Nigeria: Little Feat

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September 10, 2009: The 60 day amnesty period ends on September 15th, and only a small fraction (less than ten percent) of the armed rebels in the Niger Delta, have turned in their weapons. The relative peace of the amnesty period has enabled the oil companies to repair a lot of rebel damage, and the country is now exporting 1.7 million barrels a day (up from the pre-amnesty low of 1.2 million). But the peace is not expected to last. The rebels who already accepted the amnesty are loudly letting everyone know that the promised cash payments, and "transition training" have not appeared yet. Many rebels believe that the amnesty deal is just another scam, where government officials promise a lot, then steal most of the goodies for themselves.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC, the anti-corruption organization) is now going after corrupt bankers who facilitated much of the fiscal corruption in the country. Four senior bank officials have been charged, but dozens more have not.  Five banks, accounting for 40 percent of the nations banking activity, are under investigation. According to a World Economic Forum survey, Nigeria has slipped in the Global Competitiveness rankings (from 95 to 99, out of 133 nations).  Nigeria's low ranking is largely the result of corruption and poor government.

The Niger Delta violence is almost certain to return this month, and anti-corruption efforts are having a minor impact on the thieves in government and business.

 

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