- (july 2021)
Nations in crisis: Nigeria
Nigeria is Africa's largest economy and most populous nation.
Nigeria has never been so unstable.
The central government is failing to defend from a wave of overlapping security crises
that affect just about every region of the country.
at the same time that inflation is causing a food crisis,
39% of Nigerians live below the poverty line of $1.90 per day,
and youth unemployment reached 32.5%
For many years the Islamist movement Boko Haram has staged lethal attacks in the north-eastern states of Nigeria.
Far from being defeated, that Islamist movement has spawned new movements
in both Nigeria itself (the Islamic State's West Africa Province,
which pledged alliance to ISIS) and all neighboring countries.
Nigeria's north is mostly Muslim, while the south is mostly Christian.
The north and the center, all the way down to Benue State, has always been devastated by deadly clashes between
nomadic animal herders and settled farmers, which have only increased
as climate change and overpopulation have made resources like water more scarce.
Then there's the kidnappings of schoolchildren, mostly in the north-west (notably in Zamfara and Niger states).
This has become more frequent in 2021.
More than 1,000 schoolchildren have been abducted between December 2020 and June 2021.
Boko Haram was doing it to recruit sex slaves and soldiers, but now it's regular "bandits" doing it for ransom.
It is becoming one of the most lucrative industries in the country.
Then there's the separatists of Biafra (the Igbo ethnic group) in the south-east, the
Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob),
founded in 2014 by Nnamdi Kanu (now under arrest).
In 1967 Biafra declared independence and Nigeria became the theater of
a civil war and famine that caused the death of a million people.
Finally, oil is Nigeria's biggest foreign export
(Nigeria is the world's 13th largest producer of oil)
and mostly comes from one southern region, from the Niger Delta.
Some of the militants there are just bandits, but others are activists who feel that the profits of the oil trade
are unfairly distributed, and some of the bandits are simply fishermen and farmers who lost their traditional livelihood
and now resort to kidnapping oil workers and sabotaging pipelines.
For about a decade (following the 2009 amnesty) these attacks kept declining but now they are on the rise again.
Nigeria, a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation, became independent in 1960 when its population was 45 million.
Nigeria's population passed 200 million in 2019.
That's the population of Germany, Britain and France combined.
Nigeria's GDP is $450 billion.
The combined GDP of those three European countries is 20 times more.
If these problems have become intractable, it's also largely because of
endemic corruption in the centers of power.
It is interesting that little has changed between
the publication of Eghosa Osaghae's "Crippled Giant" (1998) and
Karl Maier's "This House has Fallen" (2002)
and the publication of
John Campbell's "Nigeria: Dancing on the Brink" (2013)
and Robert Nwadiaru's "Nigeria: A Failed State?" (2019).
TM, ®, Copyright © 2021 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
Back to the world news | Top of this page
- Articles on Nigeria before 2020