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The US is turning oil-rich Nigeria into a proxy for its Africa wars

Under the cover of counterterrorism, AFRICOM is beefing up Nigeria’s military to ensure the free flow of oil to the West, and using the country as a proxy against China’s influence on the continent.
 
by TJ Coles 

Part 4 - Enter Uncle Sam
 
In 1990, the Nigeria-dominated Economic Community of West African States (ECO) established a military wing, the so-called Monitoring Group (ECOMOG). The George H.W. Bush administration contributed $100 million. The succeeding Clinton White House said that for so-called peace-keeping operations in other African countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone, “Nigeria provided most of the ‘muscle’.” At this point, the seeds were sown for Nigeria’s use as a delegate for US wars in Africa.

By the dawn of the new millennium, the 3rd Special Forces Group (Army Command) was training Nigerian battalions to assist United Nations support missions. The Nigerian military enjoyed tens of millions of dollars-worth of US weapons.

Meanwhile, indigenous activists suffering under oil spills and environmental destruction established the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People. Nine of this group’s leaders, including Ken Saro-Wiwa, were later arrested on trumped up charges and executed by the national military that had been funded by Shell to act as its own private army.

The murders sparked international outrage and activists successfully pressured the US to terminate military aid. General Sani Abacha, under whose dictatorship the Ogoni Nine were hanged, established a Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to fight both activists and gangs. The MNJTF was later centered in Chad and used as a base from which to fight Boko Haram.

In 1999, Nigeria ended its military rule, at least on paper. By the mid-2000s, Human Rights Watch was wrote that, under the façade of parliamentary democracy, “the conduct of many public officials and government institutions is so pervasively marked by violence and corruption as to more resemble criminal activity than democratic governance.

With the Ogoni, Ijaw, and other Niger Delta peoples crushed with force, some turned to violence. Following lobbying by Shell, Nigeria’s old colonial master, the UK, began spending taxpayer money on military operations to counter armed groups: £12 million between 2001 and 2014, when Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) co-authored their report. CAAT documents the UK exportation of nearly £500m-worth of weapons to Nigeria in that period, including missiles and grenades. It cites increased UK arms exports as a direct reason for the failure of the southern ceasefire. UK “security contractors” including Control Risks, Erinys, Executive Outcomes, and Saladin Security were embedded with mobile police units to crush protestors.

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