Nigeria: Senseless Violence As An Opportunity

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November 14, 2012: The Boko Haram terror attacks (bombings and assassinations) have made it possible for the Islamic radicals to change behavior via threats. In a growing number of towns and cities Boko Haram is forcing schools (except approved Islamic ones) and businesses (especially those dealing in alcohol, videos, and music) to shut down.

Boko Haram continues to offer peace talks but only if the security forces cease operations against Boko Haram and all imprisoned Boko Haram members are released. Public opinion is overwhelmingly against this, and, so far, so is the government. Even in the north Boko Haram has managed to make itself unpopular, even though many people agree with the Islamic radical groups call for less corruption and crime. Like the Taliban (which they openly model themselves on) Boko Haram appears as killers and gangsters to the people they claim to serve. Boko Haram finances itself by demanding contributions from locals, especially those who own businesses and try to enforce lifestyle rules (no cards, music, video, booze, and so on) and forcible conversion of non-Moslems. The security forces have struck back, killing or capturing many Boko Haram leaders and bases (along with weapons and bomb making equipment). Lots of innocent civilians have been killed or arrested in these operations, which is typical of how the security forces operate. Despite that, Boko Haram still has a lot of fans, and potential recruits, among young Moslems (and some Moslem politicians, who see opportunities where others see only senseless violence).

November 13, 2012: The IEA (International Energy Agency) released a report pointing out that oil theft, and the damage it causes to pipelines, has been the principal reason that Nigerian oil production is declining (from 2.5 million barrels a day to 1.95 million over the last two years). The large scale stealing is now causing annual losses of $7 billion. The IEA is a member organization supported by 28 Western countries that depend on oil imports. The oil thefts have been the main reason for oil pollution, which tends to get blamed on the oil companies (who are foreigners) not the thieves (who are Nigerians). In response to the growing problems with oil thieves and complaints from locals (about the oil spills and other damage caused by the thieves) the foreign oil companies are shutting down land-based wells and putting more effort into developing off-shore wells. Those are easier to guard and much more difficult to steal from.

November 10, 2012: In the north (Yobe state) Boko Haram invaded the homes of Christians and killed five of them. The victims were Igbos from southeastern Nigeria, so the attack will stir up anger in the south, which is mostly Christian.

November 9, 2012: In the north (Yobe state) Boko Haram attacked a police station and killed three policemen.

 


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