Sunday, April 26, 2009

Nigerian Military Destroys Two Militant Camps

The article is reporting that on the 25th the Nigerian military raided a militant camp in Rivers near the high violence area of the Niger Delta. A military spokesman has said that the attack did result in a heavy gunfire exchange that left numerous militants dead but the military ultimately destroyed the campsite with no casualties. In addition to that attack, a second raid was conducted on a different camp in Delta State that had similar outcomes with retrieving large amounts of both ammunition and arms from the camps. The attacks are part of a new effort by the government to stop the violence in the area.

This article relates to what we have been learning in class by demonstrating how the government is being accountable for the violence and taking the initiative to make the effort in stopping the current situation in the Delta. Also, it shows that the government is using military force to stop the putting down the violence by the interest groups that, for the majority, are fighting for an more equal distribution of the oil wealth in Nigeria.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Italian Hostage Freed

Nigerian rebels freed an Italian citizen who had been held captive for over a week in the state of Ebonyi, where such kidnappings - common in some states - are rare. According to the Italian government, Nigerian officials were able to forge some sort of settlement with the gunmen, and the affair ended "possitively." The man, Giuseppe Canova, said in a phone call to his mother in Italy that the gunmen had treated him well and that he is scheduled to return to Italy within the next few days. Canova was not a foreign oil worker; he was working for a construction company that had been contracted to build a compound for the Ebonyi state government.

This article demonstrates that the grave situation for foreigners in Nigeria is not limited to oil workers in the Niger delta. Armed groups appear to be attempting to expand their control and strike fear into overseas corporations. Although this crisis did not involve oil, the trade of that commodity is at the root of the rebellion. Until the Nigerian government, rebels, and foreign companies can agree on a way to share oil wealth, such attacks and kidnappings will continue.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Torture: As it is in Nigeria, so it is across the world

Throughout Nigeria and other countries, torturing citizens is becoming a widespread way of controlling citizens. UN statistics report that 120 countries use torture as a device of obtaining information and running the country and in Nigeria alone, 2,000 people report torture cases each year. Torture in Africa is particularly violent, with victims having limbs chopped off or doused in acid or burned. In Nigeria, civil liberty groups have called for an abolition of the use of torture by security agencies. Ibechukwu Ezike, the director of the Civil Liberties Organization, claims that the “police are the guiltiest of using torture on suspects.” The National Law Enforcement Agency of Nigeria denied this saying they only “gather information through intelligence.” Agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission say that they use polygraphs, MRIs, Electroencephalographs, and truth drugs (sodium thiopental).

Even though agencies deny that they don’t use torture as a way to acquire information from suspects, I highly doubt this. There have been too many reports of torture by law enforcement agencies. This relates to what we have been learning in class because it shows the power that the government has over citizens and their rights. Nigeria is corrupt violence, but there are groups working to abolish torture practices by security agencies.
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Swiss hold '$150m Nigeria bribes'

U.S. investigators have traced 150 million dollars in bribes given to Nigerian officials to Swiss Banks. Michael Kase Aondoakaa said that the 150 million dollars was part of $180m in bribes given to Nigerian officials by the US construction company, Halliburton. The Nigerian government has asked the US to release the names of the Nigerian officials accused of negotiating bribes. The scandal occured between 1994 and 2004, when Haliburton admitted to paying bribes to Nigerian officials.

This article illustrates some of the corruption-related problems that Nigeria has and is facing. Nigerian officials have encountered some pressures from the media to process what US courts have found, and to prosecute the Nigerian officials who had taken bribes. Corruption is an ongoing problem that Nigeria must learn how to stop.
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Nigeria Oil Unrest 'Kills 1,000'

Sections of a report regarding revenue and lives that have been lost this past year caused by the growing oil unrest in Nigeria that was prepared for the federal government have been given to the media. The report, which is not yet published, contains information that 1,000 deaths from January to September of last year have been caused by the oil dispute along with 300 other kidnapping cases. In addition to the human sacrifices, oil exports have been cut by 25% during the past years and attacks and spillages have cost an estimated $20.7 billion. President Umaru Yar'Adua has announced that his government is considering offering armed groups an amnesty if they disarm, but Mend (the most visibly armed group in Nigeria) has dismissed his offer.

The recent report connects to what we have been learning in class with the class cleavages because many armed groups in Nigeria are fighting for a more equal distribution of the wealth from oil. Also, President Yar'Adua's offer of amnesty shows the influence that the armed groups have on the political change and the rule of law as well as political violence and interest groups.


Monday, April 6, 2009

This morning, the U.S. embassy in Nigeria tightened security because of the threat of possible terrorists attacks that might occur there.

A statementwas issued by the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, indicating that security in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, and in Lagos, shortly after the threat was received, according to CNN.

The statement read as follows: "As a result of this information, Nigerian police have heightened their vigilance along Walter Carrington Crescent (site of the U.S. consular offices in Lagos) and are monitoring traffic more closely."

Though the embassy refused to provide any more information to the U.S. broadcaster, it urged U.S. citizens in Abuja and Lagos to be cognizant of their surroundings.

This article shows the incredulity of the Nigerian security system. The embassy basically told the U.S. citizens to fend for themselves. That's not exactly what they said but that's what it really boils down to. They can't even do all they can to protect them, as they should. Nigeria really needs to up the security and put an end to the corruption in the country if they wish to move up to the world stage.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Polio Outbreak Spreads from Nigeria

The polio virus, target of a global campaign to wipe out the disease, has taken a foothold in Nigeria. Almost 3 times as many cases (801) were reported in the country in 2008 as in 2007 (285). To make matters worse, scientists studying the virus have reported that polio spread from Nigeria to 8 other African countries in the region, 6 of which had reported no new polio cases since 2005. Although this is disappointing news to those fighting polio, the success of fighting the disease has, overall, been unquesionably successful. There were only 1,655 cases reported worldwide in 2008, compared to over 350,000 cases in 1988 when the global eradication campaign began.

This article demonstrates the lack of proper medical technology, personel, and funding in developing countries like Nigeria. This shortcoming negatively affects not only Nigeria itself, but many of its African neighbors as well. Were this a less managable disease, an outbreak centered in Nigeria could bring civil unrest to the region, threatening locals and foreign interests.

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