FILE ID:97030302.AAF

(Albright Says Nigeria largest courier of Asian heroin) (590)

WASHINGTON -- Nigerian drug trafficking groups "remain the world's
largest couriers of Asian heroin" and are "making inroads into the
traffic of South American cocaine," says Secretary of State Madeleine

Commenting at a briefing February 28 on the State Department's annual
International Narcotics Control Strategy Report on drug trafficking,
Albright said that "Nigerian groups are responsible for bringing in
much of the heroin on our streets.

"In addition, Nigerian groups have established elaborate
money-laundering operations and international fraud scams," she said.
"The Nigerian Government failed to address critical issues, hindering
progress in these areas. It also failed to meet the standards of the
1988 U.N. Vienna Convention."

Nigeria was one of six nations denied certification by President
Clinton for being uncooperative in efforts to prevent drugs from
entering the United States. The others were Afghanistan, Burma,
Colombia, Iran, and Syria.

In the statement of explanation from the department's drug report,
Nigeria was said to be "the focal point of West African trafficking."
The report also asserted that the Government of Nigeria (GON) "has
failed to address corruption adequately among law enforcement and
other government agencies, hindering counternarcotics efforts."

Following is the section of the report that focused on Nigeria:


Nigeria is the focal point of West African narcotics trafficking.
Narcotics producing and trafficking organizations in Asia, South
America and, increasingly, Nigeria itself either use Nigeria as a
transshipment point or rely on Nigerian courier networks to transport
Asian heroin and South American cocaine destined for U.S. or European
markets. Nigerian trafficking organizations are among the leading
carriers of Southeast and Southwest Asian heroin into the United
States. In addition, Nigerian traffickers ship cannabis -- the only
illicit drug produced in Nigeria -- to Europe and other West African
countries. The Government of Nigeria (GON) has failed to address
corruption adequately among law enforcement and other government
agencies, hindering counternarcotics efforts.

Although the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the one
positive internal agency working against drug trafficking in Nigeria,
has attempted to combat trafficking and corruption, the GON has left
it woefully underfunded. Lack of coordination among police,
intelligence and other law enforcement agencies also prevents
effective progress against narco-traffickers.

Nigerian trafficking organizations operate sophisticated
money-laundering operations in addition to controlling courier
networks. These organizations have been quick to adapt in response to
vigorous international law enforcement, as well as to efforts made by
the NDLEA within Nigeria. They have found new ways to evade detection
and to alter and expand their narcotics smuggling routes and markets;
as GON counternarcotics efforts have effectively reduced the amount of
drugs shipped through international airports within Nigeria, courier
networks have increasingly relied on overland shipments to transport
narcotics. Nigerian trafficking organizations actively recruit
couriers of diverse nationalities, backgrounds and ages.

Perhaps the most glaring omission by the GON is its failure to provide
funding for its law enforcement employees, thus making them ever more
vulnerable to bribery and related forms of corruption, and to provide
funding for implementation of its laws and strategies. Most law
enforcement employees are paid far less than is sufficient to feed,
clothe and house their families. In addition, the GON has taken no
meaningful steps towards cooperation with the United States on
extraditions, information sharing or prosecution of arrested fraud
suspects; nor has it moved significantly towards meeting the goals and
objectives of the 1988 U.N. Drug Convention.