Nigeria: The Big Thieves Are Getting Organized

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November 11, 2013: Anti-corruption investigators are uncovering the details of how so much of the oil income is being stolen. One scam involves foreign oil brokers who arrange for oil exports to be sold at artificially low rates and the difference (between that and the real price) to be shared by the brokers and corrupt Nigerian officials. Nearly $7 billion in stolen oil income has been traced to this scheme so far. Punishing the thieves is time-consuming and difficult because the thieves can afford lots of lawyers and litigation to slow down (or buy off) Nigerian prosecutors.

Corrupt officials with lots of money and lawyers are not the only problem. The state governors tend to be the most corrupt senior officials and some of them appear to be organizing a legislative effort to make it more difficult to prosecute corrupt politicians. There are many of these local politicians, working their way up in corrupt local political organizations with the ultimate goal of being elected governor of a state and being able to amass a large fortune (and then retire outside of Nigeria, in some place without an extradition treaty). The thieves are getting organized.

The piracy problem off the coast is getting worse, in part because some navy personnel have been bribed to assist the pirates. This makes it dangerous for anyone (especially local or foreign journalists) to investigate the situation. People who do so often disappear, although sometimes their bodies are later found off the coast.

November 9, 2013: In central Nigeria (Benue State) hundreds of armed Fulani tribesmen attacked seven Agatu villages and killed over 40 people, while losing at least a dozen of their own. Over 6,000 Agatu fled the violence as the army rushed troops to the site of the violence. This follows Fulani raids on two Agatu villages on the 7th. The Agatu are Christians and farmers and have been at odds with the Moslem Fulani since the Fulani began forcing their way into the area during the 19th century. The victims of these raids are often Christian farmers, while the Fulani, who tend herds of cattle and mostly Moslem, are often the attackers. The Christian farmers and Moslem herders constantly argue over land and water.

In the north (outside Kano) a clash left five Boko Haram men and two soldiers dead. This was the result of a raid on a house reported to be used by Boko Haram. The Islamic terrorists had not been seen in Kano for several months, and this incident appears to indicate that Boko Haram is trying reestablish itself in Kano.  

November 2, 2013: In the north (Borno state) Boko Haram gunmen ambushed several vehicles carrying a Christian man to his wedding, along with other members his family. The Islamic terrorists killed 30 Christians, including the bridegroom during this attack. The Islamic terrorists also made two other attacks in the area, damaging a bridge and burning down a police station (and killing four police). But the attack on the Christians was seen by the southern half of Nigeria as another example of religious intolerance and increased the risk of anti-Moslem violence in the south. Boko Haram is all for this because they believe that Moslems are inherently superior and would prevail in a civil war.

November 1, 2013: In the northern city of Maiduguri troops destroyed two vehicles used by Boko Haram. This was a result of more frequent military patrols on the main roads. This did not prevent Boko Haram from setting up a roadblock outside Maiduguri, stopping a bus and kidnapping two female passengers.

The air force and army continue to search for and raid Boko Haram camps out in the forests and hills of the northeast. The military are depending on tips from civilians, which are then confirmed from the air by the air force. Often the air force will then bomb the Boko Haram camps as soldiers are rushed to the area to search the camp and take care of any Boko Haram men still in the area. The army claims to have killed nearly 50 Islamic terrorists this way in the last few days.

In the southwest (Osun state) at least two people were killed in another outbreak of tribal violence.

October 31, 2013: In the north (Borno state) Boko Haram attacked two towns, killing at least 40 civilians and burning hundreds of buildings. The army went after the fleeing Islamic terrorists and killed at least seven of them.

October 30, 2013: In the south (Edo state) at least 10 people were killed in another outbreak of tribal violence.

 

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