Nigeria: Forget Politics, Show Me The Money

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September 14, 2007: Unrest continues in the Moslem north, where religious fanatics are becoming more violent, and in the oil rich Niger River delta, where locals are trying to gain control of more of the oil revenue. In the north, politicians are using religion to deal with the general disgust with corrupt officials. People are urged to go after Christians and those who are not religious enough. The government corruption continues, and it's difficult to argue with the call for "more religion." This is an old scam, world wide, and works particularly well in Moslem countries, because Islam is quite explicit about how the religious should get involved in secular government, especially if there is corruption and bad rule in general.

Meanwhile, in the south, tribe based groups continue to demand, or just take, a larger cut of the oil wealth. Most of the violence is more criminal than political, with immediate economic gain taking priority. The gangs that politicians long subsidized, for attacking opponents and intimidating voters, are increasingly independent. Recently, in the south west, one of these gangs kidnapped eleven local politicians and are holding them for $4 million in ransom. The greed of the gangs works in the governments favor. As long as the gangs are intent on getting rich, they aren't trying too hard to replace the government. But at the same time, government control grows weaker as the anarchy spreads. Government anti-corruption and reform attempts are crippled by the extent of the corruption throughout the government.

 

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