The violence in the Niger Delta oil region continues to grow. More people
with grievances have more guns and less patience. The gangs are targeting their
kidnapping victims more carefully, going after businessmen and government
officials that appear to have money (and can afford a high ransom). Armed
robberies are more ambitious, elaborate and deadly. Fortunately for the
government, the many tribe based gangs are not organizing a coalition capable
of actually taking control of the region. But the rising crime rate is pretty
bad, and increasing military and police activity is doing more for the body
count than it does for law and order.
2008: Several days of tribal strife in the southwest have left seven dead and
dozens wounded. The fighting was largely about which faction would get their
guy into a tribal leadership job.
2008: Nearly 200 children have died in the north, from measles. This is another
aftereffect of an earlier campaign by Islamic conservative clerics up there, to
get parents to refuse vaccinations for their children. The clerics believed the
anti-polio vaccinations were actually a Western plot to poison Muslim children
(and make the girls sterile, or something like that). The government eventually
got the clerics to back off on the polio vaccinations, but there was continued
reluctance to get vaccinations in general.
2008: Anti-corruption investigators are accusing the daughter of former
president Olusegun Obasanjo were involved in stealing at least four million
dollars from the Health Ministry. Obasanjo was elected on an anti-corruption