Nigeria: Something To Kill For

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January 8, 2008: The highly effective Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which was putting many senior politicians in jail, or at least in court, is being dismantled. The corrupt politicians had more power than those being pressured by the public to really do something about corruption. The government is describing the destruction of the EFCC as a "reorganization." Meanwhile, in the Niger Delta oil region, the military is going after the many private armies that exist there. Most are aligned with politicians, and the army is taking down those groups that are least popular, or most unruly, at the moment. Raids are particularly keen on seizing stores of weapons and ammo. With these, a warlord can quickly expand his force by arming many temps.

Some of the political gangs in the Delta region have not responded well to recent police attacks. On New Year's Day, there were a series of deadly attacks in Port Harcourt, the largest city in the Delta. At least 18 were killed. Two of the targets were police stations. Several groups of gunmen entered the city at the same time, shot up their targets, and sped away.

The separatist groups like MEND have threatened to shut down the entire oil operation this year, if the government does not grant the tribes in the Delta a larger share of the oil wealth. The politicians don't want to do this, but they don't want to admit that either. However, it all comes down to the money, and people will kill for a share of that oil revenue.

 

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