There are few issues that have captured the airwaves in Nigeria more than the twin campaigns in favor of debt relief and against corruption. A photograph of Nigeria’s former top cop made the front pages only to be followed the next day by apologies for humiliating the man. The Senate president, the number three man in the government, got kicked out of office for allegedly helping to grease of palms of some Senators, so that a government ministry’s budget could be laced up with bogus figures. The Senate president did not go down alone. He is currently squirming in the dock with the former minister of education and some other senators. Another minister was sacked for underhand dealings in a proposed sale of government houses in the high-brow section of Ikoyi, Lagos . Many of President Obasanjo’s extended family members were scheduled to become owners of these choice quarters built with public funds.
Alienation and Militancy in the Niger Delta: A Response to CSIS on Petroleum, Politics, and Democracy in Nigeria
In the wake of the September 11th attack and the Iraq war, Nigeria’s geopolitical significance to the U.S. has come into sharper relief. In March and April 2003, militancy across the Niger Delta radically disrupted oil production in this major oil supplier nation. News of these actions, following conflict-ridden national elections, has reinforced the notion that Nigeria and the new West African “gulf states” in general are matters of U.S. national security.
At a time when the petropolitics of the Bush administration seem to reign supreme, the rights of peoples affected by the global hunt for oil have received an important boost. An African commission has ruled the Nigerian government should compensate the Ogoni people for abuses against their lands, environment, housing, and health caused by oil production and government security forces. Nigerian and international groups say that the ruling by the nine-member African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) is a sweeping affirmation of what the human rights community calls ESC rights–defined by the UN’s International Covenant on Economic, Social, and, Cultural Rights.