Nigeria: Religious Court Orders Chat Room Shut Down


April 14, 2010: Acting president Goodluck Jonathan is trying to reinforce his position by saying all the right things. He will increase anti-corruption efforts and insure that next year's national elections are clean. Jonathan wants to run for president, and is using his current situation to help make that happen. Meanwhile, the ailing president's aides invited two groups of clergy (five Moslem, five Christian) to visit the president. Those two visits were announced as proof the president was nearly ready to return to power. But the clergy were sworn to secrecy about what shape the president was actually in, so it still looks like the president isn't coming back, and his staff doesn't want to admit it.

In the Niger Delta, the tribal rebels are not happy with the slow pace of the amnesty program. The amnestied gunmen are not getting paid, and many are talking about heading back to the swamps, stealing oil and fighting the government. There is already an increase in the kidnapping of foreigners, with five taken in the last few weeks.

In the central Nigerian city of Jos, religious violence continues, as groups of armed men continue to kill, largely at night (to avoid the many police reinforcements sent to the area), and usually as revenge for family or friends killed earlier. The religious strife is compounded by tribal differences, political problems (newcomers versus established communities) and economic disputes (herders versus farmers). So far, police have arrested 163 people, and intend to prosecute at least 41 of them for terrorism or murder.

March 30, 2010: In the Moslem north, a Sharia court ordered a Nigerian NGO (The Civil Rights Congress of Nigeria) to not discuss the use of amputations (as part of Sharia law) in Nigeria via the Internet (chat rooms, Facebook, Twitter). The court ruled that such discussions might lead to bad things being said about Islam, and this could not be allowed. Several states in the Moslem north have adopted Sharia law, and ten years ago, the first thief had his hand amputated according to Sharia law. The adoption of Sharia was initially popular in the north, as it was supposed to reduce crime and corruption. If did neither, and has added lifestyle police, and court rulings like this, to the list of things Nigerians don't like.

March 25, 2010:A Turkish cargo ship, waiting to be unloaded in Lagos, was attacked by ten pirates, who robbed the crew and stole portable electronic equipment. The crew resisted, and three were injured. These robberies are increasing, with at least one a week.


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