Nigeria: Corruption In The Army


August 24, 2008:  Newly elected president Umaru Yar'Adua has replaced the senior leadership of the army. This was partly in response to the failure of the army to deal with the armed rebel groups in the Niger river oil region. There was also criticism of troops performing poorly, and misbehaving (rape, robbery and murder) against civilians. The government is also keen to reduce corruption in the army. Earlier this year, the army appointed a new commander for the Niger delta region, with orders to crack down on the oil theft. This was followed by accusations, by civilians in the oil region, that the army has often become partners with some of the oil theft gangs. Last month, Britain agreed to send a major army training mission, to upgrade the leadership and management skills of Nigerian NCOs and officers.

August 19, 2008: Near Port Harcourt, in the Niger delta, a battle broke out between criminal gangs. Hundreds of civilians fled, and there were several dozen casualties. The millions of dollars made each month by stealing oil has left thousands of young men in the delta region armed, and organized into highly competitive, and trigger happy, gangs.

August 15, 2008: In the Niger delta, rebels ambushed to navy gunboats, which immediately returned fire. When the action was over, one sailor and twelve rebels were dead. MEND denied that the attackers were theirs.

August 14, 2008: Despite recent attacks, by armed Nigerian nationalist groups, on Cameroonian troops in the Bakassi peninsula, the two year process of turning it over to Cameroon has completed. This oil rich area used to be Nigerian, but an international court awarded it to Cameroon. Nigeria began handing it over two years ago, but some Nigerian groups have continued to fight for a return to Nigerian rule.

August 12, 2008: Britain, like many other Western nations, continues to warn its citizens to stay away from Nigeria's oil region (the Niger river delta), because of the threat of kidnapping and crime in general.


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