Nigeria: Much Crime, Little Punishment

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May 29, 2012: The war against Boko Haram is very visible in the Moslem north. There are roadblocks everywhere and a lot more soldiers and police. This is hurting Boko Haram, which has suffered some serious losses (of leaders, bomb making supplies, and technicians) in the last few months. But the Islamic terrorists retain a growing popularity among many Moslems because of the promise to eliminate the corruption that strangles the economy and oppresses every Nigerian every day. President Johnson has been in power for a year and was elected on the promise of making a major effort to curb corruption. There has been a lot of noise about suppressing corruption but little result. Those corrupt officials who are indicted tend to bribe their way past judge, jury, and jailers. There is still lots of crime and not much punishment.

The police are very corrupt and often violent. This means that sending additional police to the Moslem north is likely to cause more violence, rather than reduce it. Curbing police corruption has long been a popular cause but no politician has ever managed to make a dent in the problem.

Decades of effort to eradicate polio are still being compromised by Islamic radicals. There are only small populations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria where polio is still found. In Nigeria Islamic conservatives up north have been preaching against polio vaccinations for years (on the assumption that the medicine is actually a Christian plot to poison Moslems). Polio can be wiped out, like smallpox was back in the 1970s, if you can vaccinate everyone in areas where the disease still exists (as polio and smallpox are diseases that can only live in human hosts). But the Islamic conservatives have been a major barrier to eliminating polio. The current wave of Islamic conservatism was only getting started back in the 1970s, and it continues to grow. The government is making yet another effort to wipe out polio in the Moslem north. It's unclear if Boko Haram will actively oppose this. Apparently, some in Boko Haram do see the polio vaccinations as part of a war against Islam.

May 28, 2012: In the northeast Boko Haram shot dead four Christian merchants. Boko Haram wants to drive all Christians out of the Moslem north and eventually turn the north into an Islamic religious dictatorship.

May 26, 2012: In the north Boko Haram shot dead three card players. Boko Haram considers card playing and most forms of entertainment as sinful and punishable by death.

May 21, 2012: In the capital police arrested a Boko Haram man trying to enter a government building carrying concealed weapons.

In the northeastern city of Maiduguri, two Boko Haram attacks left five dead.

May 19, 2012: In the central Nigerian city of Jos, a police raid uncovered a bomb making workshop. Jos has, for the last few years, been the scene of deadly violence between Moslems and Christians.

May 18, 2012: A government study concluded that theft of oil from pipelines (from tapping into oil pipelines) is costing the government $9 billion a year. Since government income from oil is about $4-5 billion a month that is a major problem. Over the last decade the government made a major effort to curb oil theft by tribal gangs in the Niger Delta. These gangs were preaching rebellion and more oil money for the locals. The government put down this movement by cracking down on the oil theft efforts of these gangs. This led to the discovery that a lot of these oil thefts are carried out under the protection of military and political leaders (who get a cut of the proceeds). All forms of oil theft are believed to account for 5-10 percent of oil production each year. Oil theft is still a major activity for the criminal gangs in Niger Delta. The theft not only reduces government income, it leaves a lot of spilled oil on the ground and in the waterways of the Niger River Delta. The problem has been so bad recently that oil production was down 14 percent in April.

 

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