The mayhem in the Niger Delta
is costing about $4.4 billion in damages and lost revenue each
year. But the loss is just shrugged off as a cost of doing business. The
corrupt leadership is nothing if not adaptable. The Nigerian people are still
doing most of the suffering. The shut down oil production means there is less
money to steal. The growing number of kidnappings means more jobs for
bodyguards and security personnel. The tribe based gangs in the Niger Delta are
evolving into businesses, based on intimidation, theft and corruption. The
inability of anyone to get really organized means there is unlikely to be a
unified and effective rebellion. The system just staggers, with individuals and
small groups grabbing what they can.
June 29, 2007: The three year old son of a
politician was released after a ransom of $102,000 was paid.
June 27, 2007: The NDMFS (Niger Delta Militant
Force Squad) admitted it had kidnapped six Russians, and was demanding $471,000
for their release. Another group has grabbed the three year old son of a Niger
Delta politician. The kidnappers invaded the nursery school the boy was
June 26, 2007: It's all about money now.
Alhaji Muhajeed Dokubo-Asari, leader of the NDPVF (Niger Delta Peoples
Volunteer Force) demanded $1.1 million before his group would surrender their
weapons. That sum would compensate the rebels for what it cost them to buy they
weapons. The NDPVF has not gone into the kidnapping business, but insists
on more corruption prosecutions.
June 24, 2007: The national strike ended after
four days. There was a compromise, with the price of fuel going up only 8
percent (to about $2.15 a gallon.) The government oil price hike united
the country like nothing else. But the national strike was even more unpopular,
shutting down many essential services.