Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Nigeria: peacekeeping missiles!

And why does Nigeria need ballistic missiles?
[Nigerian VP's spokesperson Onukaba] Ojo said that missiles would add to Nigeria's defensive capabilities.

"Nigeria has a very formidable military ... I'm sure it's not out of place to want to fortify ourselves. Nigeria is not a belligerent nation, we don't make wars," he said.

"Anything we do is for the defence of our country and peacekeeping in west Africa," he said.
The Reuters story says Nigeria already has missiles.
A Western diplomatic source said Nigeria already had a supply of Soviet surface-to-air missiles, but that they were in a poor state of repair.
I have not found mention of Nigeria's existing stock anywhere else. However, Nuclear Threat Initiative compiles news items related to the weapons trade. Check out the story summarized on Jan 15, 2002.
Iran and Nigeria express interest in establishing weapons deals, which could include the sale of missiles. An Iranian official said that Iran has "developed an array of missile systems that have been tested and acknowledged for their strength...We would like to cooperate in this regard with our brother Nigeria." On 6 January, however, former president and head of Iran's Expediency Council Hashemi Rafsanjani said, "Iran does not sell weapons and is not interested in arms sales." Nigeria's Defense Minister Theophilous Danjuma had previously indicated that Nigeria would buy weapons from Iran if the prices were appropriate.
This Federation of American Scientists report from 2000 on the proliferation of missile technology does not have Nigeria on the list either. Note the data is five years old ... also note that DRC is thought to have missiles, sold to it by Iran.

It is unlikely that Nigeria has nuclear ambitions.
Some sources suggest that Nigeria had nuclear weapons intentions at one time, but these claims are un-substantiated.
Nigerian VP's spokesperson Onukaba Ojo ...
"I'm sure that Nigeria is not dreaming of nuclear weapons at all, just missile technology," he said, adding that a "multi-use foundry" also discussed at Tuesday's meeting would be for civilian use. (link)
In 2002, Nigeria also signed the International Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation
Recognition of the need comprehensively to prevent and curb the proliferation of Ballistic Missile systems capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction ....
And check out the coverage, in the Nigerian media, of VP Atiku's meeting with his DPRK counterpart.
... Atiku Abubakar on Tuesday reiterated Nigeria’s desire for a peaceful world devoid of constant threat of nuclear war.

... Atiku said Nigeria understood the antecedents of North Korea’s nuclear programme and expressed Nigeria’s wish for a peaceful use of such programme. (link)