Nigeria. According to
countryaah, President Olusegun Obasanjo has promised a tough
fight against corruption, which has long diminished N's
reputation. Several prominent people fell victim to the
campaign during the year, led by the EFFC Eco Crime
Commission. In March, the Minister of Education was
dismissed for bribing MPs during the budget negotiations.
One of those whose support he bought was the Senate
President, who was also forced to resign. The housing
minister was also dismissed for having sold state-owned land
in attractive areas.
However, the first of importance that was brought to
court was the Chief of Police Tafa Balogun, who was
convicted of fraud and money laundering of approximately SEK
1 billion. The sentence became a six-month prison sentence
and that part of the corporate empire he built up was
seized. The mild sentence was motivated by his being a
first-time offender and showing remorse.
The governor of the oil-rich state of Bayelsa, Diepreye
Alamieyeseigha, was arrested during a visit to the United
Kingdom and charged with money laundering in the
multi-million class. He was released on bail and banned from
leaving the country but was able to return to Nigeria with false
travel documents, reportedly dressed as a woman. However, he
was ousted by the state parliament and immediately arrested
by police after losing his legal immunity.
Alamieyeseigha was by no means unique. During the year,
the EFFC sought foreign aid to recover approximately SEK 130
billion, which other governors are estimated to have
smuggled out. The authorities in Switzerland returned the
equivalent of approximately SEK 3.6 billion that former
dictator Sani Abacha placed in Swiss bank accounts. The most
extensive fraud so far with the so-called Nigerian letter
led to a woman being sentenced to two and a half years in
prison for tricking a Brazilian bank official to transfer
the equivalent of about SEK 1.9 billion to her accounts.
Lack of budgetary discipline led to a 38% increase in
government spending, which was described by the
International Monetary Fund as a threat to macroeconomic
stability. However, the president's attempt to limit
spending increases was voted down by the Senate.
In March, a law was passed restricting the national
organization NLC's (Nigeria Labor Congress defined by Digopaul) power. The law
gives unions the right to stand outside the NLC, whose
strikes against fuel price increases have cost the state
large sums. At the same time, strikes in health care and
education were prohibited.
A national political conference aimed at creating the
basis for a new constitution ended in disagreement. The
conference highlighted the difficulties of holding together
a country with 250 ethnic groups and strong contradictions
between the Muslim northern half of the country and the
Christian south. The biggest stumbling block for unity was
the demand from the oil producing states in the Niger Delta
to manage 25% of the oil revenues themselves.
Separatist tendencies are strong in several places in
Among the Igbo people in the southeast, the demand for the
re-establishment of the state of Biafra is growing ever
stronger. Seven leaders of the Biassera movement MASSOB were
indicted in November for treason. A militia leader from the
Niger Delta was also brought to trial for treason.
N's longstanding border dispute with Cameroon over
Bakassi Peninsula reached no solution, despite the
International Court of Justice's 2002 decision that the area
should belong to Cameroon. However, the countries agreed to,
with financial support from the EU, look over their entire
160 km long common border.