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CRS — Nigeria’s Boko Haram: Frequently Asked Questions

May 22, 2014 Comments off

Nigeria’s Boko Haram: Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Boko Haram, a violent Nigerian Islamist movement, has grown increasingly active and deadly in its attacks against state and civilian targets in recent years, drawing on a narrative of resentment and vengeance for state abuses to elicit recruits and sympathizers. The group’s April 2014 abduction of almost 300 schoolgirls has drawn international attention, including from the Obama Administration and Members of Congress. Periodic attacks against foreign targets in the region and growing evidence of ties to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a regional terrorist network affiliated with Al Qaeda, have also raised the concern of U.S. policymakers. The State Department named several individuals linked to Boko Haram, including its leader, Abubakar Shekau, as Specially Designated Global Terrorists in 2012, and Boko Haram was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the U.S. State Department in November 2013. The Obama Administration does not currently consider Boko Haram to be an affiliate of Al Qaeda.

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Backgrounder: Boko Haram

May 9, 2014 Comments off

Backgrounder: Boko Haram
Source: Council on Foreign Relations

Boko Haram, a diffuse Islamist sect, has attacked Nigeria’s police, military, rival clerics, politicians, schools, religious buildings, public institutions, and civilians with increasing regularity since 2009. Some experts view the group as an armed revolt against government corruption, abusive security forces, and widening regional economic disparity in an already impoverished country. They argue that Abuja should do more to address the strife between the disaffected Muslim north and the Christian south.

The U.S. Department of State designated Boko Haram a foreign terrorist organization in 2013. Boko Haram’s brutal campaign included a suicide attack on a UN building in Abuja in 2011, repeated attacks that have killed dozens of students, burning of villages, ties to regional terror groups, and the abduction of more than two hundred girls in 2014. The Nigerian government hasn’t been able to quell the insurgency.

Country Analysis Brief: Nigeria

January 7, 2014 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: Nigeria
Source: Energy Information Administration

Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa and was the world’s fourth leading exporter of LNG in 2012. Despite the relatively large volumes it produces, Nigeria’s oil production is hampered by instability and supply disruptions, while the natural gas sector is restricted by the lack of infrastructure to monetize gas that is currently flared (burned off).

Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa, holds the largest natural gas reserves on the continent, and was the world’s fourth leading exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2012. Nigeria became a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1971, more than a decade after oil production began in the oil-rich Bayelsa State in the 1950s. Although Nigeria is the leading oil producer in Africa, production suffers from supply disruptions, which have resulted in unplanned outages as high as 500,000 barrels per day (bbl/d).

New Report: Stolen Nigerian Crude Oil and Profits Laundered Around the World

September 30, 2013 Comments off

New Report: Stolen Nigerian Crude Oil and Profits Laundered Around the World
Source: Chatham House

Nigeria lost at least 100,000 barrels of oil per day, around 5% of total output, in the first quarter of 2013 to theft from its onshore and swamp operations alone, a new Chatham House report estimates. This illicit oil is likely to have found ready buyers in West Africa, the US, Europe and several Asian countries.

Stolen Nigerian crude and the profits from it are laundered around the world, threatening the integrity of financial markets and the legitimate oil business. Within Nigeria, the world’s 13th largest oil producer, the practice is tied to political violence, corruption and instability.

Despite this, no Nigerian oil thieves have been prosecuted internationally, and knowledge of the illegal business and its practitioners remains poor, says Nigeria’s Criminal Crude: International Options to Combat the Export of Stolen Oil.

Criminal Crude – the first independent, in-depth report on the international dimensions of Nigerian oil theft – explores the problem in the context of legal trading markets and Nigeria’s own oil sector and political culture.

The report describes oil theft as a species of organized crime that is almost totally off the international community’s radar.

Country Analysis Brief: Nigeria

October 17, 2012 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: Nigeria
Source: Energy Information Administration

Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa and has been a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) since 1971. In 2011, Nigeria produced about 2.53 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of total liquids, well below its oil production capacity of over 3 million bbl/d, due to production disruptions that have compromised portions of the country’s oil for years. The Nigerian economy is heavily dependent on the oil sector, which accounts for over 95 percent of export earnings and about 40 percent of government revenues, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The oil industry is primarily located in the Niger Delta where it has been a source of conflict. Local groups seeking a share of the oil wealth often attack the oil infrastructure and staff, forcing companies to declare force majeure on oil shipments. At the same time, oil theft, commonly referred to as “bunkering,” leads to pipeline damage that is often severe, causing loss of production, pollution, and forcing companies to shut-in production. Protest from local groups over environmental damages from oil spills and flaring undermined relations between local communities and international oil companies (IOCs). The industry has been blamed for pollution that has damaged air, soil, and water, leading to losses in arable land and decreasing fish stocks.

In addition to oil, Nigeria holds the largest natural gas reserves in Africa, but has limited infrastructure in place to develop the sector. Natural gas that is associated with oil production is mostly flared, but the development of regional pipelines, the expansion of liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure, and policies to ban gas flaring are expected to accelerate growth in the sector, both for export and domestic use in electricity generation. Uncertainties in Nigeria’s investment policies and regulatory framework have caused a slowdown in oil and gas exploration activity, and delays in project development, including LNG projects. However, the long-awaited and delayed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) could potentially iron out investment uncertainties and set a regulatory framework for the country’s oil and gas industry.

State Department Travel Warning: Nigeria

October 23, 2011 Comments off

State Department Travel Warning: Nigeria
Source: U.S. Department of State

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Nigeria, and continues to recommend U.S. citizens avoid all but essential travel to the Niger Delta states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers; the Southeastern states of Abia, Edo, Imo; the city of Jos in Plateau State, Bauchi and Borno States in the northeast; and the Gulf of Guinea because of the risks of kidnapping, robbery, and other armed attacks in these areas. Violent crime committed by individuals and gangs, as well as by persons wearing police and military uniforms, remains a problem throughout the country. This notice replaces the Travel Warning for Nigeria dated October 19, 2010, to update information on recent violent activity and crime in Nigeria.

On August 26, 2011, a suicide bombing at the UN Headquarters in Abuja killed 23 people and wounded more than 80 other individuals. This attack was the first against an international organization and the fourth bombing in Abuja during the past year. It followed a similar bombing against the Nigerian Police Force Headquarters ten weeks earlier that killed five individuals on June 16. These bombings were in addition to bombings elsewhere in Maiduguri, Suleja, and Jos throughout the last year.

The risk of additional attacks against Western targets in Nigeria remains high. In December 2010, a bomb exploded near an Abuja “fish bar,” killing several people and injuring many others. Also in December 2010, several explosive devices detonated in Jos, Plateau State, and alleged members of an extremist group attacked police and others in Maiduguri, Borno State, leading to significant casualties. In October 2010, two car bombs detonated in downtown Abuja during Independence Day celebrations, killing ten and wounding many others. Since March 2010, five improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have detonated in the Niger Delta region, causing one to three reported casualties in each case.

External Sustainability of Oil-Producing Sub-Saharan African Countries

August 28, 2011 Comments off

External Sustainability of Oil-Producing Sub-Saharan African Countries
Source: International Monetary Fund

In the extensive empirical work carried out across the IMF on oil-producing sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries, the notion of “sustainability” is often directed toward fiscal policies, and, in particular, views on the “optimal” non-oil primary fiscal deficit. The bulk of this work does not, however, address external sustainability, which is a concern especially for those SSA oil producers operating under a fixed exchange rate regime. A couple of recent papers have extended the existing methodologies to assess external sustainability for some oil-producing countries but they do not focus on those in sub-Saharan Africa. In this paper, we bolster this empirical work by providing a range of estimates for the long-run external current external account balance for each of the SSA oil-producing countries, based on three widely used methodologies in the IMF. Our research strategy is to apply these models to the eight countries in the subregion – Angola, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, and the Republic of Congo – using similar simplifying assumptions so that we are using the same lens to view how they do and do not differ.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

Country Analysis Brief: Nigeria

August 28, 2011 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: Nigeria
Source: Energy Information Administration

The Nigerian economy is heavily dependent on the oil sector which, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), accounts for over 95 percent of export earnings and about 40 percent of government revenues. The oil industry is primarily located in the Niger Delta where it has been a source of conflict. Local groups seeking a share of the oil wealth often attack the oil infrastructure and staff, forcing companies to declare force majeure on oil shipments. At the same time, oil theft, commonly referred to as “bunkering”, leads to pipeline damage that is often severe, causing loss of production, pollution, and forcing companies to shut-in production. The industry has been blamed for polluting air, soil and water leading to observed losses in arable land and decreasing fish stocks.

Map: Niger Delta Oil Infrastructure

Map of the Niger Delta Oil Infrastructure

 

 In addition to oil, Nigeria holds the largest natural gas reserves in Africa but has limited infrastructure in place to develop the sector. Natural gas that is associated with oil production is mostly flared but the development of regional pipelines, the expansion of liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure and policies to ban gas flaring are expected to accelerate growth in the sector, both for export and domestic use in electricity generation.

In order to remedy some of the oil, natural gas and electricity industry problems, the Nigerian government is currently debating a Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) that is designed to reform the entire energy sector (see oil section). The Bill was first introduced in 2009 and although parts of the PIB have recently been made into law, the Bill in its entirety continues to be debated by the National Assembly. This ongoing debate had delayed investments in oil exploration, project development and has also affected the natural gas sector by delaying planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects.

Country Specific Information: Nigeria

July 24, 2011 Comments off

Country Specific Information: Nigeria
Source: U.S. Department of State

July 20, 2011

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Nigeria is a developing country in western Africa that has experienced periods of political and communal violence. It has the largest population on the continent, estimated at over 150 million people, and its infrastructure is not fully functional or well maintained. Read the Department State’s Background Notes on Nigeria for additional information.

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