While northern Somalia is the site of much pirate activity, Nigeria has also suffered a growing number of
attacks on its fishing fleet that, so far this year, 64 Nigerian coastal
fishing boats have been attacked by pirates. Currently, eight of these fishing
boats are being held for ransom. Unlike the oil companies, the fishing boats
cannot afford to hire armed guards, and a very vulnerable to attack by seagoing
bandits. The dozens of ships that service the offshore oil facilities now have
armed guards most of the time. So the pirates go looking for less dangerous
legislature has established a committee to investigate what happened to the $42
billion that has been spent, in the Niger River delta oil region, over the last
eight years, on development projects. Nothing appears to have been developed,
and the money is unaccounted for (and presumed embezzled or otherwise
diverted.) The usual routine with this sort of thing is for the corrupt officials
who stole the money, to use some of it to bribe whoever needs bribing to make
sure the investigation goes nowhere.
officials have used their power and influence (especially bribes) to largely
cripple anti-corruption efforts. Officials who have clearly stolen large
amounts of government money are avoiding prosecution. Those that do get
convicted, serve only a few years, and some that are getting out, are
successfully suing to get some of their seized money (stolen from the
government) and property (bought with stolen funds) back. The good government
crowd is losing ground. Much of the best political talent in the country goes
over to the Dark Side, and uses their skills to steal government money, and
hold on to it.
2008: The president fired twenty
ministers, in an attempt to find officials who could get things done. Most
ministries are inefficient, or prone to inaction. Corruption is widespread, and
any officials who try to clean things up, is overwhelmed by the larger number
of officials who like things as they are.
2008: In the Niger delta, navy patrol
boats encountered three speedboats full of gunmen. Shooting broke out, and five
of the gunmen, who belonged to one of the many gangs in the region, were
killed. The police and military armed boat patrols are forcing the gangs to be
more cautious, but that's it.
2008: Gunmen boarded an oil company
support boat, robbed the 17 crew members, and took whatever loot they could
carry, and left. A second oil company boat was also attacked, but managed to
speed up and escape with only a few bullet holes.
2008: In the Niger delta, the government
of Rivers state has offered amnesty to
several of the larger and better organized of the rebel groups. The rebels
responded with a demand that the security forces withdraw from the rural areas
the gangs claim as their own, before the amnesty offer will be considered. Thus
the amnesty effort appears headed nowhere.
2008: Cameroon is sending more soldiers
and police to defend its 1,700 kilometer frontier with Nigeria. This is in
response to attacks by Nigerian gangs, including one (the NDDSC, or Niger Delta
Defense and Security Council) that claims to represent the interests of the
200,000 Nigerians who are being forced to leave the Bakassi peninsula. Cameroon
is installing radar along the coast near Nigeria and increasing naval patrols. The new violence comes in the wake of Cameroonian
troops moving into the Bakassi peninsula. This is the final part of a two year
process of turning Bakassi over to Cameroon. This oil rich area was long
controlled by Nigeria, but an international court awarded it to Cameroon.
Nigeria began handing it over two years ago, but some Nigerian groups have
continued to fight for a return to Nigerian rule. The Nigerian gangs are taking
advantage of the less well armed and numerous Cameroon security forces. Most of
the inhabitants of Bakassi do not want to become Cameroon citizens and must
move to Nigeria. Some of the gangsters from this population of over 200,000
people. Gunmen in speedboats have been clashing regularly with Cameroonian