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Nigeria     Empty Nigeria

Post  polka23dot Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:33 pm

Anti-corruption investigators are uncovering the details of how so much of the oil income is being stolen. One scam involves foreign oil brokers who arrange for oil exports to be sold at artificially low rates and the difference (between that and the real price) to be shared by the brokers and corrupt Nigerian officials. Nearly $7 billion in stolen oil income has been traced to this scheme so far. Punishing the thieves is time-consuming and difficult because the thieves can afford lots of lawyers and litigation to slow down (or buy off) Nigerian prosecutors. Corrupt officials with lots of money and lawyers are not the only problem. The state governors tend to be the most corrupt senior officials and some of them appear to be organizing a legislative effort to make it more difficult to prosecute corrupt politicians. There are many of these local politicians, working their way up in corrupt local political organizations with the ultimate goal of being elected governor of a state and being able to amass a large fortune (and then retire outside of Nigeria, in some place without an extradition treaty). The thieves are getting organized. The piracy problem off the coast is getting worse, in part because some navy personnel have been bribed to assist the pirates. This makes it dangerous for anyone (especially local or foreign journalists) to investigate the situation. People who do so often disappear, although sometimes their bodies are later found off the coast. source: http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/nigeria/articles/20131111.aspx

The Nigerian government suffers greatly from corruption, which is a form of terrorism the way it is practiced in many parts of Africa. That’s because local politicians will, in effect, sponsor local criminal gangs. This arrangement provides the gangsters some protection from the police (who are usually also quite corrupt) and the courts (who are less corrupt but still a threat). In return the gangsters help ensure that their patron gets elected, or reelected. It’s usually a political party, dominated by one (or a few) talented politician that steals as much as he can and distributes it to as many people as necessary to perpetuate the system for generations. Most of the population gets screwed, or worse if they make too much noise about the corruption. This form of corruption is found everywhere, even in the West. But nowhere is it as pervasive and dominant as in Africa... Nigeria is also seen by international crime experts as the center for organized crime in Africa. The culture of corruption makes it easier for major criminal enterprises to survive in Nigeria. Even without all the oil wealth to steal, the Moslem north also suffered from this culture of corruption, which is the main reason for the appearance of Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram. While these Islamic radicals blame the corruption on Western influences, the north was corrupt long before European colonialists showed up two centuries ago. The corruption is worse now because there’s more to steal and the participation of so many senior government and commercial officials makes it easier to launder money and get it out of the country. source: http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htterr/articles/20140214.aspx

The army and police, when faced with a major emergency (like the Boko Haram terror tactics) will react by arresting and torturing lots of people (especially young men, the most likely Boko Haram recruits), often killing them and denying what had been done... While Islamic terrorists are difficult to find, oil thieves and their collaborators are easier to spot. The oil theft does not just take place in the Niger Delta (where the oil fields are) but throughout the country. There are other pipelines that carry refined product (especially diesel), and these are being plundered. The refined product is more profitable as you can sell it locally. This is risky as you have to drive around in tanker trucks, always one unexpected encounter with the police away from prison or worse. Sometimes the cops will take a bribe and sometimes they will kill you and steal your stolen oil. source: http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/nigeria/articles/20130509.aspx

Nigerian government revealed that it is prosecuting fifteen officers (at least four of them generals) for aiding Boko Haram... Some Moslem officers have made no secret of their sympathy for Boko Haram and radical solutions to the many problems that plague the country. The accused officers are said to have supplied Boko Haram with weapons, ammo and equipment as well as information on planned military operations... Such corruption is not unknown in the military and is quite common throughout Africa... These corruption prosecutions have made many senior politicians and their mass media supporters wary of accepting foreign assistance to deal with the mass kidnapping. The fear is that more attention from foreigners will simply uncover and publicize more of the corruption in Nigeria. All this misbehavior is not news to most Nigerians, but the senior people like to pretend it doesn’t exist when they travel abroad to enjoy all their stolen wealth. With the international media doing more stories on how widespread corruption is in Nigeria the most corrupt (and wealthiest) officials won’t be able to pretend to just be “successful businessmen” while outside the country. source: http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/nigeria/articles/20140604.aspx

(Nigerian) government is criticizing the United States for refusing to sell Nigeria AH-64 helicopter gunships. The U.S. refused because of Nigeria’s dismal track record maintaining and operating such equipment. The Americans also mentioned the tendency of Nigerian troops to kill lots of innocent civilians with such weapons. The U.S. also pointed out that similar weapons are available from other sources. The government was apparently more upset at the Americans openly discussing the corruption and lethal incompetence of the Nigerian military, something many Nigerians agree with but that the government insists does not exist. American military advisors have been urging the Nigerians to do more about the corruption and poor leadership in the military. source: http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/nigeria/articles/20141114.aspx

Many countries with natural resources seek to get the most out of the oil or mineral wealth produced by establishing a state owned company to control these resources and funnel most of the income to the state. In most cases this does not work, mainly because of corruption and theft. The exceptions to this are in wealthier industrialized countries that have low corruption to begin with. But in less affluent nations, especially ones with a more entrenched tradition of corruption the presence of all that oil wealth does not work out as expected. Three current examples are Mexico, Indonesia and Nigeria. Although Mexico recently enacted reforms meant to make the state owned oil company more efficient that is not working out because that decision led to revelations that the state oil company was currently losing over half a billion dollars’ worth of oil a year to thieves who tap into the 35,000 kilometers of pipelines carrying crude oil and refined products. This is often done by bribing local police to not intervene and sometimes by cutting in local oil company workers in order to obtain some skilled help with the thefts. Nigeria has the dubious distinction of being the oil-producing nation suffering from largest problem with theft of crude oil. Not only is this costing the government billion dollars a year in lost revenue, but much of the oil from the plundered pipelines (the thieves just punch a hole to steal the crude) flows into the Niger River delta waterways, polluting the delta and the fishing waters off the coast. In the last decade the government had hired former local rebels to provide pipeline security, but these lads appear to have gone into business with the oil thieves or joined the theft gangs themselves. In southern Nigeria the oil thefts have been going on for decades and because of government efforts (prompted by media and popular pressure) to curb the thefts the losses have increased. The navy was ordered to find and seize the small tankers that collect the crude oil from the thieves and take it to neighboring countries to be sold to brokers who will arrange for the stolen oil to enter legitimate commerce. Naval officers are suspected of taking bribes from tanker owners, who can afford to pay large sums to avoid seizure. Oil companies believe about 150,000 barrels of oil a day are being stolen by thieves who tap into Nigerian oil pipelines. That’s several billion dollars a year in lost oil revenue. Most of what the government actually receives from oil production is stolen by politicians and civil servants, so people living in the oil producing regions see themselves as double victims. They don’t get much oil income because of all the theft and also suffer from the pollution the oil thieves cause when a hole is punched into a pipe. In Mexico some police appear to have been corrupted by the oil theft gangs and now the government wants to use the military to do what the police could not handle. This was the same approach Nigeria used. But here there is always the risk that the military will be corrupted as well. This is what happened in Nigeria. Yet the police and military are not always corrupted by oil thieves in less affluent countries. Most Arab states avoid such damaging corruption by making sure all interested parties get paid well. That means local government officials and the local (to the oil production) population are rewarded with the understanding that everyone will do their part (even if it only means reporting criminal activity) to keep the oil production going without interruption or unnecessary loss. Arranging such a deal is not easy and some nations have managed to pull it off and some have not (and have suffered loss of state income and corruption and crippling of their security forces. This ruinous corruption is always there no matter what the natural resources are. In Mexico even mining caused corruption and the diversion of large sums of money. This non-oil resource corruption in common throughout Africa and Asia as well. Natural resources are not always a blessing, not when they turn into something that makes gangsters and corrupt officials rich and finances all manner of disorder and widespread mayhem. source: http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htmurph/articles/20150102.aspx

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