Nigeria: March 6, 2001


The leader of a major vigilante group, the Bakassi Boys, was arrested as a suspect in the murder of a politician. The federal government has banned the vigilante groups, but the leaders of three southern states have put the local vigilantes on the payroll. The states are not allowed to have their own police. The only police are the federal police and they are very corrupt and ineffective. The result has been increasing lawlessness, as criminals know the police are more interested in bribes than public order. The northern states introduced Sharia Law, and religious vigilantes, to stem the crime rate. The Bakassi Boys, operating in Anambra state, have been among the more successful vigilantes. But as every Nigerian knows, if you go after criminals, you're going to catch a lot of politicians. 


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