2008: The oil stealing gangs in the Niger delta have obtained heavy (12.7mm and
larger) machine-guns, and are using them to keep military helicopters away from
major gang camps in remote areas.
2008: Some 30 speedboats full of gunmen
clashed with soldiers in the Niger delta. The gangsters retreated, after losing
at least two dead. This was apparently connected with the recent seizure, by
the army, of three small refineries the gangs had set up, to refine stolen oil
for their own use and sale on the local black market. The army also raided a
gang camp and seized weapons and ammo. The gangs have apparently not offered a
large enough bribes to military commanders, thus the attacks continue.
Meanwhile, another corrupt scam has been revealed when it was publicized that a
$7.6 billion contract for the construction of a major railroad line, was padded
with an additional $800 million (for bribes to government officials), and $250
million was paid out, without authorization from the legislature. This occurred last year, as former president
Olusegun Obasanjo was about to leave office. Obasanjo had pledged to clean up
corruption, but he was surrounded by aides who had other ideas.
2008: A former anti-corruption official was arrested, for no particular reason,
at the graduation ceremony for a training ceremony for a course he was forced
to take. The chief investigator for the national anti-corruption commission,
Nuhu Ribadu, had been ordered, late last year, to stop investigating and take a
yearlong "training course," that senior police commanders like himself are
assigned to periodically. But to most Nigerians, this assignment was an
indication that the corrupt politicians have gotten through to the new
president, and gotten this very effective corruption investigator off their
backs. While taking the course, at least one attempt was made on Ribadus life,
by gunmen that missed. The police also demoted him, without giving a reason
why. But most Nigerians believe corrupt politicians are trying to get rid of
2008: Another oil facility was raked by gang gunfire, as another retaliation
for the seizure of a gang tanker full of stolen oil.
2008: Ten speedboats, each carrying several armed men, attacked an oil facility
with gunfire, but sped away when soldiers guarding the place returned fire.
This incident was believed to be another retaliation, with the implied threat
that things could get worse, for the recent military seizure of a tanker
carrying millions of dollars worth of stolen (by the local gangs) oil to a
2008: A senior anti-corruption official
was forced to resign, after being caught accepting a bribe. The official was
investigating the chief-of-staff for the governor of Rivers state, one of the
states in the Niger delta oil region, for stealing $40 million.
2008: A secret military trial has sentenced six soldiers to life in prison for
selling weapons to Niger Delta criminals from 2000-2006. This proceeding was
kept secret because of growing public anger against the government, which seems
incapable of dealing with growing corruption and poverty. That facts are these.
In the last 37 years, the government has earned over a trillion dollars
($1,190 billion) in oil revenue, most of
which has been stolen or misused. This corruption is the main cause of the
unrest in the country, especially the oil producing areas. Since 1980, the
poverty rate (the percentage of people living on less than $400 a year) has
gone from 28 percent to over 60 percent today. About five percent of the
population lives on over $1,000 a year, and these are usually connected with
the corrupt politicians who have stolen all that oil wealth.
2008: The government has been forced to investigate the assault on a woman by
soldiers. The video of the incident got onto the Internet. The soldiers
involved were the bodyguards for a major general, and the woman was attacked
because she did not get out of the way of the generals convoy fast enough.
Normally, the woman would have no recourse, but because of the video, the army
will go through the motions of convening an investigating panel which will
dither until public attention dies down. This will serve as another irritant
for an increasingly angry public.
2008: MEND rebels seized a cargo ship,
and its ten man crew, in the Niger river delta. This is believed in retaliation
for the recent government seizure of a tanker carrying 28,000 tons of stolen
(by gangs that tap into pipelines) oil. As much was MEND wants social justice
for the people of the Niger delta, they also want to maintain their lucrative oil
stealing operation. The ship and its crew were released a day later.