Nigeria: Oil War


February 11, 2006: The tribal rebels, in the Niger Delta oil region, are threatening a major offensive this month. The rebels say they can shut down oil shipments. The army, navy and police have reinforced the region, and doubt that the rebels have the numbers to really make a difference. Most of the armed men in the Delta are keen on protecting their oil stealing business. The rebels, who are calling for overthrow of the government, are at odds with the oil gangsters who don't want to ruin the good deal they have going. But the rebels believe the locals should get a legitimate cut of the oil revenue. However, the real problem is corrupt government officials, who can be quite ruthless in holding on to what they got.

February 10, 2006: Kano State, one of the northern Moslem states that introduced Islamic Sharia law in 2000, is under investigation by the federal government for trying to get foreign money to fund an Islamic militia. The Kano state government had set up an organization, Hisbah, of men who would go around enforcing Islamic law. For example, in the last two months, Hisbah has seized over 2,000 motorcycles from men who were caught carrying a woman on the back. This was declared "unIslamic," and punishable by confiscation of your motorcycle or moped. Hisbah is not popular, partly because the group cracked down on alcohol and prostitution as well. The federal government is now trying to shut down Hisbah, a move that is resisted by the state government.

Meanwhile, the governor of Plateau state said that he had taken $10 million from his budget and used it to pay for campaigning expenses in the recent national elections. The governor is making these allegations in reprisal for his getting indicted for corruption.


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