Nigeria: Stealing and Shooting


September 17, 2006: Foreign oil firms are passing on their increased security costs to the government. The foreign companies are threatening to pull out, which is another way of saying the government must pay the firms more money, or see oil production shut down. This is another cost of the corruption and bad management that has stirred up a growing rebellion in the Niger Delta region. The worst aspect of this situation is that the rebels are getting better organized, and have so far created a standoff situation with the military and national police.
September 13, 2006: Oil worker unions staged a one day strike to protect a lack of security. Bandits and political gangs are increasingly going after oil workers. While kidnapped foreign workers get a lot of attention, the Nigerian workers are more frequently attacked (often fatally) and robbed. Thousands of Nigerian oil workers are out and about every day, in trucks and small boats, tending to the huge oil infrastructure in the Delta. These men are increasingly seen as lucrative targets for criminals and rebels.
September 12, 2006: In the Delta oil region, local gangs are refusing to allow repair teams to fix damaged (by thieves or rebels) pipelines. It used to be that you could pay off the local thugs, but now the rebels are not allowing repairs as a way to pressure the government to hand over more oil money to tribal chiefs and gang leaders. The military does not have sufficient troops to provide security teams for all the repair personnel.
September 11, 2006: Government corruption investigators seized $13.5 million from Patience Jonathan, the wife of the governor of Bayelsa State ( Goodluck Jonathan). The money was being laundered and is believed to be stolen oil revenue that should have gone to the public treasury. The previous governor of Bayelsa State had been arrested in Britain on corruption related charges, returned to Nigeria, impeached (governors cannot be prosecuted) and prosecuted. Goodluck Jonathan is the new governor, and is now being investigated for corruption. The culture of corruption is entrenched, and taken for granted by most government officials. Nigeria has earned over $400 billion in oil revenues since 1960, and most of it has been stolen by corrupt officials.
September 10, 2006: An international survey found Nigeria ranked 108 out of 175 nations in "ease of starting a business." The numerous regulations a new business must navigate are there mainly to provide government officials with opportunities for stealing money (bribes and embezzlement). This sort of thing creates unemployment and resentment towards the government and is a principal cause of violence and unrest throughout the country.




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