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Nigeria could be worse than Iraq April 10, 2006

Posted by Steve Gallagher in Government & Politics.

Nigeria is a huge country. 130 milllion citizens. They also have 35.9 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, the eighth largest on earth. They export 2.5 million barrels a day and plan to double that by 2010. They are the 5th largest supplier to the US now. Predictions are that within 10 years they will supply one quarter of America’s oil.

One trouble with this: they are potentially even more unstable than Iraq. The reason that oil prices have gone up in the last week has been trouble in Nigeria. In 2002 the White House the oil in Africa (Nigeria and 5 other countries) a “strategic national interest”. The significance of this: the United States may use military force if necessary to protect it.

One of Nigeria’s main problems is corruption. During the last 25 years, Nigeria earned more than $300 billion in oil revenues, while per capita income plummeted from $1000 to $390. Now more than 2/3’s of the population subsists on less than $1 per day. Meanwhile, since 1960, it’s rulers have systematically squandered or stolen $400 billion in govenment money. A World Bank report in 2004 stated that 80% of the country’s oil wealth went to 1 % of the population.

Nigeria has this: corruption, oil wealth, a burgeoning Muslim population, and a value to the US as an energy supplier. Osama bin Laden has called Nigeria “ripe for liberation”.

The US could find itself facing an Islamic population almost 5 times thet of Saudia Arabia, radicalized, and in control of abundant oil reserves which America has vowed to protect. This makes for a potential military intervention more massive than that in Iraq, and more important than Iran.

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