Ty Fenton

Nigeria riots: 'Our homes were razed'

Villages within the Jos region of Nigeria have found themselves under attack by brutal and merciless Nigerians. Jos is separated from the majority of Nigeria by religion. the majority of Nigerians living within Jos practice christianity. However these attacks, which have left entire villages burned to the ground with few surviviors, are said to be more political than religious. Jos in addition to being seperated by religion has a notorious political history with many accusations of scandals and corruption. However, no history of corruption can truly justify these actions. Awalu Mohamed was one of the first to arrive in the mining village of Kuru Karama to discover burned human remains and corpses thrown into communal wells and sewage pits. Mr. Mohamed went on to describe how he watched aid workers pull 62 bodies out of a well, while leaving more down because they could not reach. "We went to one family and found the entire family there, 20-something of them, including the small, small kids. All of them burned to ashes," he says. Perhaps the most powerful statment came later. ''Of those that came, there were known and unknown faces. The worst part is that those who were known, were our friends.''
Nigeria is extremely backwards right now. Although they may to making advances in terms of their image and what they claim to be doing, events like this are proof that there is no real advancements being made. The pure scope and magnitude of this massacre too has shown that this is not an isolated rebel group, but a majoirty cause. The government needs to step in and defend their people if they hope to continue to rule without civil war.
The comparisons are similar to many other african or third world countries in which diverse segments of the population are pitted against once another. Disputes like this never benfit anyone and often cause political distablility.

Emily Jackson

Nigeria court delays sick President Yar'Adua cases

Summary: Three Nigerian court cases concerning the leadership of the government while President Yar'Adua is being treated in a Saudi Arabian hospital have been adjourned. Critics say it was illegal for the president to take an extended leave of absence without formally transferring power to his vice-president; however, a court ruling on Wednesday said that the constitution did not require the president to transfer power. He has beeen receiving treatment for pericarditis since November 23rd, and even his senior cabinet members have admitted that they did not know when he would return. On December 23rd, the first court case was filed, asking him to step down. The second two were filed on January 5th, with a human rights group pressuring the government to label the president as "missing". On January 12th, he gave his first speech since disappearing to Saudi Arabia. Because of his prolonged absence, it had been speculated that he was brain damaged or dead. Vice President Goodluck Jonathan has been acting president, but come under heavy fire from critics who say he has no right to be in this position because Yar'Adua has not formally relinquished his power. Similarly, on December 30 a new chief justice was sworn in, and the government was also criticized for this, saying that this was illegal in the absence of the president. The first case, in which all decisions made by the cabinet in the president's absence would be annulled, has been adjourned indefinitely. The second, which would formally pass all presidential power to Jonathan, has been adjourned until January 21st; the third, which would declare the president "missing", till January 22nd. In his speech on Tuesday, Yar'Adua said he was recovering and hoped to soon resume his duties.
Analysis: This internal conflict could prove problematic for Nigeria. With the president absent, focus on this could trump focus on international relations, the oil market and ethnic instability within Nigeria.

Taylor Rogalski
Maduekwe summons US envoy over anti-Nigeria measures
Summary: Foreign Affairs Minister Maduekwe has stated the official reaction to Nigeria's inclusion on the US list of countries with a high security list, and he is certainly not pleased. "The new security measures by the US targeted at Nigerians is an unacceptable gift to a friendly country.", he stated. This action by the United States was provoked primarily by the attempted Christmas Day airplane bombing by Nigerian Muslim Umar Faruk Abdumutallab. Washington has recently implemented a policy that compels mandatory full-body searches of all Nigerians in airports, which was shortly ordered to be repealed by the Supreme Court. The United States has been warned that if they did not repeal the addition of Nigeria to the watch list, then it faces the threat of engaging Abuja's political machinery in full gear. The addition has been called both counterproductive and drastic, and as the story is developing rapidly, time can only tell how the two countries will settle this disagreement.
Analysis: Considering the relatively peaceful relations between the US and Nigeria over previous years, the addition of Nigeria to the high-risk watch list seems over the top at best. Only one Nigerian's attempted terrorist attack provoked this, and somehow in the logic of the US legislature, this is enough grounds to cast aside many years of amicable relations with the entire country. The threat here is clearly not Nigeria itself, it is the drastic measures of radical Islam. Abudmutallab could have been from any country; he still likely would have taken on the same opinions during his travels in Britain. If the US continues to be so quick to point fingers, then they surely will have some serious troubles with foreign relations in the near future.
Taylor Rogalski
http://nigeriaworld.com/columnist/uzokwe/113009.htmlFree Election Promise: Can Iwu Be Believed?
Summary: Head of the Independent National Electoral Committee Maurice Iwu claims that his agency is working to make the upcoming Nigerian election fair and completely democratic. He promises to implement officials that will oversee election results in order to ensure that no corruption is afoot. However, many are questioning Iwu's honesty, given that his track record does not reflect very much integrity.
Analysis: Nigerians are finding it very hard to believe that Iwu is a changed man, given his spotty track record. Many are righteously hesitant to take his word, seeing that he may be playing the public into his hands. In a country where officials can (and have been known to) do what they please, the public must be careful who they believe, especially Iwu, who is coming off currently as a bit of a snake oil salesman.
Comparison: The electoral fraud that may be afoot here can be related to the situation in Iran. If Iwu does not keep his word and Nigeria is not permitted a free and fair election as they have been promised, then a world-wide controversy may spark just as it did in Iran. There is really no telling at this point, but this situation may evolve to being eerily reminiscent of Iran's elections last year.

Cullin Moran
Fuel scarcity bites harder in Abuja, queues resume in Lagos
Summary: In Nigeria's capital city Abuja yesterday, commuters were stuck in long lines to get fuel because of the scarcity of petroleum products in Nigeria. Many gas stations had a small supply of gasoline left, but stations were flooded yesterday, leaving nearly every one out of supply. Many commuters were left stranded at bus stops, as the price of transportation has “shut up by about 30 per cent.” (No typos here, see article paragraph five.) In Lagos, the situation was worsened by petroleum tankers' threats to “down tools in protest over bad roads and other contractual agreements, which they said the government had not fulfilled.” The Minister of State for Petroleum Odein Ajumogobia assured that the federal government planned to do everything in its power “to ensure that fuel supply eases in the metropolis.“
Analysis: Nigeria's petroleum situation seems to be pretty bad, as the country struggles to maintain a steady flow of petroleum-based products to people that need them. Mallam Ahmad Gwarzo, the Suleja Depot Manager, says that there were 110 tankers loaded with “product” ready to depart from the petrol station, but they received an order from the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers to stop loading the tankers.
Comparison: This type of situation also occurs frequently in places like The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. A lot of what happens in a situation like this is under corporation control, and the government cannot do much to help.

Emily Jackson

Govt reaps N1.8tr in oil royalties, taxes

Summary: Over the past four years, since the Producing Sharing Contract (PSC) partnership began, the Nigerian federal government has made over 1.8 trillion Nigerian dollars- the equivalent of over 13 billion US dollars- from exploration in deepwater oil blocks. Companies involved in the PSC include Shell, Chevron, Addax Petroleum, Oando, Total, Conoco-Philips and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. These multinationals, among others, have invested 2.9 trillion Nigerian dollars ($21 billion) in deepwater exploration through the PSC.
Analysis: The fact that the government is making all this money off of Nigeria's oil production- especially since Nigeria is the world's eighth largest oil exporter and petroleum makes up 95% of the country's exports- is completely ridiculous. In the article, Minister of Defence Godwin Abbe told the multinationals that "it is an absurdity for oil establishments to live in affluence in one part of the region with all the basic amenities while the neighbouring communities are wallowing in poverty and squalor. It is becoming unacceptable to continue to operate under conditions which do not meet modern standards such as good neighbourliness with primary responsibilities to our host communities." This is especially true with Nigeria itself, where 70% of the population lies below the poverty line.
Comparison: This situation is a major déjà vu. Present-day Nigeria's economy nearly mirrors 1980s Mexico in terms of its reliance on oil to support most of its economy, and we all know how well that turned out. If the deepwater explorations proved unsuccessful, the entire economy would collapse. The country also faces issues with rebel groups tampering with oil pipelines, which is exactly what happened back in May. Nigeria's main rebel group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, cut pipelines that fed a major Chevron oil storage facility, prompting Chevron to cut back on oil production in Nigeria by 100,000 barrels. If rebel groups continued to damage the property of oil companies in retaliation against the Nigerian government, the companies could continue to reduce oil production, spelling disaster for Nigeria's economy. The Nigerian federal government should take a page from Mexico's history books in order to avoid total economic downfall should the oil market fail to support the country.

Hanna Miller
Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/27/world/africa/27nigeria.html

Poverty Could Imperil the Amnesty in Niger Delta

Summary: It has been only two short months since Nigeria’s leaders stated that their amnesty program was a success, leading many to believe that there would be a period of peace, but already there are signs that it will not last for long. It is true that violence has decreased, but a recent rampage of a university has led many to doubt the sustainability of the peace. Rebels are unsatisfied with the government’s pace of bringing jobs to them, and the leaders of Nigeria continue to be vague about how they are going to help the impoverished people of the Niger Delta. The government needs to find legal sources of income for them. Regions like this are rich with oil, but corrupt officials keep the money. 80% of Nigeria’s oil wealth goes to 1% of the population. Until the government is able to help create opportunities for these restless men, the violence will continue and more innocent people will be hurt.
Analysis: The situation in Nigeria is greatly influenced by the status of the economy and the impoverished state of the people living there. The government is involved in the economy, and appears to claim to have a lot of power. However, it’s clear that the government is not as capable as it would like to think. It tried to appease rebels by granting them amnesty and promising jobs and economic growth, but that has not happened. The Niger Delta is still ridden with poverty, as the money from the oil in the area is sucked away by corrupt officials. Nigeria clearly has many internal issues that need to be dealt with before economic prosperity can be guaranteed to its people. If the billions of dollars taken by the officials could be channeled into creating roads and other public sector projects, the quality of life for many would improve.
Compare: The situation in Nigeria is reminiscent of that in Mexico, where the country has a huge role in the oil industry, but profits from it are kept from the people. Corruption is evident in the government from many sides, creating a gap between the rich and the poor that continues to grow with time. Mexico also has problems with violence too. However, the state of Mexico is gradually improving, they have definitely taken their challenges head on. Nigeria’s peace could greatly affect many countries, as they are a major supplier of oil. If more violence broke our it could hinder the production of oil which would be felt around the world.

Lillie Herman

Amnesty urges Nigeria to arrest Sudanese president

Summary: If the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir attends an African Union Summit, Amnesty International will call on Nigeria to arrest him. Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity relating to a five-year campaign of violence in western Sudan's Darfur region.Since Nigeria is a party of the treaty of the criminal courts amnesty says that Nigeria must follow the orders. A warrant, which included five counts of crimes, was issued in March for Al-Bashir's arrest. Since the warrant though, he still remains president.

Analysis/Comparison: Al-Bashir is barely getting by. Nigeria is not arresting him primarily because of alliances even though he obviously has participated in many of the events in Darfur and other war crimes. Nigeria has an obligation to arrest him, even if they do not want to. This article depicts the corruption in governments today. An estimated 300,000 people have been killed in the incidences with Darfur. If anyone has anything to do with the happenings they should be arrested. Nigeria should not hold back like they are.

Taylor Rogalski
Link: http://allafrica.com/stories/200911130010.htmlTitle: Nigeria's Construction to become "World's Fastest Growing"
Summary: Construction in Nigeria is labeled to become one of the world's fastest growing industries. Although China will have the largest market, Nigeria's will grow at a quicker pace. This economic forecast predicts that countries such as Nigeria will soon overcome their more developed neighbors. The United States has long held the top spot but China will soon overcome them in size, and Nigeria in speed. This helps put into perspective the significance of countries that usually go unnoticed in the greater scheme of things.
Analysis: This article relates to the concept of globalization, and the decreasing role of supernations in the world. Nigeria, a country often overlooked in terms of the rest of the world, will soon surpass countries that have long been clearly Nigeria's superior in multiple ways. A more developed planet as a whole will prove to be more prosperous than a world with few majorly successful nations. Nigeria is fortunate to have found an industry in which they can develop quickly and efficiently, to help compete with other nations that had previously trumped them.
Compare: This article compares to Fareed Zakaria's book, The Rise of the Rest. It is a complete embodiment of Zakaria's point in his novel and speech; that countries often looked up to are having to compete with newly developed nations. This example in Nigeria is a fantastic one, as it details the point that Zakaria has strived to make. As recently as a decade ago, the United States would never have thought that Nigeria would soon surpass their construction market; today, however, this is coming closer and closer to reality.

Sarah Hoffman
Link: http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/worldview/091110/nigeria-proposes-reform-oil-industry?page=0,0
Reference: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7338211.stm
Title: Nigeria Proposes Reform of Oil Industry
Summary: Nigerian President Yar’Adua has put forward new legislation to reform the oil and gas industry. This industry accounts for the majority of Nigeria’s revenue and over 90% of all profits from oil and gas go to the Nigerian government. The federal government of Nigeria then distributes and allocates about half of this wealth throughout state and local governments within the nation. Because of Nigeria’s dependence on the oil and gas industry, these reforms have been highly controversial within the nation; however need for reform has been long recognized by Nigeria’s trading partners and other nations of the world. For example, Nigeria’s oil refineries result in massive degradation of the surrounding environment, and it widely believed that these damages are not worth the benefits. Even if this legislation does pass, however, it is doubtful that will be effective due to Nigeria’s major dependence on the oil companies and industries.
Analysis: This article, although describing a proposal that has been welcomed by the majority of the world, shows the controversies the legislation creates in Nigeria. By reforming an industry on which Nigeria rests so heavily, it has the potential to cause great damage to the nation’s infrastructure. As the article says, “efforts to reform the oil and gas industry have the potential to upset the fragile Nigerian internal political balance among the regions, ethnic and religious groups, and patronage networks.” This is because Nigeria’s whole social structure is basically based upon the oil industry due to its importance to the nation’s economy. Although speculations are that this reform will not lead to immediate actions within the industry, it will be interesting to follow the effects of this on both Nigeria’s economy as well as social infrastructure.
Compare: In Mexico of April 2008, an oil reform bill was passed. However, its purpose was almost the polar opposite of the one being proposed in Nigeria. Mexico hoped to further the oil and gas industry by passing the legislation, which allowed major oil company Pemex more freedom. Unlike Nigeria, oil revenue only accounts for about 40% of the national income of Mexico and production had been dwindling in the years leading up to this bill. In this aspect, the two countries of Nigeria and Mexico differ drastically in that their economies depend on different sources of income, and while one country pushes oil production down; the other does everything it can to promote it.

Emily Jackson

Nigeria misses militant deadline

Summary: Nigerian oil militant leaders say that the rehabilitation camps for disarmed fighters are not ready to process them. The amnesty period, by which time the guerrilla fighters were supposed to have disarmed, ended over five weeks ago. The exchange for disarmament was supposed to be education at the camps, which could result later in jobs. The militants who have disarmed are angry at having held up their end of the bargain while the government has not reciprocated. A spokesperson for Defence Minister Godwin Abbe says that he can give no dates as to when the camps will be ready, that it is a "slow process." In the meantime, the militants who have enrolled in camps are reportedly spending their time playing football.
Analysis: If there is anywhere that the lack of organization in the Nigerian government is glaringly obvious, it is here. Though its government has gone through many changes in power and is now modeled after the United States' system, it has a long way to go to catch up to the U.S. in terms of efficiency and execution of plans, as well as establishing ways to use the country's oil wealth to benefit its citizens. Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa, yet over half its citizens live in poverty. The country has been making impressive strides towards becoming a truly democratic nation, but the government must learn to organize its assets enough to meet its own deadlines and figure out how to best distribute its wealth to benefit the entire nation or it will never be able to keep up with the rest of the rapidly developing world.
Compare: Usually it's the militant groups that don't meet government deadlines, not the government itself. The creation of the camps is an important step to the disarmament of young militants, but the fact that the government not only does not have the camps operational yet, but cannot give a date as to when they will be operational, is quite likely to irritate the militants, who may very well go back out, get some more weapons, and continue what they were doing before. The fighters complied with the Nigerian government's requests. Now it's time for the government to honor the commitment they made.

George Beatty
Soludo's dad's kidnappers demand N 500million

Summary Kidnappers of the 78-year-old father of embattled governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Anambra State, Professor Chukuma Soludo, demanded N500 million ransom for the release of the father of the politician. The kidnapping was reportedly intended to end the political campaign by Professor Chukuma Soludo but he is currently continuing to campaign. The authorities have received this ransom note and are still trying to pinpoint the culprits and the exact location of the men who are responsible for the kidnapping. The Commissioner of Police for the area has asked for Chief Uba to talk with him because they feel that there is substantial evidence linking him with the crime. Uba has publicly announced his dislike towards Professor Soludo, but has said that he has done nothing wrong.
Analysis This act of kidnapping just highlights the problems that the Nigerian Political system still faces. The country has been leading towards a fully democratic nation, but there is still a certain level of corruption and divide between the different cultures in Nigeria. The kidnappers are asking for the large sum of money but their main intent is to pressure the politician into stopping his political campaign and let his competitor win. This needs to be handled as soon as possible because the police need to establish authority and respect from the people if they want a validity in the country.
Compare Political disagreements are present in all countries, but the way in which Nigeria has opposition that feels so strongly about there position that they are willing to kidnap a person is absurd. The Nigerian government needs to get this scandal under control if they want any hope of becoming a fully democratic nation. The lack of support from the government has allowed for opposing political parties to get the idea that this type of response to the political statements made by a candidate is acceptable which it is anything other than.

Darbie McPhail
Nigeria in big scamster crackdown
Summary: “Eagle claw”, the operation aimed to end Nigeria’s cyber crime (such as web scams) is in full force. Despite is ridiculous name, Farida Waziri, the head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Nigeria and of “eagle claw”, explains that it will remove Nigeria from one of the top ten countries with the highest occurrence of fraudulent e-mails, spam, and computer scams. The EFCC is teaming up with Microsoft to stop scammers by using “smart technology” rather than searching internet cafes. Many computer scams are run by highly organized gangs in Nigeria.
Analysis: Being that Nigeria is one of the highest ranked computer scamming countries in the world, I think it is good that Nigeria’s government has a commission designed towards stopping the scammers. The success of the EFCC cannot be predicted though, as it is very vague with the “smart technologies” it will be using to cease the gang-run scams.
Compare: This article, as with many of Nigeria’s other current events, illustrate its attempt to control the country and not let it be run by gangs and rebel groups, just as Mexico is in relation to its drug problems. It is good that the Nigerian government is creating a variety of specialized organizations to attack all dimensions of the crime in Nigeria so they can go about putting a stop to organized crime more effectively. Internet scams are especially terrible in this economic time, as people in debt are more willing to seek help from untrustworthy sources. Especially in America, many have fallen subject to these scams, as I’m sure many others have all over the world.

Darbie McPhail


Nigeria oil militant 'ends fight'
Summary: For years Nigerian rebels have attacked Nigeria’s oil industry, and the government is making efforts to stop the fighting. It is believed that the attacks on the Niger Delta decrease oil production by 25%. The government hopes to end this by issuing amnesty to rebel groups, also benefiting them by providing them with education and training opportunities. The main militant group in Nigeria, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), has refused to do so. One militant leader, Ateke Tom, has accepted the pardon and has laid down his weapons. Although he also claimed to do so in 2004, he later restarted fighting in the Niger Delta.
Analysis: Though the Nigerian government is attempting to stop rebel insurrection, I do not think that they will be successful. Their previous attempts at a “peace initiative”, were failures, and I have the feeling this one will be the same. It is unfortunate that many rebel groups agree to put down their weapons, yet soon after take up arms again, like Ateke Tom. Because of these past occurrences, it seems obvious that the Nigerian government needs to take more radical actions to cease the violence.
Compare: Like with the conflicts in Northern Ireland the government is offering amnesty to war criminals, yet I believe there will still be animosity between the rebel groups and the government in Nigeria. The Nigerian government is trying to regain power in Nigeria, as they have been overtaken by violent rebel groups. This is somewhat similar to the situation Mexico’s government is in, as it is attempting to take control of the drug issues plaguing the country.

Emily Tysinger
ECOWAS Suspends Niger, Says Election Invalid
The Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, decided on suspending Nigeria on the grounds of flawed parliamentary elections. The opposition party said that in some places not all candidates were on teh ballots along with other irregularities that caused suspicion. ECOWAS stated that it will not recognize the results of the vote because the outcome of the election will allow Standing President Mamadou Tandja to tighten his hold on power, resulting in the deepening of the constitutional crises already taking place in the country. President Tandja's administration was supposed to be replaced this year with democratic elections however even with international and domestic pressure he was able to extend his mandate another three years and increase his presidential powers at the expense of parliament's. The Presidents non compliance puts Nigeria in danger of international isolation, pushing it even further towards a pariah state.
Analysis: The election process in Nigeria shows that the country still tries to have some democratic values. However those values are completely discarded and overruled by the unconstitutional and dictatorial actions of the president. Nigeria is basically a failed democracy and even with the attempts ECOWAS tries to make to pull it up it continues to spiral down. A leader who attempts to hold on to power even at the urgings of the international community clearly is acting on self serving ideals and is neglecting the best interest of the people. This is the second instance in the past 2 months where ECOWAS has had to step in in order to try and fix issues of constitutionality within the Nigerian Government.
Comparison: This Nigerian electoral crises is not unlike that of Afghanistan. Afghanistan is also experiencing a democratic crises with the alleged voter fraud of the recent elections. Both of these elections have undermined the democratic process and caused major issues on the international spectrum as well as local.

Matt Brown
Nigerians in North America Celebrate Country’s Independence in Grand Styles
Summary: Dressed in assorted variations of green and white, Nigerian’s celebrated the country’s 49th independence anniversary with a huge parade in New York City. It quite a day of celebration for hundreds of spectator, dignitaries, members of the Diplomatic Corp, New York City council members and many more. Nigeria first gained its independence from what was then the British Colonial government in 1960, and became and became a republic in 1963. Celebrations very similar to this one could have been witnessed all over the world.

Analysis: Nigeria’s ability to draw this much attention to for their 49th independence anniversary show how respected they are with other countries. It shows that in the past and up to this point Nigeria has done a fantastic job of keeping good, strong connections with their foreign allies.

Comparison: Nigeria’s attempt to work and function well with other countries in situations similar to this one, demonstrate that they are making a very good attempt at maintaining their foreign affairs. Nigeria has lately been quite a prospering country, being the center of attention in multiple worldwide events. As Nigeria is slowly working their way up, they are becoming a much more dominant country in today’s society.

Jordan Thomas
Lagos Migration grows
Summary: It is approximated that around 6,000 people are immigrating to Lagos, Nigeria, every day. They are coming from smaller, more rural towns seeking jobs. However, their rapid influx has caused large unemployment, over crowding, and increased pollution and waste. One major problem is the high demand for electricity. This has been taxing on the city’s energy providers and, if left unsolved, will result in large energy shortages. Recently, the governor of the state of Lagos, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, has enacted some of his plans to improve the city, such as the clearing of land for a new market, but many citizens don’t approve. They say that it just causes unnecessary changes in ritual life, and an improved infrastructure is needed most.

Analysis: This is a perfect example of the rapid population growth and urbanization that is common in growing, but hardly developing, country’s. As medicine becomes more readily available in developing countries, the population expands dramatically. Many leave the smaller less happening towns to large urban areas with hopes of a rich life. This image of the city as a place of opportunity has been a major cause for immigration to Lagos. When they get there, many of the jobs are already taken, but they stay in the hope that they will find a nice job. Air pollution, bad living quality, and a stress on resources result from the overpopulation. The video said that in a short time, the city will have a population of 60 million if it continue to grow at it’s current rate, making this situation more dire than Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola made it out to seem. For Lagos to be able to sustain such a large population, greater actions than making new markets must be taken sooner.

Comparison: This is not the first time a city has had a rapid influx of people. Currently, there had been large migrations to London and Dubai. However, both of those examples have well developed economies and money. For Lagos to be able to develop a better and more fluid infrastructure, it needs more funding. I think that is what Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola should be worried most about, so that he can support his future projects.

Amy Dreher
Protests loom over oil deregulation

Summary: The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) plan to mobilize if the government goes on with their planned oil deregulation. The government is convinced that this will bring down oil prices and make it more available to people. In reality this will only make things worse. The NLC is threating that if this goes on they are ready for "fiercest Labour unrest ever witnessed in the history of Nigeria." The NLC says that this will only cause more harm to the poor who make up 70 percent of Nigeria's 140 million. Since Nigeria military rule to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who increased oil prices eleven times, Nigerian people have been forced to believe that they will benief from oil deregulation. The people have seen oil deregulation fail when full deregulation of Kerosene and diesel products only increased the hardships of the people. The NLC said that "Congress therefore wishes to assert that it remains opposed now more than ever before to deregulation of the oil and gas sector in general and of petroleum products in particular. "Government's decision, if implemented, will bring stupendous wealth for the very few who, over the years, have ruined Nigeria and bring more hardship to the vast majority of the Nigerian people among whom workers and their families form a large number." The Human Rights Writers' Association of Nigeria (HURIWA)
is worried that the deregulation will only worsen the living conditions of the Nigerian people. The government is expected to meet with the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS), and then the individual companies before Novermber 1st when the deregulation is planned to start.
Analysis: It seems that the government is pretty set in its ways, and it will take a lot for the government to change it's mind. Fortunately, for the people of Nigeria this civil society groups seem like they will do whatever it takes to stop government from doing anything with oil that might hurt the economy even more. If it's true that this will bring great hardship to the people, and then it should be stopped by all means. Nigeria is in a bad enough state with the economy and the recession that is affecting the whole world that the government needs to be careful about what it does with the money.
Comparison: Nations always get into huge fights about oil prices, because it affects everyone. Oil controls so much of peoples resources, for example food, if prices go up on oil that means that farms can't afford to make as much, and transport it. If there is proof that deregulation has happened before and didn't work the last time, then they should either stop it, or rethink what they're doing with it. I think talking to the oil companies will help in some way to effect what happens with it.

Sam LeBlanc
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8291336.stmWill Amnesty Bring Peace to Niger Delta?Summary: The Nigeria peace process appears to have begun; militant warlords have been disarming and relinquishing considerable arsenals, and many are hopeful that diplomatic processes will end the strife that has held the region for so long. Even with the larger militant groups dumping weapons, though, many remain concerned about the role of the Nigerian government in the peace process. Questions have been raised regarding the fate of the dumped weapons, the parties responsible for cataloging them, and so on. The main concern is the lack of a neutral and independent party to witness the weapons' decommission, or to collect serial numbers. Government officials maintain that the weapons will not find their way back to militant groups, as has happened in the past. Another issue that has manifested has been the fate of the former militants; hundreds of young men in Nigeria are now effectively unemployed, with no direction for the future. Many of these ex-militants remain skeptical of the Nigerian government officials' promises of a peaceful future. Former militant leader Farah Dagogo stated: "There are still thousands of people willing to continue fighting in the creeks and only the actions of the government can win over our brothers still bent on fighting,".
Analysis: This new direction for Nigeria does indeed look to be a hopeful one. While none of the militant groups has completely disarmed, the amount of weapons given up is still significant. The skepticism of the militants is justified, and the situation is now left to the Nigerian government. Militants have made it clear that if the government does not deliver on its promises of peace, they will simply relapse into violence. The situation right now is precarious, and many Nigerians are uneasy with the amount of trust they are forced to place in the government for the time being (with good reason; corruption remains a crippling and demoralizing problem for Nigeria). Only time will reveal whether or not the peace will hold. Personally, I believe that if the Nigerian government continues to work towards peace and provides a process for the re-integration of the former militants, the situation could improve beyond anything Nigeria has seen in decades.
Comparison: The recent Nigerian cooperation between the government and the formerly antagonistic groups within could be compared to the recent movement in the Mexican government to work towards combating drug cartels. Although the Mexican government is taking a more aggressive approach to their internal conflict, the theme of "retaking the nation" remains the same. Both nations' governments are working to root out the corruption and the illegal and violent forces that have run rampant thus far. Furthermore, both governments are increasing their own credibility by taking an active role in pacifying the internal conflict; it may take time to earn their citizens' trust, but both Nigeria and Mexico are on the road to attaining a positive relationship with their respective denizens.

Amy Dreher
Nigerian officials: ‘District 9’ not welcome here
Summary: 'District 9' was about Aliens inhabiting a south African town.When the government tries to move them, it goes very wrong. It was a major blockbuster this summer in America, but it's a differnt case for Nigeria. They banned the movie from their capitol city of Abuja. Nigeria's government thinks that 'District 9' portrayed Nigerians as gangsters and Cannibals. Accourding to them there is a gangster in the movie named Obesandjo, that closely resembles a form presidents name, Olusegun Obasanjo. In one scene the gangster tries to cut off and eat the main characters arm. They have written many letters to Sony asking them to apologize for their interpretation of Nigerians, and to edit out the parts of the movie. Sony has not replied to any of the letters, but they haven't given up.
Analysis: Though this problem can seem meaningless, image is important to people. Africa's already got a bad rep, and making them sound like cannibals doesn't make people want to travel there more. They want people to know that they're good, and not all rough gangsters that are going to rob them. They're just like us in wanting a good reputation.
Compare:I've never really heard of a place banning a movie because one character. They have every right to try and protect their image, and theres no harm in trying to get the company to edit the movie. They're just trying to make a good impression on other nations and want to be shown some respect.

Matt Brown
Nigeria Bank Boss Has No Regrets
Summary: Deemed the most “unpopular man in Nigeria”, Lamido Sanusi, Nigeria’s Central Bank governor, has been responsible for huge reforms rocking Nigeria’s financial sector. He has been responsible for dismissing five major bank executives and adding 2.6 billion dollars into Nigeria’s failing financial institutions. Majority of the people who oppose Sanusi’s policies are most likely a part of the countries financial elite who, strongly disagree with his policies to rid Nigeria’s government of corruption and fraud. Sanusi also spoke with those in the petroleum and Ministry of Justice, “to take responsibility for their section of the courtry” and to clean up their area.
Analysis: While Sanusi faces loads of discrimination from some, his vision about ending corruption and fraud throughout Nigeria’s bank system could have a very positive impact on their government system. The effects of Sanusi’s policies have a very good long term effect and could make Nigeria a much more powerful and influential country.
Compare: Sansui’s actions in his attempt to better stabilize and build upon his economy are decisions made by anyone protecting the future of their country. While this is a long process in order to see real improvement, each positive step taken in order to better your economy is a step made in the right direction. Its very similar to the actions made by the U. S government in order to better protect and stabilize their government.

Emily Tysinger
Over 46,000 NGO's Registered in Nigeria
Summary: In recent weeks the European Union decided to assist a number of registered Nigerian Non-State Actors (NSAs) by setting aside 20 million euros. This money will go towards the the new INSIDE program and the promotion of pro-poor policy, enhanced service delivery, and transparent governing. Walter Bresseleers a member of the EU and the team leader of the implementation of NSAs and the INSIDE program said that the hope is to strengthen the dialog between members of state and the NSAs. This dialog would help promote development at the local and national level. The INSIDE program also helps generate transparency, accountability, participation, effectiveness, equity; the management of national and local antagonism through conflict prevention and resolution; and the promotion of a participatory and representative democracy.
Analysis: The establishment of this program with help from the EU is an important step in the strengthening of the weak democracy established in Nigeria. The INSIDE program will make it possible for different people and cultures to have some sort of communication with the state at a national level. It is too soon to tell how these NSAs will benefit or if INSIDE will make an improvement. At this point though any sign of progress towards improving the democracy is a step in the right direction for Nigeria, with the promotion of political transparency especially important after the recent events involving mass corruption in the former presidential administration. This story illustrates how Intergovernmental Organizations work to promote growth and stability in third world countries and continue the spread of democracy all of which we have discussed in class.
Comparison: I think that the EU continuing to promote the welfare of other countries even during this tough economic time is an important message. While the promotion of democracy continues in Afghanistan and Iraq the EU is trying to promote democracy through organizations within the country and encourage peaceful negotiations and dialogues with the people and government. Also the EU continues to work with the AU offering similar support to other struggling African nations.

Jordan Thomas
National Reading Competition Kicks off
Summary: The “Readers are Winners” reading competition was kicked off recently in Lagos, Nigeria. The private company, Nigerian Breweries Plc, is funding the competition. The competition is for secondary students, which would be 7th through 11th grade in the American system. The competition begins as the school level, and proceeds through the state and zonal to end at the National competition. In the national competition, January 24 and 26, 2010, the students will be tested on the 6 books that they had to have read. Many prizes will be given out, including over a million nairas worth of books. The national champion will receive a personal computer, computers for his/her school, 200,000 in cash, and books worth N650, 000. The primary goal of the competition is to develop Nigeria’s reading culture, and in doing so expand student creativity, vocabulary, comprehension and writing skills, and arouse extracurricular interest in academics.
Analysis: This reading competition is evidence of an advancing country. One in which private companies are willing to sponsor a nation wide event in order to improve the quality of education and spur a greater interest in education. For this to happen, there has to be an appreciation for knowledge, and comprehension and writing skills. Therefore lower class children aren’t just expected to provide manual labor to the rich, as they are in less developed nations, but they are encouraged to increase their intellect and use their education to spur growth in the economy. The Nigerian Breweries Plc is going at this goal in what I think is a effective manner. They not only award the winners, but the schools of zonal and national winners. Because of this competition, thousands of children across Nigeria will have access to a greater amount of books and maybe even to the Internet.
Comparison: This is similar to something that people in Chapel Hill experienced, the “Read-a-Thon”. This competition was on a much smaller scale and not as advanced, but had the same intention. That intention was to increase appreciation of reading and knowledge in the younger population. Contrastingly, most schools in Chapel Hill have plenty of computers and books, so the competition isn’t as beneficial to students here.

Samuel C. LeBlanc
Source: **http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8273280.stm**
Title: North Nigeria politician abducted
Summary: police say that a senior Nigerian official, Waje Yayok, was abducted Monday night. Yayok is the 3rd-in-command of the state government of Kaduna, a state in northern Nigeria. A ransom has been issues, but the identity of the kidnappers remains unknown. The situation is unusual; despite the fact that government officials are taken hostage fairly often (as are foreigners), this usually occurs in the southern, oil-rich provinces, not the Northern states. According to Nigerian media sources, the rasonm was recently dropped from 40m naira (roughly $266,000) to only 15m naira. Furthermore, the media has thus far portrayed the crime as one purely motivated by money. Kaduna's police commissioner remains optimistic that Mr. Yayok will be freed shortly by police efforts. He stated, quote, "We have placed both overt and covert operations to ensure that he is safe and free", and then went on to state that, "[God willing]", the politician would be liberated within the next 24 hours.

Analysis: The most interesting part of this article is the statement made that "officials and foreigners are kidnapped often in Nigeria". This detail reveals a lot about the state of Nigeria; if kidnappings of government officials are regular occurrances, Nigeria is obviously in a pretty rough situation. Furthermore, the statement that most kidnappings occur in the "oil rich" provinces, specifically, highlights what is perhaps Nigeria's most controversial issue today, both internally and globally: the oil trade. Many feel oppressed and, at the risk of understating the situation, discontent with the presence of oil corporations. This has been one of the greatest rallying points for rebel groups in the nation, as varios and myriad leaders are suspected of embezzling the billions of dollars that the country makes in oil sales, which is a fairly safe assumption considering that Nigeria should ideally be a much more well-off nation than it is, economically, considering the massive oil industry. Corruption is almost the only thing that could explain the lack of wealth that most of the nation suffers from.

Comparisons: This is difficult to compare, as not many nations have regular kidnappings. Corruption is a common theme, though. Often government officials are targeted not only because of their price tag, but because they are thought to be to blame for the sorry state of the nation. Antagonism towards government officials is present in all nations, to some degree. Granted, Nigeria has a more agressive antagonism than most, but even America has suffered assassinations that stemmed from agression towards the government of the time.

George Beatty
Killers beat our security strategies
Summary: One of Nigeria's papers suffered a major loss this past Sunday. The Guardian, which is a locally run newspaper company, lost its Assistant News Editor in a shooting that took place at his estate. Mr. Bayo Ohu was shot a killed by a group of assailants who disagreed with one of the articles printed by the Guardian. Mr. Anthony Oyeniji, The Chairman of Odukoya Estate House Owners Association, has said that those who killed Mr. Ohu on Sunday managed to beat the residents’ security network. According to residents the area was a non violent community which has lead authorities to believe that the group that killed Mr. Ohu came from outside the community. The policemen that was incharge of security for the area did not patrol the estate despite the letters of request his association had sent to the police authorities at different times. According to the policemen said the assailants narrowly escaped through one of the gates leading to the estate after two other gates had been shut against them. The local ploice are still looking for the men who killed Mr. Ohu, but at the moment have not found anything significant.
Analysis: This story has a significant impact on the Nigerian government and its ability to not only protect its people, but its freedom of the press. The murder of the Assistant news editor was not an attack on Mr. Ohu, but rather an attack on the rights that his job stands for and the stories that the local newspapers are able to print. The police are unsure as to which article offended the group, but the authorities need to clean up the mess that has been left by these people and do it in a timely manner. The press has recently been able to print articles without major restrictions and the government is responsible in protecting the rights of its people and allowing them to be properly informed by many different news sources. The main goal of the group who killed Mr. Ohu was to instill a sense of fear into the people at the paper in order to get them to stop printing articles which the people may not agree with. The issue now lays in the hands of the governments and the question becomes whether or not they treat this crime as a serious issue or not.
Compare: Crime is present in every corner of the globe, the difference between the crimes committed is the lasting impact that it has on the countries people. The crimes that are most dangerous to the moral of the people are the ones committed in order to send a message or a warning to the public. The crime that was committed would have a immediate repercussion along with a mass of policemen focusing on the suspects in the murder ,if it took place in the United States. Unfortunately Nigeria does not possess the man power the the United States does and there for cannot commit more than a couple of policemen on the case. This lack of enforcement on the laws and for the protection of its peoples rights has and will create a negative impact on Nigeria's government. It is in Nigeria's best interest to clean up the mess that has been create.

Darbie McPhail
Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8269559.stm
Title: Nigeria bank boss has no regrets
Summary: Nigeria’s central bank governor, Lamido Sanusi, has made radical changes to Nigeria’s financial sector, firing five bank executives and pumping 2.6 billion dollars (400 billion naira) into the economy. He has been called “the most unpopular man in Nigeria,” most likely by the country’s financial elite who have disapproved of his new policies to try and root out fraud and corruption in Nigeria’s banking system. Sanusi believes that the recovery of the economy is reliant on people’s trust in it, and he is attempting to build that trust through these “radical” reforms. He explained: “When the rest of the world recovers and the investors have money to put in, they're going to go to Ghana, they're going to go to Angola, they're going to go to South Africa, and to Egypt. Not because those countries have greater opportunities but because people don't trust the Nigerian system. And it's important that we rebuild that trust if we want to be a player on the global stage.” He is also challenging the Ministry of Justice and the petroleum industry to fix the problems they have caused and clean up their part of the country.
Analysis: Though he is facing a lot of opposition, the fact that Sanusi is attempting to eradicate some of the corruption that is plaguing Nigeria’s economy is a big step forward. He mentions how building trust in the economy, which he is trying to do by putting a stop to corruption and stimulating the economy with 400 billion naira, will make Nigeria a more active country on the global stage, which is very true. If Nigeria’s economy gains the trust of Nigerians and world leaders alike, Nigeria will be capable of having a larger role in global leadership.
Compare: Sanusi’s tactics in aiding the recovery of Nigeria’s economy are much like Gordon Brown’s- they are reforms which are aimed to stabilize and build trust in the economy in the future, and although progress is not apparent now, it will be in the long run. Much like Briton’s opinion of Brown, people in Nigeria (most likely the financial elite) are condemning Sansui for the action he has taken. Sansui’s removal of bank executives has caused a great, yet expected backlash. Nigeria is undergoing a similar situation as much of the other countries in the world. For example, the US government is trying to instill more trust in its economy.

Caitlin Condina
Title:Nigeria Rebels Want Clear Plans For Those Who Disarm
Summary:Basically, Three militant leaders in Nigeria's oil heartland want concrete plans for fighters who disarm and a clearer government commitment to develop the region before they accept amnesty. "They want concrete post-amnesty plans for their fighters when they disarm and the specific benefits for the communities," one source, who asked not to be identified, close to the three militants told Reuters on Saturday. Also, the source says that talked about the withdrawal of soldiers from the region and the need for the government to create local councils for the Ijaw-speaking (Ijaw is thepredominant ethnic group in the Niger Delta) people in several states. In June, President Umaru Yar'Adua offered amnesty to gunmen in the region to try to stem unrest which has prevented Nigeria from pumping much above two-thirds of its oil capacity, costing it billions of dollars a year in lost revenues. Attacks on oil installations and pipeline bombings by MEND have at times contributed to instability in world oil prices, turned the Niger Delta into a virtual military zone and forced foreign oil firms such as Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron to pull out all but their most essential staff. Militants claim they are pushing for a fairer share of the wealth. Though critics claim they are simply criminal gangs using political struggle as a facade for the theft of industrial quantities of crude oil, kidnapping for ransom and robbery. The amnesty programme has split militant factions, with hundreds of rebels, including some leaders, handing over weapons but others refusing to take part.
Analysis:The government is pushing for amnesty with the fighters of the Niger Delta region, which is the biggest oil and gas industry in Africa. But the fighters are resisting amnesty until there are concrete post-amnesty plans for their fighters when they disarm and the specific benefits for the communities.
Compare: This topic is affecting other coutnries around the world, because major oil companies are pulling out anyone but the best, causing laid-off staff members to join the rest of the population in living off of 2 dollars a day. It is also contributing to Unstable gas prices around the world.

George Beatty
Source http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8249327.stm
Nigeria begins vast river dredge
Summary Nigeria has started a large operation to dredge the River Niger to allow boats to carry goods from the Atlantic Ocean to remote villages in the interior. The
Naria project, estimated to cost 233million dollars will remove silt from hundreds of miles of Africa's third longest river. The government states that the project will help villages and secure the flow to hydro-electric plants. Many activists are against the dredging saying that it could damage the livelihoods of villagers along the river. Some speculate that the project has been in the works for several years. At the ceremony to begin working on the project in Lokoja, President Umaru Yar'Adua said the dredging, expected to take six to eight months, would enable "all-year-round navigability"."It will provide an attractive, cheaper and safer means of haulage of goods, while engendering linkages and promoting trading activities between adjoining communities," he said.Around 355 miles of the river will be dredged. The dredging will take place from Baro in central Nigeria to Warri in the Niger Delta. Officials suggest that the build up of silt on the river bed has reduced the Niger's ability to navigate, resulting in floods and limiting transportation. The government is also concerned that the silt build up is limiting the amount of electricity generated by the Kainji dam in north western Nigeria.
Analysis This issue shows some form of cooperation between the Niger and Nigerian governments to over come a large problem. There are some major issues in the plan including the well being of the villagers who reside on the river. But if the project is preformed safely and correctly it will show a sign of modernization in Nigeria and will premote international trade which in turn will boost Nigeria's economy. The river has posed a major problem in the last decade do to the large amount of silt that resides at the bottom of the river. Navigation is key in the survival of the Nigerian government as well as its major cities. There are no real alternatives to trade through boats, airplanes require a landing strip which most villages cannot afford. The government of Nigeria has made it clear that the project will cost over 200 million dollars, but it will also bring in billions of dollars worth of goods.
Comparison Unlike most countries in Africa, Nigeria is able to form a some what unified government and country. This form of modernization shows that Nigeria is not only willing to spend money, but also cooperate with other nations to get what it needs. The people of Nigeria are still spread out in villages and cities, but the government has put the peoples needs infront of corruption and greed. Compared to other countries in Africa, Nigeria is one of the most modern and livable places because of its government. Unfortunately there are still problems within the country including HIV and religious views, but for the mean time this project is a step in the right direction.

Darbie McPhail
Source: http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/africa/08/17/nigeria.hiv.marriage/index.html?iref=newssearch
Title: Nigeria agency pushes marriage to control HIV spread
Summary: There is no doubt the HIV/AIDS is a major issue plaguing many African states. Nigeria has the third highest HIV population in the world, 3.1 percent of its people being infected. Yet the Bauchi State Agency for the Control of AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (BACATMA) has come up with an unusual way to combat the spread of the disease-marriage. Their proposal is that if two HIV-positive people wed, the spread of HIV will slow down. To promote this idea, BACATMA pays for dowries and even offers employment in their agencies after marriage. One man, who was wed to an HIV-positive woman, discussed how he was a much happier man due to his marriage; he has someone to turn to if he is alienated in society (as many HIV-positive people are) and someone to fight through his personal HIV battles with. Although there is no scientific proof that marriage of two HIV-positive people will slow its spread, BACATMA has hope that, along with antiretroviral drugs, this experiment will be successful.
Analysis: BACATMA’s work is a classic example of a governmental agency made to support civil liberties and health, and to promote AIDS awareness and education. It seems to be one democratic entity with in Nigeria’s corrupt political system. It will be interesting to see how effective this agency is a preventing the spread of HIV in the future, due to the misconceptions about HIV/AIDS that are present throughout Africa (many do not trust antiretroviral drugs and believe there are traditional remedies to cure the disease).
Compare: Unlike in South Africa and other African states, Nigeria’s way of attacking the spread of HIV/AIDS is unique. They are encouraging education and ARV treatment, as is South Africa, but the implementation of an actual marriage to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS strategy is very clever. In other nations around the world, antiretroviral drugs are more accessible, so it is noteworthy that Nigeria, undoubtedly with a very corrupt government, has developed such a creative and democratic plan to fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Sam LeBlanc
Site: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8182289.stm
Topic: Is al-Qaeda working in Nigeria?
Summary: Mohammed Yusuf, an Islamic sect leader in Nigeria, was facing charges that connected him financially to an al-Qaeda-linked organization. Last week, members of his sect committed a terrorist attack in northern Nigeria, which resulted in the deaths of roughly 700 people. Along with him, Nigerian businessman Bello Damagum, who gave Yusuf the money, faced similar charges. Yusuf himself was killed after being arrested by the police. Nigeria has already claimed to have broken up an al-Qaeda sect back in 2007 (five men were arrested in three of the northern states). Debate now rages on as to whether or not Boko Haram, the Islamic sect that Yusuf lead, was in fact connected to al-Qaeda. Adam Higazi, an Oxford University researcher, comments, “The rhetoric of Osama bin Laden may chime with some radical young Muslims in Nigeria, but that doesn't mean there is a financial relationship”. Analysts tend to agree, stating that the radical groups in Nigeria have different goals and means of pursuing those goals than that of al-Qaeda. For instance, Boko Haram launched attacks on Nigerian police stations, armed primarily with nothing but machetes. Most of the casualties occurred on the side of the sect. Al-Qaeda, analysts say, usually uses more sophisticated weapons. In short, the general consensus is that, despite Nigeria's high population of young, devout Muslim men with easy access to weapons through corrupted channels, as well as strong anti-West sentiments (Boko Haram translates to “Western Education is a Sin”), the aims and general operation of Nigerian radicals indicates no connection with al-Qaeda.
Analysis: This is an issue that hold particular weight for the United States, as there has been a growing fear that a sleeper group in Nigeria could target the oil reserves of the nation, which the Unites States has become more and more dependent upon. This fear reveals the ever-more-apparent idea that oil is practically political currency nowadays. Another more distressing fact is that, while the two radical groups differ in the means and in the short-term goals, they are not dissimilar in their opinion of the Western world. It is entirely possible that the words of Osama Bin Laden may sway some to work against the West on a grand scale. Thanks to communication technology, radicals like Bin Laden are able to send their messages over seas to rally support across nations. Currently, the threat of terrorism as it pertains to the United States is largely thought to be confined to the Middle East; many forget that several nations in Africa also contain a percentage of the population with anti-Western sentiment. Because radical Islamic groups such as al-Qaeda use their radical religious principles as a rallying point, as opposed to nationality, their message can be related across continents and oceans. Regardless of how unrelated Boko Haram and al-Qaeda seem now, the possibility of a considerable radical anti-Western constituent in Africa remains a possibility.
Comparison: A huge portion of the discontent in Nigeria stems from a problem that plagues several of the core nations: corruption. The article states that most people who join radical sects such as Boko Haram do so because they wish to see the implementation of Sharia, or Islamic law. It would not be wild speculation to postulate that, because Nigeria's government suffers from considerable corruption, many who participate in radical groups believe that they are truly doing the right thing for their country, and that Islamic law would lift the country out of its demoralization. At the very least, the corruption provides a target and a scapegoat for fundamentalist recruiters. Corruption is as universal a problem as any other in politics; in fact, there is not a single nation out of the core 6 that has not suffered corruption to some extent. It is also usually the stem for many other internal problems that a nation may face.

Nigeria Current Events
Matt Brown
Nigeria hails rebel amnesty amid 'charade' claim
Summary: Rockets, guns and bullets set the stage in Yenegoa, Nigeria on August 25 where thousands of militants and commanders in the Niger Delta surrender their weapons in exchange for a government amnesty program that promises them a pardon and a job. Unfortunately missing from the group is the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, (MEND), a huge organization against the oil-rich Niger Delta region. MEND has agreed not to surrender their weapons but to a cease-fire until September 15. However the group claims that as soon as the cease-fire is over, they will resume their outrageous attacks against the major oil industries in the Niger Delta. They have already destroyed several oil facilities causing Nigeria to cut its oil exports by as much as 1 million barrels of oil per day, which is about 40 percent.
Analysis: These multiple battles could be one of the multiple factors as to why the price of oil has gone so much over the past couple years and why its not getting much better. The terrible attacks against the major Nigerian oil industries also explains why countries in OPEC are having to find ways to cheat the system in order to make more money.
Compare: The U.S receives about 80-90 percent of its oil from OPEC, which is a group of 12 countries distributing oil all over the world; Nigeria being one of them. If Nigeria has to cut its oil exports by 1 million barrels a day, it will directly affect the U.S and many other countries simply because they are one of main oil suppliers. If the supply of available oil is lower then usual while the demand is at an all time high, it will directly impact the prices of oil and how much we are currently paying for it.

Ben Judge
Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSL26707820090902
Nigerian lawmakers challenge cenbank over bailout
Summary: Lawmakers in Nigeria are challenging the 2.6 billion bailout of 5 major banks in Nigeria. The central bank injected funds into Afribank , Finbank , Intercontinental Bank , Oceanic Bank and Union Bank on Aug. 14 and then the cenbank fired their senior manager which shocked corporate Nigeria. THe banking commitee in the house of representatives is out to get the head of the central bank. The governor who controls the bank tried to justify the actions by saying saying it was within his powers to impose emergency tactics on the five banks, which had built up non-performing loans worth 1.14 trillion naira ($7.6 billion) and almost caused a bank crisis. The head of the bank believes he did nothing wrong and would resign if he believes he was at fault. THe nigerian anti-corruption police have already brought charges against the heads of the 5 major banks and threatens to bring them to creiditors who could be conspirators in obtaining loans under false pretenses. The public has lost alot of faith in the banks and the economy of nigeria continues to struggle during this econiomic crisis.
Analysis: To me this article is very interesting to see becuase it is a look into the economic struggle of a 3rd world nation and a struggling democracy. THis is not the first I have read about Nigeria having troblue with its democracy and its economy. This stress on the banks is causing more distrust between the people and the economy and without a good base of trust there is no way that their economy can grow. As more of other countries economies are falling small 3rd world countries are hurting the most. Because of this huge about of money printed the inflation rate has gone up greatly and it is shocking to see that over a trillion naira is only about 7.6 billion dollars. This economic struggle is going to be a problem for a long time if the governor stays in power and I believe that with these charges brought against the heads of the banks the people will gain faith with the government to weed out corruption within the government but there is much more corruption that has to be taken care of before the economy can get back on track
Compare: This is not the first time we have heard about economic crisis in today's world and there being a lot of speculation about corruption in some economic bailouts and Nigeria is no exception. THis shows the economic strain that not only powerful nations are having but the rest of the country is having. This economic struggle is getting worse and is going to continue to get worse until governments learn to work together and work cooperatively to solve this issue

Ben Judge #2
Source: http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-09-19-voa20.cfm
Nigerian Oil Activist Campaign for Legal Option over Armed Struggle
Summary: Members from both sides of the Nigerian river delta oil issues have applied to the militants to lay down their weapons and pursue a legal option to prevent further death because of the this issue. There has been many attacks on Nigeria's billions of dollar oil industry in hopes for a fairer share of the wealth to all people. In the past 3 years there have been many attacks on the Oil industry and Shell, one of the major oil companies, decided to pay the village of Ogoni 15.5 million dollars for violations of human rights. The president has offered temporary amnesty to the separatist military groups if they will not attacking the pipelines and the biggest of these groups, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, has rejected this offer. The government says after october 4th when the amnesty ends then the military will launch a full scale offensive against these groups
Analysis: This is a major issue for the nigerian people and for many other countries that rely on the production from the Nigerian oil wells. This has been a major issue for Nigeria and will continue to be an issue until the government and the groups come to some sort of an agreement about how to spilt up the oil funds. Otherwise, there will be much more pointless violence and greater disruption of the oil production, which will cause problems for other countries, like the United States, What should start happening is more of these villages should go to the world court and get settlements for the human right violations and stop the killing so that innocent bystanders are not killed because of the senseless fighting. Furthermore, the nigerian government not launch a stronger offensive campaign because that will just escalate the issue more and drag out this problem for more years and just cost more money then just settling with the opposition.
Compare: These inner conflicts are like the conflicts in china and Iran, and those issues will not be solved either without compromise and work from both sides to solve the issue in question. Oil is a very hot topic throughout the world and without NIgeria producing the oil then there will be problems for those countries that rely on this oil. These resource problems must be solved by the government much like the issues over oil in Russia.

Ben Judge #3
Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8289171.stm
Leading Nigeria Oil Rebel Disarm
Summary: Rebels in the western Delta area have laid down their arms and have accepted the government amnesty, More rebels have been laying down their arms and this is considered a big win for the Nigerian people and the oil companies. This has been going on since 2006 when the rebels took up arms saying the public was not getting their share in oil benefits. The conflict has been preventing Nigeria to produce as much oil as it could have been and could go up from 8th place in oil exporters. The peace process has begun in this war torn region and is a nice breath of fresh are compared to all of the past violence in the region.
Analysis: It is good to see that this issue is finally being resolved and that Nigeria's economy can recover and grow from the choke hold the rebels had over the delta. This is a very important global issue and since Nigeria is one of the greatest producers and exporters of oil to the USA it is important that they remain safe in this area. This also shows that the amnesty is working and it will be interesting to see how the government provides the aid that they promised to these rebels.
Compare: Since the race for oil is going on it is important to see that there is less of a choke hold on the oil in Nigeria. This is like the issues in Russia and giving the natural gas to the rest of europe and how it require cooperation from all people to be able to provide for their people. It is time for Nigeria to become more of a world player and this increase in oil production will help this cause and will show that the amnesty is working and will further see that that is the answer for rebels to bring down their arms and show other countries how to become more stabilized.

Ben Judge #4
Nigeria to give 10% of oil cash
Summary: Nigerian Officials are going to give 10% of their oil revenue to the people of the delta in an attempt to stop the attacks on the oil companies by the MEND and other insurgencies. The Government has offered many alternative to stop the attacks in the delta including the amnesty. The groups want to see an oil profit go to the region and the government is giving 50 billion naria to the people of the region. Although there is going to be opposition they think that it will be passes to stop the violence.
Analysis: This is the continuing issues of the violence in the Niger delta region. I believe that this will be a good solution to the issue by giving the rebels what they want in hope that they will not attacking. ALthough it will take alot of time to get this passed I believe that it is the best solution since nothing else has been working. It is good to see that more diplomatic solutions are being thought of rather then violence. Overall I am glad to see there is so much work into gaining stability into this region.
Compare: Well as I have said before since Nigeria is such a great oil producer it is important to get that region in some stability and to please all of the rebels. The amnesty has worked and there needs to be more diplomatic solutions. It would be interesting to see how the US reacts to this. AS the oil industry grows in Nigeria they become more of a world player and the rise of Africa is much like the rise of russia and China.

Hailey Johnson
Nigerian Governor Pledges Improved Security -- and Investment -- In The Niger Delta
Summary: In late August an amnesty was granted by the government in the Delta State of Nigeria. Locals were previously upset about their fair share of profit made by oil drillings. The region has a history of these local complaints and about the environment the oil is being drilled from. As a result, kidnapping and violence have gone down, but it has only been a few weeks. Recently, governor Emmanuel Uduaghan states that the amnesty is working and peace is slowly being returned to the Niger Delta area. Uduaghan says, “As a state in the Niger Delta region and one of the nine in the area, Niger Delta has become an international issue and it requires everybody, both those at home, those that are here and of course the international community to achieve peace and development that we require.” Emmanuel Uduaghan is publically announcing that it is now perfectly safe for any kind of investor to invest within them. He says that the government knows that this issue is important to the economy and that they have done a lot to ensure safty to prevent something like this ever happens again.
Analysis: This is an important issue for Nigeria at this time. From an outside perspective an amnesty treaty sounds like a good idea, and in reality it may be the start of a solution, but it is very early and just the beginning. But it is a step in the right direction. Rather than saftey being the number one priority to the government, it seems as though it is secondary to the economy, or just a step along the way. Violence has been a problem in the area for a long time, there is a history of it. It has only been a few weeks since the amnesty has been in place; it's too early to tell if it will work. Oil is a big resource and I can see why the government needs to protect it, but it just seems to me that the only people the government are interested in protecting are themselves.
Compare: Peace is important to every nation. The government says “We have done a lot to make sure [the amnesty] succeeds. We are very optimistic [it] will succeed and if it [does], it is going to advance the peace process tremendously. It will be a very big avenue for the success of our peace process.” This sounds like a good idea, and similar ideas have worked in the past. The South African apartheid, for example, seemed to work for a long time; conditions are clearly better. Also, Northern Ireland and Great Britain had many internal conflicts in the 70's involing violence and bombings, but things have settled down and are a great deal more peaceful. So this idea for peace in the particular area to be an avenue for the nation is a good change from the past. It has worked in other countries, so why not Nigeria.

Jordan Thomas
Nigeria agency urges HIV positives to marry in order prevent spread of HIV

Summary: It is widely known that HIV is rapidly infecting more and more people throughout Africa. HIV is particularly prevalent in Nigeria, which has the third largest population of HIV infected people in the world (about 2.6 million people in 2007). In an effort to control the spread of the virus, Bauchi State Agency for the Control of AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (BACATMA), is encouraging HIV infected people to marry other infected people. They are doing this by paying the dowry for the marriage and offering marriage counseling for the couples. However, according to the UN, marriage doesn’t stop AIDS and the best way to fight AIDS is through prevention and treatment. Despite this controversy, the marriage often times provides moral support for the couple because HIV infected people are often banished from their village.
Analysis: This solution to the HIV is encouraging to me, even if it doesn’t prevent the spread of HIV substantially. It is evidence that Nigerians are thinking creatively and enacting their own ideas. This type of thinking is necessary in places like Nigeria because they often times don’t have enough money to provide universal treatment to the infected, which is what the UN thinks best for Nigeria to do. With this innovation come some questions on ethics. Should two HIV infected people have a child that they won’t be able to support and will probably be infected with HIV? BACATMA tried to address this issue by providing antiretroviral drugs to the parents in order to prevent the transfer of the virus. Even the medicine doesn’t guarantee the parents will live to support their child. I also think that there could be some danger in this program if they started enforcing their policy of two infected people marrying each other. If BACATMA began to forbid an infected person from marrying an uninfected person, that would be a major infringement on a person’s individual rights. Whether they do that or not depends on how much the program succeeds and how badly Nigeria needs alternative (to buying medicine) ways to fight HIV.
Comparison: HIV is an issue that most countries in Africa are being forced to face. The virus is present in countries outside of Africa, such as Thailand and Russia, but most of those countries have more money and can afford medication for the infected. Here is some perspective, 64% of all people living with HIV are in sub-Saharan Africa while the second-worst affected area, South and South East Asia, has 15% of the total HIV infected population. Other countries in Africa are also looking for alternative ways to fight HIV. In South Africa, researchers are paying girls to stay in school, so that, hypothetically, they stay away from HIV infected men. It is this type of creative thinking that will solve the HIV crisis.

Amy Dreher
Paediatricians chart new ways to reduce infant mortality rate in Nigeria
Summary: Nigeria has struggled with its infant and maternal mortality rate and now want to focus on cutting it down. On tuesday doctors had a meeting to talk about workable health care in Nigeria. Many people thought that the country was actually to blame for the deaths of the infants and women, but at the meeting Professor Adenike Grange said that the country was not to blame and that they were not lacking in resources for heath care. The Otunba Tunwase National Paediatric Centre (OTNPC) in Ogun that specializes in infant and childhood diseases, and is a place where people can come from all over Nigeria to get help. They hope that this will help cut the infant and maternal mortality rate in half. Dr. Sunny Kuku, the Chairman of Board of Trustees of OTNPC said that the deaths were due to lack of care for pregnant women and lack of vaccination for infants. He also credits the deaths to health care centers being to far away. He asked the private sector for support in helping spread health care.
Analysis: I think that this mortality rate is important to fix, but i don't think that they're going about it the right way. I don't see how they aren't lacking in health care, but so many people are dying. It sees to me that if it was better than they wouldn't be dying. I think that OTNPC is a great way to start lowering the death rate, but, I agree with Kuku, in that there needs to be more hospitals for women to go to because they all can't travel to Ogun to get treatment and help. Trying to lower the infant and maternal mortality rate by half seems like a big stretch to start with. They need to start smaller and work there way up. It seems like something good to work for.
Comparison: Like i said before, Nigeria struggles with there infant and maternal mortality rate, but in 2008 they had the second highest rate in the world, on behind India. 59,000 women die during or after child birth each year. They even went to the UN committee to see if this justifices for protecting the women's rights there. There are many reasons to blame this one, but one of the biggest is money. They hospitals make them pay up front, and many women don't have the money for it.

Emily Tysiger
ECOWAS parliament okays global intervention in Nigerien crisis

Summary In the recent weeks the Nigerian government has been faced with a crises of constitutionality breaching within the government. Political tension has risen to a new high as a result of President Mamadou Tandja's ambition of seeking another term in office, an ambition that has led to human right violations, victimization, harassment, and intimidation of the members of Parliament by Tandja's supproters. After a two day deliberation by the ECOWAS Parliament, the decision was made to "intervene immediately for the restoration of constitutionalism in Niger." The Nigerian Parliament also asked the international community, which includes; the U.N., EU, US, France, Germany, and the UK, to use there power and influence to put pressure on President Tandja to drop his ambition of another term in office. During the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government summit a few resolutions were adopted in order to help restore democracy and constitutionalism in the Nigerian government. These resolutions call on the powers at be to respect all that is democratic within the country and follow all protocol relating to resolution and peace keeping, as well as preventing conflict. ECOWAS also urges the pro- democracy groups in Nigeria to continue their struggles and push through, even when faced with threats and intimidation by the opposition.
Analysis/Comparison Like other poor somewhat politically unstable countries, Nigeria is finding it hard to prevent corruption and power seeking individuals from finding their way into the Government. It seems to me that newly democratic countries or countries that are surrounded by non-democratic countries tend to struggle with keeping the balance of power in check when power hungry individuals find themselves holding the most powerful positions in government. But as Nigeria slips I do find it promising that the Nigerian Parliament is taking an active role in finding a solution to this crisis. It is important that the Nigerian Parliament has been holding summits and has adopted such resolutions that call on the government to "respect texts relating to democracy, good government, and fair elections." Also the fact that they are seeking help outside of their own country from Intergovernmental Organizations and Countries like the US and UK shows their willingness to strive for democratic values (i.e keeping elections, the National Assembly, and the Constitutional court).
While in class we've discussed the issue of the United States role in spreading democracy I feel that in this circumstance outside intervention may be the only solution to Nigeria's current democracy debacle. While the U.S took an active role in trying to democratize Iraq they were never asked, provoking hostile feelings and resentment, in this case though, part of the Nigerian Government is actively seeking outside intervention. This outside help maybe the key to keeping Nigeria's political system strong and its way of life intact.