reach their goal and did not develop alternatives. The same would hold true for 2020/20 Fawthrop assumed.
¶15. (C) The A/S offered that a forum could be organized in Nigeria with World Bank President Robert Zoellick speaking to a wide audience. Under Secretary for Economic, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs Bob Hormats would be invited as well to lend his knowledge of Africa. The forum would be shaped with the broader picture in mind, not just oil. This would not be sponsored by the IOCs. Members of the business community and individuals that were committed to making oil meaningful to Nigeria’s future would be asked to participate. Talk would center on “over the horizon” issues, where Nigeria has gone right and where it has gone wrong. Two or three fora would be defined with key people to spark debate. Religious tensions, North-South issues, the lack of capacity in the GON, narco-trafficking, the growing irrelevance of Nigeria, as Princeton Lyman has suggested, could be potential subjects. Nigeria is at a critical financial and political threshold and the entire nation could possibly tip backwards permanently, per A/S Carson.
¶16. (C) What is the status of America’s influence in Africa and how does it compare to China, Fawthrop queried? The influence of the United States has increased in Africa, the A/S countered. The United States’ reputation is stable and its popularity is the highest in Africa compared to anywhere else in the world. Obama has helped to increase that influence. “We must manage the expectations of the Obama administration” offered the A/S. The United States does not consider China a military, security or intelligence threat. China is a very aggressive and pernicious economic competitor with no morals. China is not in Africa for altruistic reasons. China is in Africa for China primarily. A secondary reason for China’s presence is to secure votes in the United Nations from African countries. A third reason is to prove that Taiwan is not an issue. There are trip wires for the United States when it comes to China. Is China developing a blue water navy? Have they signed military base agreements? Are they training armies? Have they developed intelligence operations? Once these areas start developing then the United States will start worrying. The United States will continue to push democracy and capitalism while Chinese authoritarian capitalism is politically challenging. The Chinese are dealing with the Mugabe’s and Bashir’s of the world, which is a contrarian political model, A/S Carson stated.
¶17. (C) A/S Carson effectively provided the IOCs with a rationale for the United States’ interest in Nigeria and its commitment to the country. This commitment seems more substantial than the IOCs given the prospect of the PIB and the current state of play in Nigeria. Providing the IOCs with statements of support through continuing if not increasing the USG presence in Nigeria will be important in determining the increasing, decreasing or non-existent role of the IOCs in the future in Nigeria. As the A/S stated, if we can have a substantial presence in Pakistan, why not Nigeria? END COMMENT.
LAGOS 00000075 005 OF 005
¶18. (U) A/S Carson did not have an opportunity to clear this cable before departing post. BLAIR

us embassy cables – Royal Dutch Shell owns the Nigerian govt

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

ABUJA 00001907 003 OF 004

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.

——————————————— —


——————————————— —

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





ABUJA 00001907 004 OF 004


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.


Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua funeral in Katsina, Katsina State, Nigeria

President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua is dead, THISDAY can confirm.
He passed on earlier this night between 9.30 and 10pm
His remains will be flown to his hometown, Katsina, Katsina State early this morning for burial at 2pm.

Turai Yradua plotting behind the scenes to undermine Goodluck Johnathan

AllAfrica: Meanwhile, the core team of President Yar’Adua’s minders, made up of Alhaji Abba Ruma, Agriculture Minister, Mansur Muhtar, Finance Minister and Professor Tanimu Yakubu, Chief Economic Adviser, were in a series of meetings with the First Lady yesterday, at a time when the latter snubbed Acting President Goodluck Jonathan.

Although details of the meetings remained sketchy, a source familiar with the ongoing power tussle in Aso Rock Presidential Villa told Vanguard that “such a meeting couldn’t have dwelt more on any other thing than to cripple the influence of the Acting President.”

Umaru Musa Yar’Adua is president for life – Justice Dan Abutu sitting in a Nigerian kangaroo court

By Ise-Oluwa IGE, Abuja
Vanguard: A Federal high court sitting in Abuja yesterday declared that President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua is not under any obligation to hand_over the executive powers of his office to Vice President Jonathan Goodluck while travelling out of the country for medical treatment.The trial judge, Justice Dan Abutu, also held yesterday that the failure by President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to transmit written declaration to the leadership of the National Assembly informing them of his continued inability to discharge the functions of his office is not unconstitutional.