March 13, 2013: The government has bought 35 special desert terrain vehicles for its 1,200 peacekeepers in Mali. It was also announced that most of these troops would only serve six months in Mali before being replaced. All Nigerian troops sent to Mali would first go through several weeks’ of peacekeeper training.
Foreign oil companies operating the oil wells and pipelines in the Niger Delta warned the government that continuing oil theft (by tapping into pipelines and then leaving with stolen oil while the leak continues to pollute the waterways) has caused such frequent pipeline shut downs that contractual quantities of oil will not be available for shipment. Four years ago the peace deal in the Niger Delta allowed oil shipments to increase from 1.8 million barrels a day to 2.2 million. The government hoped to increase that to 3.7 million barrels a day. The previous peak was 2.6 million barrels a day seven years ago (before the Niger Rebels got going and oil theft became a much larger problem). It proved impossible to get back to 2.6 million because many of the oil stealing gangs did not accept the amnesty and peace deal. These gangs had grown rich by stealing oil and staying out of the revolution business. While MEND and their ilk stole oil to finance their revolution, the hard core oil thieves stole oil to make a lot of money. The military concentrated their efforts on the oil thefts by the rebel groups, giving the non-political oil stealing gangs an edge. So oil facilities are still being damaged, so the gangs can steal oil. After 2009, many politicians made deals to sponsor oil stealing gangs, using their clout to deflect the security forces from the oil thieves they backed (for a share of the profits). Thus oil shipments are stuck at about two million barrels a day. Moreover, the oil is proving more difficult to sell, because of the huge quantities of oil and gas coming on the market in North America (because decades old fracking techniques had been perfected in the last decade). All this makes little difference to most Nigerians because most of the oil money in Nigeria has been stolen over the last half century.
March 12, 2013: In the north (Kano State) someone shot and wounded three teachers at a primary school. Boko Haram wants to shut down all secular schools used by Moslems and allow only religious schools.
March 10, 2013: The government said it will not yet consider an amnesty for Boko Haram members, at least not yet. Meanwhile, in the last ten days security forces have killed 53 Boko Haram men and arrested 70.
Ansaru (a more radical Boko Haram faction) released a video on the Internet showing the bodies of seven foreigners (British, Italian, Greek, and four Lebanese) they had claimed to have killed yesterday. The men were seized last month from a construction site in the north (Bauchi State). The seven were taken from a construction site and Boko Haram splinter group Ansaru demanded all imprisoned Islamic terrorists be freed to get the seven foreigners released. The government refused. Ansaru claimed to have kidnapped and killed the seven foreigners partly in response to the French attack on al Qaeda in northern Mali.
March 5, 2013: The top Moslem cleric in the country (Mohammed Abubaka) called for the government to offer a complete amnesty for Boko Haram men who surrender. Abubaka wants a deal similar to that offered to tribal rebels in the Niger River Delta four years ago. That amnesty did not stop the violence in the delta but did reduce it.