Nigeria reached a peak daily
production of 2.5 million barrels in 2005. Since then, a third of oil
production has been shut down by criminal gangs and tribal violence in the
Niger Delta. As a result, Angola, by producing 1.87 million barrels a day has,
for the first time passed Nigeria.
MEND organization says it speaks for the tribes in the Niger Delta, that outfit
is led by gangsters who have grown wealthy by stealing oil for years, and has
other interests as well. The stealing continues, in addition to increasing
kidnapping and other forms of crime. The gangs are still making money, and the
politics is a sideline. Because of this situation, the government has a tough,
seemingly impossible, time calming down the Delta. The money is an excellent
incentive, and the added sense of oppression just gives the gangs a political
and recruiting boost. Now thus there are several major incidents a week,
including more attacks on sailors, troops and private contractors guarding oil
facilities. Attempts to arrange peace
talks have failed because of disagreements who the government negotiators will
be, and what will be up for negotiation.
2008: The new head of the
Anti-Corruption Commission has removed the Director of Department of Petroleum
Resources (who approves oil industry contracts) as part of a corruption
investigation into activities last year.
2008: Cameroonian troops moved into
Bakassi, seeking the kidnapped officials and soldiers. Hundreds of Nigerian
residents of the area fled, fearing what the Cameroonian soldiers might do to
them. About 90 percent of the Bakassi population is still Nigerian. Last Fall,
a Nigerian gang attacked a Cameroonian army outpost, killing twenty soldiers.
2008: In the Bakassi peninsula, which
was recently taken over (after years of lawsuits and negotiation) by Cameroon,
from Nigeria, a Cameroonian official (and his security detail of five soldiers)
were ambushed and abducted by Nigerian gangsters. Bakassi is near the Niger
Delta, and one of many parts of the Gulf of Guinea that are now suffering
attacks by armed gangs that got their start in the Niger Delta violence. There
is nearly 4,000 kilometers of coastline in the Gulf, and impossible to patrol
or police with the forces currently available.
2008: The kidnappings in the oil region
(Niger Delta) continue, with over 200 foreigners taken in the last 30 months,
and many more Nigerians (usually family of prominent politicians or