Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, February 10, 2014

Mapping the cleavages

Here is the BBC description of some of the divisions in Nigerian political culture (from last March).

Guide to Nigeria's trouble spots

North-western Nigeria, where two foreign hostages have been killed in a failed rescue bid, is not known for kidnappings. It is a relatively peaceful region, but other areas of Africa's most populous country can be more dangerous…

North-east: Islamist militancy: In the last 18 months, Islamist militants have terrorised the north-east of the country and killed hundreds of people.

The Boko Haram group - whose name means "Western education is forbidden" - wants to establish Islamic law in Nigeria…

North-central: Ethno-religious clashes, some kidnapping

Plateau and Kaduna states - on the fault line between the mainly Muslim north and Christian and animist south - have witnessed bloody ethnic and religious clashes over the years.

The violence between rival communities often has a political dimension too - and when trouble flares, even one's surname or dress can prove fatal…

Niger Delta: Oil theft, kidnapping, piracy

It is the oil-rich south of Nigeria that is renowned for its kidnappings for ransom - especially of expatriate oil workers.

But since the 2009 amnesty for militants - those behind much of the extortion - there has been a dramatic decline in abductions.

Correspondents say this may also be because there are fewer foreigners prepared to brave it to the lawless and under-developed region - and those that do have bodyguards…

South-east: Kidnapping

Abia state used to be known as the kidnapping capital of Nigeria - families of politicians and businessmen were targeted on what seemed like an industrial scale.

But since the military killed the man thought to the head of the kidnappers in December 2010 the incidents have fallen - though anyone of any strategic importance now has bodyguards…

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