Nigeria: Religion And Oil Do Not Mix

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April 2, 2013: The government refuses to offer amnesty to get a peace deal with Boko Haram. Many northern leaders back amnesty but admit that this alone is not likely to end the Islamic terrorism up there and, increasingly, in the Christian south. If there is amnesty, northern leaders feel they will be less vulnerable to personal attack. A growing number of assassination attacks are being made on Moslem leaders in the north. The federal government believes they have Boko Haram on the defensive and feel they can crush the group without any amnesty deals.

Boko Haram enjoys some popularity up north because of the ancient animosity between Moslems and Christians. This is particularly touchy in Nigeria because the oil (the main source of wealth in the country) is in the north. Both Christian and Moslem leaders have managed to avoid a civil war over the oil issue by deliberately sharing the wealth. But these same leaders have plundered most of the oil income for themselves, their families, and political allies. This has left most Nigerians angry, not just at the theft of oil money but the corruption of the justice system that makes it nearly impossible to prosecute and punish the thieves.

Boko Haram has gained some traction by claiming that this is all a religious issue and that only through Moslems, by embracing Islamic law (sharia), can the corruption and stealing be halted. Moslems, unlike Christians, have in sharia a system that enables people to be ruled by their clerics. There is nothing like this in Christianity, which has always recognized the separation of church and state. Islam is based on no such separation. In practice, living under sharia does not work very well and has constantly lost out to secular rule. Islamic clerics ignore the thousand years of failure and continue to preach that sharia is the solution.

Another portion of the oil operations in the Niger River delta has been shut down because of the rampant oil theft and resulting pollution from the holes the thieves make in the pipelines. This time production of about 40,000 barrels a day will be halted until the mess can be cleaned up and repairs made. The government has been unable to halt this sort of thing, in part because some of the oil stealing gangs have patrons in the government, who take a share of the profits. Most of the oil thieves who are arrested tend to be the smaller operators who do not have a friend in government.

April 1, 2013: In central Nigeria (Jos) police discovered an abandoned bomb workshop when a building owner called to have police evict a business tenant who had not paid rent for six months. The tenant had not been around all that time but his locked shop contained explosives and bomb making equipment, as well as uniforms.

March 31, 2013: In the north (Kaduna State) violence between Christian and Moslem tribes left 19 Christians (mainly women and children) dead after their village was attacked by armed Moslems. Elsewhere in the north (Kano) police raided a Boko Haram hideout and interrupted preparations for an attack on Christians. The battle left 14 terrorists and one policeman dead.

March 30, 2013: In central Nigeria (Plateau State) several days of violence between Christian and Moslem tribes has left at least fifty dead.

March 29, 2013: In the north (Kano) police raided a Boko Haram bomb workshop and arrested five terrorists and seized bombs and bomb making equipment.

March 26, 2013: Three more foreigners (Lebanese) were kidnapped for ransom in the south. Islamic terrorists (Ansaru) have been doing this but it’s unclear if this incident was carried out by the religious fanatics.

 

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