Nigeria: November 1, 2003


The country is still losing $3-4 million of oil shipments a day because of unrest in the Niger river delta oil fields and shut down pumping and pipeline facilities. While the army and navy are in the area trying to deal with the tribe based pirates and smuggling gangs, those activities have not caused the bad guys to move away or go into hiding.

Meanwhile, in the north, the growth of Islamic conservatism took a macabre turn when the governors of three northern states have banned any further efforts to immunize children against polio. The governors reacted to the charges from Islamic scholars that the polio immunization program was an effort by Christians to poison Moslem children. That sort of rumor has been common in Islamic countries, apparently in reaction to the fact that nearly all the medical (and other) cures come from Christian countries. To many Islamic conservatives, Christians are infidels (non-believers) and capable only of evil actions against Moslems. These rumors are generally ignored by parents eager to keep their children healthy. But the anti-Christian attitudes in northern Nigeria have become stronger and more bizarre because of the popular revulsion against government corruption (the federal government is now dominated by Christians from the south) and the efforts of northern (Moslem) politicians to shift blame for corruption and lawlessness from themselves to somewhere else. So the children are sacrificed. Refusal to have kids immunized is causing northern Nigeria to become a region that is "exporting" polio and other diseases.  


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