Nigeria: A Fatal Mistake


September 13, 2012: Oil has been discovered in the northeast, near the Chad border (where oil has already been discovered and wells are producing). The problem will be enticing foreign oil companies to drill and develop oil production. The north is suffering from an outbreak of Islamic terrorism and the local officials are, in the best of times, very corrupt and uncooperative. Then there are the many problems oil companies have had in the south (Niger Delta) where the corruption and chaos have been so bad that some foreign oil companies have given up and left.

Five of nine Nigerian airlines have collapsed this year, in part because of corrupt practices and in part because many Nigerians are afraid to fly Nigerian owned airliners because there have been so many crashes (the result of hiring the wrong people and managers stealing money meant for maintenance).

September 11, 2012: Near the northeastern city of Maiduguri police raided a Boko Haram base and arrested eleven suspected terrorists and seized 19 bombs, seven assault rifles, and over 1,500 rounds of rifle ammo.

September 10, 2012: In the north (Borno State) police raided what turned out to be a Boko Haram headquarters and arrested five terrorist commanders and seven other Boko Haram members. Also seized were 36 bombs, bomb making materials, weapons, and ammo plus computers, radios, and documents.

September 7, 2012: Near the northeastern city of Maiduguri troops clashed with Boko Haram gunmen, killing three and capturing 13.

Over the last two days Boko Haram gunmen have destroyed 24 cell phone towers and other facilities, killing 16 people as they did so. Boko Haram also threatened to kill members of local and foreign media who publish unfavorable items about Boko Haram. The Islamic terror group accuses the cell phone companies of cooperating with the government in tracking down Boko Haram members.  The government has since assigned security personnel to guard all cell phone company facilities, but this will not stop attacks because there are not enough guards to go around and Boko Haram can still mass larger numbers of attackers. These attacks have made Boko Haram even more unpopular because Nigerians are quite fond of their cell phones and have come to depend on them. The cell phone system attacks may have had something to do with the sudden increase in citizen tips the police have received about where Boko Haram hideouts are.

September 4, 2012: Pirates attacked a small (30,000 ton) tanker off the coast and seized it. But the crew had a secure safe room prepared and all 23 crew members locked themselves into the safe room and got in touch with the Nigerian Navy. The pirates fled before a warship showed up after midnight. Normally the pirates seek to take the crew by surprise at night, cut all communications, and turn off the satellite transponder (which shows the owner where the ship is at all times). The pirates then lock up the crew, steer the ship towards a waiting tanker, steal as much of the cargo as they can, and then depart with all the portable valuables. The stolen oil is sold, at a big discount, to oil brokers who specialize in stolen oil. The ship is usually soon found and the crew released. Attacks like this have happened three times in the last two weeks, all in the same area (the Gulf of Guinea).


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