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Old 03-13-2012   #801
KingJaja
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Default Nigerian Trends

I live in Lagos, Nigeria's biggest city and a barometer of where Nigeria is heading.

I went to Church last Sunday and heard an announcement about the creation of a cooperative. Members are supposed to pool resources for a period of six months and then be eligible to apply for loans and financial support. The amount requested per month is minimal (about $20), but the implications are far ranging - in a nation with a non-existent social security system, the Church has stepped into the void.

Juxtapose this with the planned retrenchment of 25,000 workers from the Civil Service next year, you'd immediately understand that the Church is thinking ahead.

Many Western analysts tend to underestimate the appeal and influence of Christian organisations in Nigeria. The Redeemed Christian Church of God, the largest evangelical denomination in Nigeria has at least 26,000 parishes and membership runs into millions. But evangelical churches don't just preach the word, they are heavily into education - these churches operate several primary and secondary schools and several operate or are in the process of establishing private universities.



(The pix above shows Covenant University campus, it may not be much by American standards, but for Nigeria, it is quite an achievement).

The same trend is mirrored within Islam (Nigeria also has a very large number of progressive Muslims, but they tend to be ignored by Western analysts). There are a rising number of "Nigeria Turkish" secondary schools (the Turks have street cred in those parts of Nigeria).

However, there is a strain of Islam that sees the superior organisational ability and financial muscle of Christian organisations as a threat that must be dealt with. Boko Haram, political Sharia and some Christian/Muslim crises may be seen as an attempt to mark boundaries.

As government is in retreat, religious organisations are rapidly taking over the functions of government. Will the next generation of Nigerians be even less tolerant than mine?

The next trend is the diminishing relevance of the center. Don't get me wrong, the central Federal Government is still hugely relevant, but due to compromises that have to be made to balance religious and ethnic sentiments and corruption it is increasingly less able to respond in a timely manner in meeting developmental challenges.

Lagos illustrates what the relationship between the Federal Government and more competent local administrations is likely to be in future. Lagos State depends on the Federal Government for only 25% of its funding (unlike most states in the North where the figure is closer to 95%). In addition the Lagos State government, through aggressive tax collection, is funding several important infrastructure projects.

The methods of Lagos are being adopted by more progressive states in Nigeria's South. Right now, there is talk about regional integration between Lagos and the five other states in the South West. (Ogun state is already leveraging on its proximity to Lagos to jump start its economy). Other states in the South are eagerly jumping on the bandwagon (levels of education in the South are high by African standards and increasingly so are expectations of governance).

Where does this leave us? It leaves us with a two speed Nigeria. With the terms North and South and Muslim and Christian not only referring to ethnic and religious affiliations but indicating steadily increasing differences in standards of living, educational attainment but most importantly worldviews.

For a nation to whether the test of time, it has to be much more than a vehicle to support the exploration of crude oil - it needs to have a common focus and a common soul. With two rapidly diverging identities (Muslim/Christian, Northern/Southern), is that possible?
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Old 03-14-2012   #802
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Default Youths refuse job offers in the North

A peek into the economic impact of Boko Haram. (Nigeria's educated workforce is dominated by Christian Southerners).

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The increasing flight of people, especially non-indigenes, from northern states to the southern part of Nigeria, in the wake of the unabated suicide bombings by the Boko Haram religious sect, is causing manpower shortages which are undermining economic activities up north.

BusinessDay gathered in Kaduna that chief among the sectors affected are privately owned companies, banks, insurance outfits and the informal sector, where most young men and women have been forced to resign their jobs due to pressures from parents and loved ones that they should return to the south which is considered safer.

We further gathered that the persistent suicide attacks and bombings in the north by the Boko Haram religious sect, on various institutions, including churches and banks, which have led to the death of scores of people and destruction of properties worth billions of naira, have forced a rethink by many who had wanted to stay.

Within the past four months, the activities of Boko Haram in the north have claimed the lives of well- educated bankers, artisans, technicians and other professionals, who had spent years in the northern states of Kano, Kaduna, Borno, Niger, Yobe, Bauchi, and Plateau. The situation is made worse by the fact that the Peace and Unity Conference initiated by northern leaders, under the auspices of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the series of meetings held by northern traditional and religious leaders, as well as the Northern States Governors Forum, could not convince members of the sect to sheathe their swords.

According to a bank manager in Kaduna who spoke on condition of anonymity, the insecurity in the region has created vacancies in most banks in the northern states, especially Bauchi, Borno, Plateau, Kaduna and Kano. He said most young graduates who were employed not long ago, have resigned their jobs due to pressure from their loved ones to quit the north.

He added that when the banks attempted to transfer personnel from the south to fill the vacancies, they were met with resistance and threats of resignation by experienced staff. He added that “Most people interviewed for replacement from the northern region did not measure up”. BusinessDay findings are that other economic activities are at the moment, at a very low ebb in the region.

For instance, the Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (KADCCIMA) had to postpone indefinitely, this year’s International Trade Fair, due to security challenges currently facing the state.

Borno state Commissioner for Information, Inuwa Bwala, however told BusinessDay that notwithstanding the security challenges, the government of Borno would keep its electoral promises to the people, pointing out that in the middle of the crisis, the present administration has constructed four out of the five hospitals it promised to deliver before the end of its first year in office.

Bwala also told BusinessDay that plans were underway to engage 27,000 youths in productive ventures, to reduce poverty and unemployment among the youths. He added that government plans to cultivate 10,000 hectres of land to keep the youth gainfully engaged in the production of various agricultural produce, regretting that the issue of Boko Haram has been hijacked by various criminal groups to unleash terror and even settle political scores with the present administration in the state.
http://www.businessdayonline.com/NG/...s-in-the-north
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Old 03-14-2012   #803
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Let me say right off, Kingjaja, I sure hope that your understandings and passion are being to real use for Nigeria and not just contributions to this forum. I appreciate them very much, but the Nigerian people are missing out on a lot if they are not getting some leadership and inspiration from you. I trust they are.

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Originally Posted by KingJaja View Post
I live in Lagos, Nigeria's biggest city and a barometer of where Nigeria is heading.

I went to Church last Sunday and heard an announcement about the creation of a cooperative. Members are supposed to pool resources for a period of six months and then be eligible to apply for loans and financial support. The amount requested per month is minimal (about $20), but the implications are far ranging - in a nation with a non-existent social security system, the Church has stepped into the void.

Juxtapose this with the planned retrenchment of 25,000 workers from the Civil Service next year, you'd immediately understand that the Church is thinking ahead.
Given the present religious tensions (and actual bloodshed) in Nigeria, what the churches are doing shows that they have substantial, capable and ministry minded leadership that keeps their eyes and minds on more than the immediate.

This type of foresight and action will go a long way in winning the hearts and minds of outsiders (non-christians) and solidify loyalty. Yet, it is more than that is genuine ministering to people. Changing lives. When all seems to be polarizing and turning political, these leaders have the interest of their flock in mind.

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However, there is a strain of Islam that sees the superior organisational ability and financial muscle of Christian organisations as a threat that must be dealt with. Boko Haram, political Sharia and some Christian/Muslim crises may be seen as an attempt to mark boundaries.

As government is in retreat, religious organisations are rapidly taking over the functions of government. Will the next generation of Nigerians be even less tolerant than mine?
I assume you are saying "will they be less tolerant of the government." They probably will be. In fact, IMHO, much of the future of Nigeria is in the hands of the youth of today. Their is a new, entrepreneurial spirit among them. If they get VC investment from some of the elite in the country, they will be able to so contribute to the economic base of the country that they will have the confidence to not depend on the government, but take action on their own to bring improvements.

Some of the young entrepreneurs in Kenya are already rallying around a cry of "usikai kimie" - don't remain silent. They have the financial clout to be heard, not so much by the government, but by the populous.

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Originally Posted by KingJaja View Post
For a nation to whether the test of time, it has to be much more than a vehicle to support the exploration of crude oil - it needs to have a common focus and a common soul. With two rapidly diverging identities (Muslim/Christian, Northern/Southern), is that possible?
Two diverging identities is one thing. Two diverging and hostile identities is another. In either case it is a major challenge to unity.

Sadly, the present polarization in the US has seeming brought government to a standstill and raising tension and animosity in the general populous. Granted things are far from as dire as you now face in Nigeria, but people often fail to see that hard line, uncompromising, belligerent stances toward those on the other side, are a often a prelude to violence and the degradation of life.
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Old 03-14-2012   #804
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Chowing,

Thank you very much, I will seek leadership positions but not electoral office.

Democracy in Africa is a topic I could spend an entire day talking about. My uncle was almost assassinated by a political opponent, but that's not the major issue.

If you insist on American style electoral politics in a nation as poor and vast as Nigeria (GDP per capita around $2,000), you are effectively excluding 99.99 pc of the population.

Where are the campaign funds going to come from? Of course from people who have access to a lot of easy money. Will they want to recoup their funds after the elections? Sure. Does that lead to corruption? Definitely.

What do the masses of unemployed youth do? Some seek employment as political thugs and some others use the experience of thuggery to form the nucleus of organisations like MEND and Boko Haram.

The British parliamentary system is less expensive, but it has a flaw of being adversarial - that won't play to well in Africa's divided nations.

Decision making in most African societies is consensual, not "democratic" in the Western sense. We may have to get back to that having tried democracy and failed for fifty odd years.
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Old 03-14-2012   #805
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Originally Posted by KingJaja View Post
I went to Church last Sunday and heard an announcement about the creation of a cooperative. Members are supposed to pool resources for a period of six months and then be eligible to apply for loans and financial support. The amount requested per month is minimal (about $20), but the implications are far ranging - in a nation with a non-existent social security system, the Church has stepped into the void.
I have no idea if they are recent arrivals in Nigeria (I find it difficult to believe they are) but tontines are quite common across Africa and have been for some time. The chances of finding a rotating credit association anywhere on our planet where there are poor people are pretty good, actually.
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Old 03-14-2012   #806
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I have no idea if they are recent arrivals in Nigeria (I find it difficult to believe they are) but tontines are quite common across Africa and have been for some time. The chances of finding a rotating credit association anywhere on our planet where there are poor people are pretty good, actually.
We've always had cooperatives, we call them esusu down here. The Church getting fully into the business means that there is likely to be more honesty and better adherence.
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Old 03-15-2012   #807
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We've always had cooperatives, we call them esusu down here. The Church getting fully into the business means that there is likely to be more honesty and better adherence.
Depends on the church!
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Old 03-16-2012   #808
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Default FG to set up central military commands in Bayelsa

Bayelsa State is President Jonathan's home state. You can read between the lines.

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Federal Government has approved the setting up of central military commands in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

THE PUNCH learnt that the nation’s service chiefs took the decision after assessing the economic importance of the state to the country and the rising activities of cultists and pirates.

Also, there has been a resurgence of violence in the state, with some oil facilities destroyed by militant groups in recent times.

Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson said this on Tuesday when the Chief of the Air Staff, Mohammed Umar, paid him a courtesy visit while inspecting the Nigerian Air Force formations in the state on Tuesday.

Dickson, who was represented by his deputy, Mr. John Jonah, said the Navy would be in the state on Thursday to set up its central command.

Dickson said, “I have been told that the Navy is coming in full force on Thursday to establish its central command. The Army has the biggest headquarters around here. So, all the service chiefs will be fully established here in addition to the Joint Task Force. Bayelsa State will be having more of military presence than many states that are new.”

He said for the state to be secure, government must invest in human development.

Umar said NAF in 2011 reactivated its mobility command with its headquarters in Yenagoa.

He said the headquarters of the mobility command was established in the state because of its strategic importance to the economy of the nation observing that the state provided an “easy reach for the Service to conduct its operations especially within the Niger Delta area”.

He said a parcel of land had been allocated to NAF for the take-off of its command, urging the state government to provide infrastructural assistance to the command.

Umar described the emergence of Dickson as “a huge masterstroke to rescue the state from a yarning precipice”.

He added, “With a campaign theme titled, Restoration 2012, we are convinced that this administration will aptly respond to the yearnings of Bayelsans quickly and urgently address the degrading state of affairs in the state. We are all in agreement that a state like Bayelsa should be at the forefront of development.

“By all means it should be a model state; a state where leadership and governance are accountable, transparent and made to work for the people with the clear aim of being able to guarantee their welfare and progress.”
http://www.punchng.com/news/fg-to-se...ds-in-bayelsa/
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Old 03-16-2012   #809
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Default Ex-Militants Get More Money Than Health Sector: Nigeria's 2012 Budget

Could this be one of the driving forces behind some aspects of Boko Haram? Violence is profitable.

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The National Assembly yesterday passed the 2012 Appropriation Act of N4,877,209,156,933 with a startling revelation that President Goodluck Jonathan allocated more money to the ex-Niger Delta Militants than the nation’s critical health sector.

A breakdown of the budget shows that the Presidential Amnesty Programme for ex-militants has a recurrent expenditure of N66,176,411,902 while the entire health sector was allocated N60,920,219,702.

The staggering allocation to the ex-militants is separate from the huge amount also allocated to the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, which is to gulp N48,673,424,630. In other words, the ex-militants and NDDC, which ought to create a conducive atmosphere to discourage militancy in the Niger Delta, were cumulatively allocated N114 billion.

The controversial fuel subsidy has the lion share of N888 billion followed by Works which is to gulp N244 billion.

Education, which is another critical sector of the economy, received only N66 billion, while Power was allocated N75 billion.

Transport is to gulp N89 billion and Water Resources N75 billion.

The 2012 budget, which was increased by about N228.3 billion after it was amended by the National Assembly, is predicated on a crude oil benchmark of $72 per barrel and a production output of 2.48 million barrels per day, as well as an exchange rate of N155 to the U.S. dollar.

After the passage of the budget, Senator President David Mark congratulated his colleagues for the quick passage of the budget and enjoined the executive to submit the 2013 budget to the National Assembly “latest by September this year, to enable us consider and pass it before the end of the year
http://www.nairaland.com/894394/ex-m...ore-money-than
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Old 03-18-2012   #810
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Default Boko Haram: The Human angle

Two stories illustrate the human toll of the Boko Haram menace and how it appeals to ethnic sentiments.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-17369800

http://www.theratshead.blogspot.com/...oko-haram.html

I said this earlier, only a reform of the Nigerian Police will stop Boko Haram. Nobody is listening.
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Old 03-19-2012   #811
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Originally Posted by KingJaja View Post
Two stories illustrate the human toll of the Boko Haram menace and how it appeals to ethnic sentiments.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-17369800

http://www.theratshead.blogspot.com/...oko-haram.html

I said this earlier, only a reform of the Nigerian Police will stop Boko Haram. Nobody is listening.
Fear does so much damage to the human soul and spirit. The police and BH have sown so much fear in past year. The world must come to understand just how dire things are becoming in Nigeria.

I cannot believe that Pres. Goodluck Jonathan really thinks that he is winning the war. He has to know better. Such statements only make it harder for the local populous to trust him and hard for the rest of the world to believe just how serious things are becoming in Nigeria.
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Old 03-19-2012   #812
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Chowing,

You don't really expect him to say he isn't winning the War!

Unlike the US, Nigeria is a divided nation and sometimes "he may be an SOB, but at least he is our SOB" takes precedence over competence. Jonathan isn't really very competent but he is just as incompetent as the typical SOB the Northern Muslims tend to throw out to Abuja (Abacha, Babangida, Yar'adua, Atiku etc).

So the Southern Christian population is going to support their man, regardless. And that leaves the Northern 1/3rd of Nigeria sulking.

Secondly, a not too insignificant proportion of Nigeria's population believe that Boko Haram is an attempt by the North to shake up Jonathan pretty badly - so there is some sympathy for him.

Thirdly, Jonathan is actually quite media/technology savvy and he seems to be better at connecting with younger voters (at least in the South and Middle Belt), than most other Nigerian politicians. He has a good feedback mechanism and can change his message appropriately. This is his facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/jonathangoodluck
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Old 03-21-2012   #813
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Default Qaeda group claims kidnap of German in Nigeria

Remember the Boko Haram raid on Kano and the German engineer that was kidnapped shortly after. Is this conclusive evidence of ties between BH and AQIM?

Quote:
NOUAKCHOTT: Al-Qaeda's north Africa branch said Wednesday it was holding a German engineer kidnapped in Nigeria two months ago, and that it wanted to swap him for a jailed Muslim woman, a private news agency in Mauritania said.

"We inform you that your compatriot Edgar Fritz Raupach is a prisoner of fighters from AQIM (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb)," the group said in a statement published by the ANI agency, demanding the release of a woman who it said had converted to Islam.

The woman, Felis Lowitz, whose Muslim name was given as Um Seiv Al-Islam-Al-Ansariya, was said to be detained in Germany where she was being "tortured".

A video obtained by ANI and seen by AFP showed Raupach, his hands tied behind his back, surrounded by masked gunmen.

In the video he called on his "parents, friends and German public opinion" to convince Berlin to "bring an end to the torture of our Muslim sister", adding that only her liberation will save his life.

AQIM warned that any attempt to rescue Raupach will lead to his death, as happened in the case of Italian engineer Franco Lamolinara and British colleague Chris McManus, killed earlier this month during a failed rescue bid by Nigerian forces.

Raupach, ANI said, is an engineer who was kidnapped in northern Nigeria on January 25.

Germany has confirmed one of its nationals has been kidnapped in northern Nigeria, and the German construction company Bilfinger Berger has said he is one of their employees.


Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Int...#ixzz1pn46m3YK
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)
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Old 03-23-2012   #814
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How reliable is the source? Is it confirmed that the people involved really do represent AQIM?

What's the story on this woman they allegedly want released in trade? Is it certain that this is what they want? Sometimes KFR groups will toss up a political facade while negotiating for ransom on the side.

Is there any evidence that the kidnapping in Nigeria was carried out by BH?

I don't doubt that there are links between AQIM and BH... I'd be surprised if there weren't, though the nature and extent of those links is by no means clear. I'm not sure this is evidence of linkage, though... a lot more information would be required.

I'd hope the US in particular will be very wary of any attempt to use "AQ links" to bait them into greater involvement in the BH situation.
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Old 03-23-2012   #815
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BH has a huge support base in Kano. Is it possible for BH and AQIM to operate in the same city without both organisations comparing notes? It seems highly unlikely.

In my humble opinion, this is the surest sign that BH and AQIM are collaborating. The timing is striking - a few days after BH mounted its most spectacular show of force, a german engineer was kidnapped, in the same town.
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Old 03-23-2012   #816
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BH has a huge support base in Kano. Is it possible for BH and AQIM to operate in the same city without both organisations comparing notes? It seems highly unlikely.

In my humble opinion, this is the surest sign that BH and AQIM are collaborating. The timing is striking - a few days after BH mounted its most spectacular show of force, a german engineer was kidnapped, in the same town.
AQIM is extending its reach throughout West Africa. Both BH and AQIM have everything to gain from this linkage. The Nigerian people have a lot to loose by it.

AQIM is linked with the Malian rebels recently returned from fighting in Lybia. They were so well armed that the Malian military was unable to make any headway against them. The military says they were not properly resourced by the Toure's government in Bamako so they stood little chance of defeating the separatist rebels. That, at least in their statements, is the reason for the coup in Mali.

I realize it is difficult to make comparisons between any two situations in the world, yet I cannot help but wonder if the Nigerian military and police feel under resourced by Goodluck Jonathan? How angry are they at being a frequent target of BH, yet seeming impotent to put BH to flight? Surely some have paid attention to what has happened in Mali.

The Nigerian president has far too much support in the south for any security forces to take action against him. However, will the time come when the police say, enough is enough, we cannot carry on with such a lack of resources and simply walk away or go on strike.
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Old 03-23-2012   #817
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Default Fight for Gadfy 1st, now become AQIM linked?

Chowing commented:
Quote:
AQIM is linked with the Malian rebels recently returned from fighting in Lybia.
The rebels in most reports I have read were mercenaries for Gadafy and fought against a coalition that included jihadists. Returning home before the end, along with heavy weapons - which the Malian army had nothing to compare. Film footage tonight showed "technicals" and lorry-mounted rocket launchers.

So how do these men now become linked to AQIM?

Can you please respond on the Mali thread, where the two posts have been copied to.
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Old 03-23-2012   #818
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AQIM is linked with the Malian rebels recently returned from fighting in Lybia.
Chowing,
Do you have a link to this source ?

To echo David's post, Gaddafi mercenaries are behind the coup in Mali and have nothing to do with AQ or BH. However, as was posted earlier, the flood of Libyan weapons is a valid concern to the Nigerian government as well as all of Africa.
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Old 03-23-2012   #819
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Chowing,
Do you have a link to this source ?

To echo David's post, Gaddafi mercenaries are behind the coup in Mali and have nothing to do with AQ or BH. However, as was posted earlier, the flood of Libyan weapons is a valid concern to the Nigerian government as well as all of Africa.
Hold the phone on that one ... I think certain elements of the Malian military are behind the coup. The only argument they've put forward so far indicates that they blame the Malian executive for not equipping them properly to fight a northern Touareg insurgency - those Touaregs are the former Gaddafi mercs, not the Malian coup makers.

Now the Malian president has accused the Touareg insurgents of being backed by AQIM:

http://www.echoroukonline.com/ara/ar...808.html?print

And I suppose that is part of the reason why AFRICOM was training Malian forces. But I have no idea if the U.S. has concrete intel on AQIM-Touareg links or if this is just part of the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership to strengthen all friendly Sahel militaries to fight AQIM.
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Old 03-23-2012   #820
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I realize it is difficult to make comparisons between any two situations in the world, yet I cannot help but wonder if the Nigerian military and police feel under resourced by Goodluck Jonathan? How angry are they at being a frequent target of BH, yet seeming impotent to put BH to flight? Surely some have paid attention to what has happened in Mali.
The police has always been under resourced, but the army has always beaten Boko Haram decisively in one on one encounters. Policemen have been known to go AWOL or refuse to put on their uniforms.

The Nigerian Military is much more competent than the Malian Military.
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