Order Code RL33964 Nigeria: Current Issues April 12, 2007 Lauren Ploch Analyst in African Affairs Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division Nigeria: Current Issues Summary Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa, with an estimated 132 million people, has faced intermittent political turmoil and economic crisis since gaining independence in October 1960. Nigerian political life has been scarred by conflict along both ethnic and geographic lines and misrule has undermined the authority and legitimacy of the state apparatus, but many Nigerians feel a significant degree of national pride and belief in Nigeria as a state. After 16 years of military rule, Nigeria made a transition to civilian governance in 1999, when Olusegun Obasanjo, a former general, was elected president. In May 2007, after two terms in office, Obasanjo is scheduled to transfer power to a new administration. Nigeria has made progress in strengthening its fragile democracy but faces serious social and economic challenges. Although Nigeria’s oil and natural gas revenues are estimated at over $40 billion per year, its human development indicators are among the world’s lowest, and a majority of the population suffer from extreme poverty. Nigeria remains relatively stable, although ethnic and religious clashes in parts of the country are common. Thousands have been killed and many more wounded in religious clashes. Under President Obasanjo, Nigeria has emerged as a major player in Africa. The government has helped to resolve political disputes in Togo, Mauritania, Liberia, and Cote d’Ivoire. Nigeria has also played an important role in facilitating negotiations between the government of Sudan and the Darfur rebels. Nigerian troops have played a vital role in peacekeeping operations in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and are currently in Cote d’Ivoire, Congo, Liberia and Sudan. Nigeria is one of the United States’ key strategic partners in Africa. The country is Africa’s largest producer of oil, and is America’s fifth largest oil provider. As the continent’s second largest economy, Nigeria’s stability and prosperity affect not only those in the market for Nigerian oil, but the entire region. Nigeria’s next general elections are scheduled for April 14 and 21, 2007. They are significant because if successfully held, they will mark the country’s first transfer of power from one civilian government to another. Efforts to allow Obasanjo to stand for a third term were defeated in 2006. Some analysts suggest that the threat of domestic regional tensions triggering wider civil unrest or controversies surrounding the elections themselves could lead to an electoral delay. Credible and peaceful elections are critical to the future of both the country and the region. This report will be updated as the situation warrants. Contents Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Political Developments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 The Transition to Democratic Rule: 1998 & 1999 Elections . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 The 2003 Elections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Upcoming Elections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Electoral Administration Challenges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Electoral Malfeasance & Political Violence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Politically Motivated Corruption Charges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Current Economic and Social Conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Misallocation of State Funds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 The Effects of Corruption . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 HIV/AIDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Avian Flu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Islamic Sharia Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Conflict in the Niger Delta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Background of the Struggle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Criminality & Violence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Effects on the Oil Industry and the World Market . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Efforts to Address Environmental & Development Challenges . . . . . 14 International Relations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 The Bakassi Peninsula . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Issues for Congress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Administration Policy on Nigeria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 U.S. Assistance to Nigeria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Congressional Interest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 The 110th Congress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 The 109th Congress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 List of Tables Table 1. U.S. Assistance to Nigeria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Nigeria: Current Issues Background Nigeria’s economy is Sub-Saharan Africa’s second largest, and it is one of the world’s fastest growing sources of high quality sweet crude oil and natural gas. Nigeria has mediated conflicts throughout the continent, and its troops have played a critical role in peace and stability operations in the Nigeria at a Glance region. The country ranks 9th among troop contributors to Population: 131.8 million U.N. peacekeeping missions Pop. Growth Rate: 2.38% around the world. Nigeria, Independence: October 1960 which is roughly twice the size Comparative Area: Slightly larger than twice the size of California of California, is also home to Religions: 50% Muslim, 40% Christian, Africa’s second largest 10% indigenous beliefs HIV/AIDS-infected population Languages: English (official), 250 local and has the continent’s highest languages tuberculosis burden. Some Literacy: 68% experts hypothesize that Infant Mortality: 97 deaths/1,000 live births Nigerian poultry infected with Life Expectancy: 47 years the H5N1 virus may be the Prevalence of HIV: 5.4% source for avian flu outbreaks in GDP: $116.4 billion (2006) neighboring countries. GNI Per Capita: $560 (2005) According to one senior foreign Exports: $52.16 billion (2005) policy analyst, “No country’s Imports: $25.95 billion (2005) fate is so decisive for the External Debt: $37.49 billion (2005) continent. No other country across a range of issues has the Source: The CIA World Fact Book 2007, Economist power so thoroughly to shape Intelligence Unit (EIU). outcom es el sewhere in sub-Saharan Africa.”1 Despite its oil wealth, Nigeria remains highly underdeveloped. Poor governance has severely limited infrastructure development and the provision of social services, hindering economic development and leaving much of the country mired in poverty. The government’s human rights record is poor. Ethnic and religious strife have been common in Nigeria, and perceived differences have been politicized by political elites. The country is composed of over 250 distinct ethnic groups, of which ten account for 1 Robert I. Rotberg, “Nigeria: Elections and Continuing Challenges,” Council on Foreign Relations, Apr. 2007. CRS-2 nearly 80% of the total population. The northern Hausa-Fulani, the southwestern Yoruba, and the southeastern Ibo have traditionally been the most politically active and dominant. Almost half of the country’s population, an estimated 60 million, are Muslims, who live primarily in the northern half of the country. Divisions between ethnic groups, between north and south, between Christian and Muslim, often stem from perceived differences in access to social and economic development. More than 12,000 Nigerians have been killed in local clashes since 1999, and some three million have reportedly been displaced by those clashes.2 Political Developments3 Nigeria is a federal republic composed of 36 states; its political structure is similar to that of the United States. The country has a bicameral legislature with a 109-member Senate and a 360-member House of Representatives. Its president, legislators, and governors are elected on four year terms. Nigeria’s next general elections are scheduled for April 14 and 21, 2007.4 Many, including the U.S. State Department, maintain that the country is still in political transition,5 since, as Human Rights Watch has reported, “Nigeria has not held a free and fair general election since the end of military rule.”6 Nigeria was ruled by the military for approximately 28 of its 47 years after independence, and much of its political history has been dominated by a contest for power between north and the south. Northern military leaders dominated Nigerian politics until 1999, when the country made the transition to democracy. Today, the Hausa remain dominant in the military and the federal government, but have lost significant power in many state governments. Since the election of President Obasanjo in 1999, there has been a de-facto power sharing arrangement between the north and the south. The main presidential contenders in the upcoming election are northerners, and with the retirement of President Obasanjo scheduled for May 2007, the office is expected to be transferred to the north for the next presidential term. The Transition to Democratic Rule: 1998 & 1999 Elections After years of military rule, Olusegun Obasanjo, who had formerly served as a military head of state from 1976 to 1979, was elected President of Nigeria on February 27, 1999 in nationwide elections. Prior to the presidential election, Obasanjo’s party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), won the majority of 2 Ibid., p. 20. 3 For more information on Nigeria’s political history, see CRS Report RL33594, Nigeria: Background and U.S. Relations, by Ted Dagne and Lauren Ploch. 4 State gubernatorial and state legislative elections are scheduled for Apr. 14. The following week, on Apr. 21, the presidential and federal legislative elections are expected to be held. 5 6 U.S. State Department, “Nigeria,” Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2006. Human Rights Watch, “Election or ‘Selection’? Human Rights Abuses and Threats to Free and Fair Elections in Nigeria,” Apr. 2007. CRS-3 municipalities in local elections, held in December 1998, while the All People’s Party (APP) came in a distant second, followed by the Alliance for Democracy (AD). In the governorship elections in early January 1999, the PDP also dominated. Atiku Abubakar, a northerner who was elected governor of Adamawa State in the January elections, was chosen by the PDP as the running mate of Obasanjo, a Yoruba from southwestern Nigeria. The APP and AD nominated Chief Olu Falae, a Yoruba, as their joint candidate for president. A former Nigerian security chief and a northerner, Chief Umaru Shinakfi, was chosen as Falae’s running mate. General Obasanjo was elected president by a wide margin. Obasanjo won 62.8% of the votes (18.7 million), while his challenger, Chief Olu Falae, received 37.2% of the votes (11.1 million). In the Senate elections, the PDP won 58% of the votes, APP 23%, and AD 19%. In the elections for the House of Representatives, PDP received 59% of the votes, AD 22%, and APP 20%. On May 29, 1999, Obasanjo was sworn in as president and the Nigerian Senate approved 42 of 49 members of his cabinet. In his inaugural address, President Obasanjo said that “the entire Nigerian scene is very bleak indeed. So bleak people ask me where do we begin? I know what great things you expect of me at this New Dawn. As I have said many times in my extensive travels in the country, I am not a miracle worker. It will be foolish to underrate the task ahead. Alone, I can do little.” The 2003 Elections In April 2003, Nigerians went to the polls for the second time under a civilian government. President Obasanjo was nominated by his party to serve a second-term. The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) picked another former military leader, General Muhammadu Buhari, as its presidential candidate. Meanwhile, the former rebel leader, Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, who led the secessionist region of Biafra in Nigeria’s civil war in the 1960s, was picked as the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). The National Democratic Party (NDP) picked former foreign minister Ike Nwachukwu as its presidential candidate. President Obasanjo was reelected to a second term, and his PDP party won in legislative elections. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared that Obasanjo won 61.9% of the votes, while his nearest rival, General Muhammadu Buhari of ANPP, won 32.1% of the votes. In the Senate, the PDP won 72 seats out of 109 seats, while the ANPP won 28 and the AD 5 seats. The PDP won 198 seats in the 360-seat House of Representatives, the ANPP 83 seats, and the AD 30 seats. The elections, however, were marred by serious irregularities and electoral fraud, according to both domestic and international election observers. Among the irregularities noted, much emphasis was placed on “inadequate election administration.” Controversy surrounded the voter registration process, the certification of candidates, and poor logistical preparations for the elections. One INEC official allegedly admitted that the voters’ register was “25-30% fiction.”7 Reports of electoral malfeasance, or rigging, were also noted. Ballot box stuffing, 7 Human Rights Watch, “Election or ‘Selection’? Human Rights Abuses and Threats to Free and Fair Elections in Nigeria,” Apr. 2007. CRS-4 falsification of election result forms, and threats of violence were among the most serious charges. In some states, observers noted “systematic attempts at all stages of the voting process to alter the election results.”8 Although reports of rigging varied widely among states, the extent of irregularities caused some to suggest that they “compromised the integrity of the elections where they occurred.”9 The European Union delegation noted that in at least six states “the minimum standards for democratic elections were not met.”10 Several election results were later overturned in the courts. In April 2006, the Nigerian Senate considered a bill aimed at amending the constitution. One of the contentious proposals would have removed the two-term limitation and allowed a third-term presidency; supporters of President Obasanjo had reportedly pushed for this step for months. In May 2006, the Nigerian Senate effectively rejected the legislation. Upcoming Elections Nigeria’s political environment has grown tense in anticipation of the next national elections, currently scheduled for April 14 and 21, 2007. If successful, the elections will be the third since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule, and will mark the country’s first transfer of power from one civilian government to another. The ruling party’s presidential candidate, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, former governor of Katsina state, was chosen during the party’s December primary and is strongly supported by President Obasanjo. Some analysts have questioned whether Yar’Adua, who is from the north, has the national recognition or support needed to win the election. His health has also recently been called into question, after he spent several days in Europe for treatment related to kidney problems. Some critics suggest that Obasanjo “hand-picked” Yar’Adua in order to retain political influence after he leaves office.11 His running mate, Goodluck Jonathan, Governor of Bayelsa State, hails from the Niger Delta. The country’s two largest opposition parties, the ANPP and the Action Congress (AC) have formed an alliance and will be fielding joint candidates in many of the races. The ANPP has chosen Former President General Muhammadu Buhari, a northerner, as its presidential candidate. Buhari lost the presidential election to Obasanjo in 2003, but some pre-election polls suggest that he enjoys greater support than the PDP’s new candidate, Yar’Adua. The AC’s chosen candidate, current Nigerian Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, was not among the 24 presidential contenders approved by INEC in May, allegedly because of pending corruption charges against him, and his exclusion has exacerbated tensions surrounding the 8 The International Republican Institute, 2003 Election Observation Report, p. 65. 9 The National Democratic Institute, “Statement of the NDI International Election Observer Delegation to Nigeria’s Apr. 19 Presidential and Gubernatorial Elections,” Apr. 21, 2003. 10 11 The European Union, EU Election Observation Final Report: Nigeria, p. 2. International Crisis Group, “Nigeria’s Elections: Avoiding A Political Crisis,” Africa Report No. 123, Mar. 28, 2007. CRS-5 upcoming vote. His supporters contend he was unjustly excluded because he had opposed Obasanjo’s third term. Electoral Administration Challenges. With an estimated 60 million registered voters and 120,000 polling stations, the challenges in electoral administration are daunting. Some observers have expressed concern over the pace of election preparations, and INEC’s credibility and capacity to conduct a free and fair election remain in question. Nigeria’s latest voter registration process began in October 2007 under a new computerized system. INEC originally allotted a six week period for the process, during which reports suggested the process had “so far fallen only a little short of disaster,”12 but later extended the registration period. While concerns over the slow start of the registration process seem to have been largely resolved, there remains criticism that the voter registration list has not been widely posted so that voters can ensure their names have been registered, in accordance with the Electoral Act of 2006. Some have also questioned the Obasanjo Administration’s influence over INEC’s leadership and its finances; they allege that INEC lacks independence and will not conduct elections fairly13 Electoral Malfeasance and Political Violence. Pre-election reports by several domestic and international monitoring groups suggest that the credibility of the upcoming elections has already been undermined, and many analysts and observers have suggested that there is likely to be a high level of electoral fraud.14 In addition to concerns over INEC’s ability to administer the election, there have been reports by human rights activists and media sources of harassment of domestic observers, opposition candidates and supporters, as well as reports of detention of journalists who have written articles critical of the government.15 The State Department has documented numerous incidents of police disbanding opposition gatherings, at times with excessive force, in its annual human rights report.16 According to the report, police have used the 1990 Public Order Act to prevent meetings critical of the government in spite of a high court decision rejecting the authority of the police to do so. The State Department has also tied the Nigerian government or “its agents” to politically motivated killings. Tension between political parties and candidates during the current election campaign has already led to violence in some locations; three gubernatorial candidates were assassinated in 2006.17 Clashes between party supporters reportedly 12 The National Democratic Institute, “Is Nigeria Ready to Vote?” Nigeria Election Watch, Nov. 2006. 13 The International Crisis Group, “Nigeria’s Elections: Avoiding A Political Crisis,” Africa Report No. 123, Mar. 28, 2007, p. 14. 14 Rotberg, p. 8. 15 “Nigerian Secret Police Detain Journalists,” Voice of America, Jan. 11, 2007. 16 U.S. State Department, “Nigeria,” Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2006. 17 The gubernatorial candidates assassinated were vying for positions in Ekiti, Lagos, and Plateau States. CRS-6 resulted in over 70 deaths during the pre-election period.18 The threat of violence is high in the Niger Delta region and other “hot spots,” including the cities of Lagos, Kano, and Kaduna, as well in states such as Anambra, Benue, Plateau, and Taraba. The U.S. State Department has accused several state governments of funding vigilante groups to “detain and kill suspected criminals,” and suggests that police have done little to investigate or stop the violence.19 There is considerable concern that these groups are being used for political purposes during the electoral period. INEC has reportedly announced that it will cancel voting in areas where violence takes place.20 Some election observer groups, including the European Union and the Commonwealth, have already announced they will not send observers to the oil-rich Niger Delta region because of threats of violence and/or kidnapping. Another potential source of instability may be tension between the north and the south over perceived inequities in economic and educational development. Nigeria’s 2006 census has drawn controversy over its representation of the regional breakdown of the population, reportedly concluding that 53.4% of the population lives in the north. This could affect the country’s complex system for distributing oil revenues, which are derived from oil reserves in Southern Nigeria. Resentment between the northern and southern regions of the country has led to considerable unrest in the past. According to the International Crisis Group, an estimated 8,000 Nigerians were killed in sectarian clashes between 1999 and 2002, and up to 6,000 may have been the target of ethnic or religious killings.21 Some reports suggest those numbers may be much higher. One local human rights group estimates that some 57,000 people have been killed in religious violence in Plateau State alone since 2001.22 Violent incidents in the area have diminished considerably since the federal government declared a state of emergency in 2004. Any of these factors could potentially lead the government to postpone one or both of the April elections under the country’s 2006 Electoral Act, which gives INEC the authority to change the date of the election if the event might trigger unrest that threatens the country’s peace and stability. The legality of that authority, should INEC use it, could be called into question, given that the constitution stipulates the date on which the current President must step down. Many suggest there is a high likelihood of violence during the April 14 state elections, which could affect the holding of the national elections the following week. There have been some rumors 18 Human Rights Watch, “Election or ‘Selection’? Human Rights Abuses and Threats to Free and Fair Elections in Nigeria,” Apr. 2007. 19 U.S. State Department, “Nigeria,” Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2006. 20 “Three-Truck Load of Election Materials Hijacked in Nigeria,” People’s Daily, Apr. 12, 2007. 21 The International Crisis Group, “Want in the Midst of Plenty,” Africa Report No. 113, July 19, 2006, p. 15. 22 “Jos Voters Angry and Divided,” IRIN, Apr. 9, 2007. CRS-7 that Obasanjo might push for the creation of a two-year interim government of national unity prior to holding elections.23 There also remains a legal dispute over whether Abubakar can run in the elections. Should Abubakar remain excluded from the ballot, observers question whether he will back Buhari for the presidency or continue to rally his supporters to boycott the polls and declare the election invalid. Politically Motivated Corruption Charges. The Obasanjo Administration has won praise for some of its efforts to combat the rampant corruption that has plagued Nigeria, but some charge that the President has used corruption charges to sideline critics and political opponents.24 Investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), a Nigerian law enforcement agency created in 2003 to combat corruption and fraud, have resulted in the arrest of over 2,000 responsible for illegal email scams and in over 130 convictions for fraud.25 The International Crisis Group (ICG) suggests that the EFCC has been “used as a political weapon to whip political foes, especially state governors likely to stand for the presidency and their supporters, into line.”26 Five state governors, some of whom were considered contenders for the PDP presidential nomination, were impeached in 2005-2006 for corruption.27 The ICG charges that the impeachments were conducted under heightened military presence in those states and lacked due process.28 Three of the impeachments have been reversed by appeals courts. In October 2006 the head of the EFCC warned that investigations of alleged financial crimes were underway for 31 of the country’s 36 state governors.29 In February 2007, the EFCC released a list of 135 candidates in the April elections who were “unfit to hold public office because of corruption,” 53 of which are PDP and 82 opposition candidates.30 The legality of INEC’s decision to bar candidates on the EFCC’s list from the upcoming elections remains in question (discussed below).31 The most controversial corruption scandal centers on Vice President Atiku Abubakar, whose own presidential ambitions may have been sidelined by allegations of corruption. Abubakar, once an ally of President Obasanjo and a founding member of the ruling party, publicly opposed Obansanjo’s third term bid. Abubakar was 23 Economic Intelligence Unit, Nigeria: Country Report, Mar. 2007. 24 “Strong Convictions: Nigeria’s First Anti-Corruption Czar,” Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 8, 2007. 25 Ibid. 26 International Crisis Group, “Nigeria’s Elections: Avoiding A Political Crisis,” Africa Report No. 123, Mar. 28, 2007. p. 3. 27 The impeached governors represented Bayelsa, Oyo, Ekiti, Anambra, and Plateau States. 28 Ibid., p. 3. 29 Alex Mabayoje, “Closing in on Corrupt Governors,” Newswatch, Oct. 9, 2006. 30 “Strong Convictions: Nigeria’s First Anticorruption Czar,” Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 8, 2007. 31 The Economist Intelligence Unit, Nigeria: Country Report, Mar. 2007. CRS-8 suspended temporarily from the PDP over corruption charges in late 2006 and was thus unable to participate in the PDP’s primary. He subsequently changed his party affiliation, joining the Action Congress party, and the ruling party sought to have him removed from office. In December 2006 a Nigerian court ruled that as Vice President, Abubakar was immune from prosecution for corruption charges while in office. In February 2007, a Federal Court of Appeals in Abuja confirmed Abubakar’s constitutional right to remain Vice President regardless of his change in party affiliation, but his legal troubles were not over. Abubakar’s name appeared among those on the EFCC’s February list of corrupt candidates, and INEC subsequently excluded him from the presidential ballot. The March 2007 decision by INEC to exclude Abubakar from the ballot is part of a complex series of legal battles between the Obasanjo Administration and the Vice President. In June 2006, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) allegedly requested the assistance of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the investigation of a U.S. congressman who had been accused of taking a bribe from Nigerian officials of the Petroleum Trust Fund, a state agency which Abubakar had chaired.32 The EFCC inquiry allegedly uncovered evidence linking Vice President Abubakar with the bribery case and charged the Vice President with stealing over $125 million in federal oil funds; Abubakar denies the charges. In August 2006 the results of the inquiry were provided to the President, who turned the matter over to an Administrative Panel of Inquiry, which in turn recommended that Abubakar be prosecuted. The indictment was passed to the National Assembly in September. In November, a Lagos justice nullified the EFCC report and “set aside” the Panel of Inquiry, ruling that the report had no legal foundation. The EFCC appealed the judgement. According to Nigeria’s constitution, a presidential aspirant is ineligible to run if “he has been indicted for embezzlement or fraud by a Judicial Commission of Inquiry or an Administrative Panel of Inquiry.” In early March, 2007, a Federal High Court ruled that INEC lacked the authority to disqualify candidates unless ordered to by a court of law. On April 3, a Nigerian appeals court ruled that the disqualification of candidates was in fact within INEC’s authority. Hours later, the Federal High Court in Abuja contradicted that ruling, determining that INEC lacked the authority to exclude Abubakar from the election and ordering that the electoral body place Abubakar’s name on the ballot. Although the appeals court is the higher of the two judicial bodies, according to some legal analysis neither court has jurisdiction over the case of the other, leaving the issue unresolved. Abubakar is appealing the decision of the appeals court, and, in response to the two decisions, has said, One judgment is specific, one is general interpretation of the provisions of the constitution. The one that applies to me specifically is the one by the federal High Court, which says that based on section 137, INEC has no power to exclude me because that so-called indictment has been quashed. And therefore, [the 32 “Strong Convictions: Nigeria’s First Anti-Corruption Czar,” Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 8, 2007. CRS-9 court] directed and compelled INEC to return my name as a presidential candidate of the Action Congress (AC) party.33 The final decision now rests with the country’s Supreme Court, which was expected to consider the matter during the week of April 9, 2007. On April 11, President Obasanjo declared April 12 and 13 public holidays to allow voters to travel home for the elections on April 14, effectively postponing any ruling by the Supreme Court until the week of the presidential elections. President Obasanjo himself has not escaped charges of corruption. In March 2007, a Nigerian Senate committee report recommended that both Obasanjo and Abubakar be prosecuted for illegal use of government funds.34 Obasanjo has rejected the charges. Current Economic and Social Conditions Nigeria has the second largest economy in Africa and generates over $47 billion a year in oil and gas revenue, and yet many of its people are among the continent’s poorest. According to USAID, 70% of Nigerians live on less than $1 per day, and the average life expectancy is only 47 years. Nigeria has the world’s third largest HIV/AIDS population (after South Africa and India), and in 2004 was home to twothirds of the world’s polio cases.35 The country ranks 159 of 177 countries on U.N. Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Index.36 The U.S. State Department attributes Nigeria’s lack of social and economic development to “decades of unaccountable rule.”37 Nigeria’s economy depends heavily on its oil sector. According to the World Bank, oil and gas production account for 85% of government revenues, 99% of export earnings, and 52% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The European Union is a major trading partner, and the United States is a significant consumer of Nigerian oil. The Economist Intelligence Unit forecasts GDP growth of 5.5% for 2007. As the country’s extractive industries have grown, many of its other industries have stagnated or declined. Once thriving agricultural production has been 33 “Nigeria: VP Reacts to Mixed Court Rulings,” Voice of America, Apr. 4, 2007. 34 “Obasanjo Rejects Graft Indictment,” BBC News, Feb. 22, 2007. 35 Nigerian Muslim clerics in 2002 called for a boycott of the polio vaccine, citing safety concerns. In 2003, the Governor of Kano State, which had one of the world’s highest incidences of polio, instituted an 11-month ban on the vaccinations. The ban was lifted in summer 2004. The World Health Organization linked a rise in Nigeria’s polio cases and strains elsewhere on the continent to the interruption in vaccinations. For more information see “Nigeria: Restoring Faith in the Polio Vaccine,”IRIN, Aug. 30, 2006. 36 UNDP’s human development index is a composite measure of life expectancy, adult literacy and school enrollment, and income. More information is available online at the UNDP website, [http://www.undp.org]. 37 U.S. State Department, Congressional Budget Justification for Foreign Operations FY2008 Budget Request. CRS-10 on the decline for years, and Nigeria now imports food and refined petroleum products. The Obasanjo administration has made significant commitments to economic reform, including efforts to deregulate fuel prices and to improve monitoring of official revenue, and the IMF praised its FY2004 budget as “prudent and responsible.” But the country has made slow progress in privatizing state enterprises and eliminating trade barriers. According to the U.S. State Department, corruption in Nigeria is “massive, widespread, and pervasive.”38 Nigeria ranks 142 out of 163 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.39 Many observers suggest that the country’s development will be hindered until it can reverse its perceived “culture of impunity for political and economic crimes.”40 Misallocation of State Funds. Former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha reportedly stole more than $3.5 billion during the course of his five years in power. Switzerland, the first country to repatriate stolen funds to Nigeria, transferred an estimated $505.5 million to Nigeria between 2005 and 2006. According to study by the World Bank, a significant percentage of those funds were used by the Nigerian government toward meeting the country’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The government has also recovered $149 million of the funds stolen by Abacha and his family from the autonomous British island of Jersey and an estimated $150 million from Luxembourg. Other Abacha funds remain frozen in accounts in Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Nhuru Ribadu, head of the EFCC, estimates that over $380 billion has been expropriated by Nigeria’s political and military leaders since oil sales began in the 1970s.41 In early April 2005, Nigerian Senate Speaker Adolphus Wabara was forced to resign after President Obasanjo accused him of taking more than $400,000 in bribes from the Minister of Education, Fabian Osuji. The Education Minister was dismissed in March by President Obasanjo. The Minister of Housing, Alice Mobolaji Osomo, was also fired in early April for allocating more than 200 properties to senior government officials instead of public sale. In October 2006, the governor of Ekiti State was impeached by local legislators on corruption charges. In a controversial move, Obasanjo declared a state of emergency in Ekiti, suspending the state’s democratic institutions and naming a retired general as governor until the next elections. In the view of some observers, President Obasanjo’s anti-corruption campaign is seen as the most serious and effective of such efforts in decades, but others contend there have been political motivations behind some investigations. 38 U.S. State Department, “Nigeria,” Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2006. 39 The Corruption Perceptions Index measures the perceptions of business people and country analysts regarding the degree of corruption among public officials and politicians. For more information see [http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/ cpi/2006]. 40 International Crisis Group, “Want in the Midst of Plenty,” Africa Report No. 113, July 19, 2006. 41 “Strong Convictions: Nigeria’s First Anticorruption Czar,” Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 8, 2007. CRS-11 The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has subpoenaed documents from Royal Dutch Shell related to a probe of an alleged bribery case at a gas plant in Nigeria. The alleged bribery case is being investigated in several countries, including France, Nigeria, and Japan. The companies involved in the natural gas project and the alleged bribery include a Halliburton subcontractor, Chicago Bridge and Iron; Total of France; and Italy’s Eni. The Effects of Corruption. Due to decades of economic mismanagement, political instability, and widespread corruption, the education and social services systems have suffered from lack of funding, industry has idled, refineries are in poor condition, and the sixth-largest oil-producing country in the world suffers periodically from severe fuel shortages. In 2005, President Obasanjo stated that he would stop Nigeria’s foreign debt payment if parliament passed legislation requiring him to do so. Nigeria’s House of Representatives subsequently passed a motion recommending that Obasanjo “cease forthwith further external debt payment to any group of foreign creditors,” but then included $1.3 billion in debt service payments in its 2005 budget. Speaking on behalf of the African leaders invited to the G-8 Summit in Scotland in July 2005, President Obasanjo welcomed the proposed aid package for Africa. Meanwhile, Nigeria reached a separate agreement with the Paris Club to reduce its external debt burden, and in 2005, creditors wrote off 60% ($18 million) of Nigeria’s estimated $30 billion in external debt to the Club’s creditor nations. Nigeria paid the remaining 12.4 billion dollars from oil revenues. According to World Bank estimates, the country’s debt elimination frees $750 million for programs aimed at poverty reduction and reaching the country’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). HIV/AIDS. Nigeria’s HIV/AIDS prevalence rate of 5.4% is relatively small in comparison to some Southern African nations with seropositivity rates of over 30% of the adult population. However, the West African nation comprises nearly one-tenth of the world’s HIV/AIDS infected persons with 2.9 million infected people (UNAIDS 2006 estimate), the largest HIV-positive population in Africa after South Africa. Nigeria’s population is expected to double by the year 2025, which will multiply the spread of the HIV virus considerably. In addition to the devastation HIV/AIDS has caused and continues to cause among Nigeria’s adult population, half of the current population is under the age of 15. With just over half of primary-school-aged children in school and the large number of HIV/AIDS-infected adults, Nigeria faces serious challenges and significant obstacles in the education and health care sectors. Avian Flu. In February 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed the presence of H5N1 virus, which causes avian influenza, or bird flu, in a 22-year-old deceased female from Lagos. She is believed to be the first human to have died from the disease in Sub-Saharan Africa. The H5N1 virus had previously been identified in poultry outbreaks in the country, and may have been the source for infected poultry in neighboring countries.42 According to the U.N. Food and 42 For more information on the Avian Flu in Nigeria, see CRS Report RL33871, Foreign Countries’ Response to the Avian Influenza (H5N1) Virus: Current Status, by Emma (continued...) CRS-12 Agriculture Organization, Nigeria has not yet been able to successfully contain the disease.43 Islamic Sharia Law. Nigeria is home to Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest Muslim population. Twelve of Nigeria’s states in the Sunni Muslim-dominated North of the country have adopted Islamic Sharia law since 1999. In some states, the introduction of sharia has proved to be a flashpoint between Muslims and Christians — sectarian clashes in Kaduna state in 2000 resulted in an estimated 2,000 deaths. The introduction of sharia has also resulted in much-publicized rulings, several of which have been criticized by human rights groups as well as by Nigerians in the Southern and mostly Christian part of the country. However, while sharia courts have issued several controversial stoning and amputation sentences, the U.S. State Department reports that none of these sentences have been implemented.44 Kano state ruled in 2003 that all school girls attending government schools were to wear the hijab, Islamic head scarf, regardless of whether they are Muslim. President Obasanjo has reportedly said that the best way to respond to Sharia is to ignore it: “I think Sharia will fizzle out. To confront it is to keep it alive.” In 2002, in Katsina State, Amina Lawal was sentenced to death by stoning after a court found her guilty of adultery. In 2003, Ms. Lawal appealed her sentence to the Katsina State’s Appeals Court and won after the Sharia Court of Appeal ruled that her conviction was invalid. The court ruled that “it is the view of this Court that the judgment of the Upper Sharia Court, Funtua, was very wrong and the appeal of Amina Lawal is hereby discharged and acquitted.” In 2001, in another highly publicized case, a Sharia court in the State of Sokoto sentenced Safiya Hussaini to death for adultery. Ms. Hussaini appealed her sentence and was exonerated on the grounds that she was impregnated by her former husband and that the affair took place before Sharia law was enacted. Despite such cases, many observers see the interpretation and implementation of Nigerian sharia as moderate in comparison to that of some other Islamic countries. Conflict in the Niger Delta Background of the Struggle. Oil from the southern Niger Delta region has accounted for over 75% of the country’s oil production since the 1970s, and yet the area’s political history remains one of conflict and marginalization. Political violence during the 2003 election was reportedly highest in the Niger Delta region45 The Delta is home to an estimated 30 million people. Among them are the Ogoni people, an ethnic minority whose members have received international attention for their efforts to highlight the extensive environmental damage done by oil extraction in the region. In 1994 author and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, president of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), and 14 others were accused of 42 (...continued) Chanlett-Avery et al. 43 U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, “Fewer Bird Flu Outbreaks This Year,” Apr. 2, 2007. 44 45 U.S. State Department, “Nigeria,” Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2006. U.S. Institute for Peace, “Nigeria’s 2007 Elections: The Fitful Path to Democratic Citizenship,” Jan. 2007, p. 7. CRS-13 involvement in the murder of four prominent Ogoni politicians. They pled not guilty, but nine, including Saro-Wiwa, were convicted and sentenced to death in 2005 by the Ogoni Civil Disturbances Special Tribunal. The execution sparked international outrage against the regime of Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha, who was accused of extensive human rights abuses. The United States recalled its ambassador and pushed a resolution at the U.N. General Assembly that condemned Nigeria’s action. Criminality and Violence. Nigeria is Africa’s largest producer of oil, and the country’s oil wealth is a source of continuing political tension, protest, and criminality in the Delta, where most of it presently originates. The conflict has been linked to the vandalism of oil infrastructures; massive, systemic production theft known as “oil bunkering,” often abetted by state officials; protests over widespread environmental damage caused by oil operations; hostage taking; and public insecurity and communal violence. Several thousand people have been killed in pipeline explosions in southeast Nigeria since the late 1990s; the largest single toll from an explosion was approximately 1,000 in October of 1998. These explosions are triggered when people siphon off oil from holes punched in the above-ground pipeline for personal use, resulting in a reported loss of up to 200,000 barrels of oil per day. The government established a national task force on surveillance of petroleum pipelines in order to prevent a recurrence of the 1998 pipeline explosion tragedy. In 1998, militants from the Delta’s largest ethnic group, the Ijaw, initiated “Operation Climate Change” triggering violent conflict between the Ijaw and the Nigerian military and disrupting oil production in the region. Threats of an “all out war” against the government and the oil companies by Mujahid Dokubu-Asari, one of the leaders of that group, in 2004 reportedly played a role in the unprecedented rise in the price of oil above $50 a barrel.46 The threat was later called off after negotiations with the government. In September 2004, a new rebel movement, the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF), led by Dokubu-Asari, launched a series of attacks against government forces and threatened to attack foreign oil workers. The NDPVF is demanding autonomy for the region and a share of oil revenues. An estimated 500 people were reportedly killed that month in the ensuing violence, according to Amnesty International, though the Nigerian government disputes this figure. On September 29, 2004, the NDPVF and the Nigerian government reportedly reached a cease-fire agreement. Dokubu-Asari stated that “there should be a cessation of hostilities on both sides. Apart from that, we have not agreed on anything else for the time being.” He was arrested in September 2005 and charged with plotting to overthrow the government. In November 2005, the Nigerian army deployed additional troops to the oil-rich Bayelsa State after lawmakers began impeachment proceedings against State Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. In September 2005, British authorities had charged Alamieyeseigha, while visiting in London, with money laundering. The former governor, who returned to Nigeria, now awaits trial in an Abuja prison. 46 “Pumping Up the Oil Price; the Price of Oil,” The Economist, Oct. 1, 2004. CRS-14 Conflict between the Delta’s militants and the Nigerian military has escalated since early 2006, and the kidnapping of foreign oil workers has increased exponentially in recent months. A new rebel group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), emerged in late 2005, and has used the kidnappings to bring international attention to its cause and to demand that the government release the NDPVF leader and former Bayelsa State Governor Alamieyeseigha. Media reports suggest that an estimated 70 hostages have been taken since the beginning of 2007, including at least one American.47 Attacks by militant groups like the MEND have cut Nigeria’s oil production by as much as 25% in the last year. Nigeria’s deep-water production has proven vulnerable to militant attacks as well, and the threat of sea piracy is high. Some experts estimate that up to 10% of Nigeria’s oil is stolen every year. Many experts suggest that some of the heightened violence and criminality in the Delta is being used to fund local political campaigns for the upcoming elections. Effects on the Oil Industry and the World Market. Nigeria produces an estimated 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd), but instability, criminality, and oil leaks in the Delta have, at times, reportedly cut production by as much as 800,000 bpd.48 By comparison, Saudi Arabia produces an estimated 10.5 bpd, Iran an estimated 4.1 bpd, and Venezuela an estimated 2.9 bpd.49 In 2005, a group of former senior U.S. national security officials convened a working group to develop a possible U.S. response to a simulated world oil crisis.50 Under the scenario given to the participants, civil unrest in northern Nigeria requires the Nigerian government to move troops from the unstable Niger Delta region to quell violence in the north. Unprotected, oil companies in the Delta cease production, and the country’s contribution to the world oil market is reduced by 800,000 bpd for an extended period. Combined with an unseasonably cold winter and hypothetical terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia, oil prices rise to $120 per barrel and U.S. gasoline prices at the pump rise to 4.74 per gallon, triggering a recession and potential job losses of up to 2 million. As was seen in 2004, even the threat of a coordinated militant attack against oil targets in the Delta can affect the price of oil on the world market. A longer and more sustained disruption of the country’s oil supply, particularly if combined with the disruption of another major supplier’s product, would likely have a significant impact on the world economy. Efforts to Address Environmental & Development Challenges. Oil production in the Delta has caused major damage to the area’s fragile riverine ecosystem, and ultimately to the livelihoods of its inhabitants. Some reports suggest up to 2.5 million barrels of crude leaked into the Delta’s fragile ecosystem between 47 “Nigeria Launches New Development Plan for Niger Delta,” Voice of America, Mar. 27, 2007. 48 Economist Intelligence Unit, Nigeria,” Country Reports, Feb. 2007, p. 29. 49 Production figures acquired from Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), a non-profit organization that aims to reduce U.S. oil dependence. 50 For more information on the exercise, known as “Oil Shockwave,” see [http://www.secure energy.org/reports/oil_shock_report_master.pdf]. CRS-15 1986 and 1996.51 Gas flares, which burn unwanted natural gas when drilling for oil, have plagued the Delta with acid rain and air pollution.52 This pollution has severely limited locals’ access to clean water, and has largely destroyed the fishing stocks the majority of Delta inhabitants depended on to make a living.53 In 2006, Shell Oil was ordered by a Nigerian federal court to pay $1.5 billion to compensate local communities for environmental damage; the company is appealing the decision. In part to reduce gas flaring, the government is backing several projects to store and export natural gas. The current federal system provides states with a 13% share of local revenues (predominately from oil sales). Groups like MEND argue that the states should receive a 50% share, as was stipulated in the 1960 constitution. Some analysts, however, suggest that corruption within the state governments is so high that the local populations would see little improvement even if the state share were raised. Some of the oil-producing states have reported revenues of up to $1.3 billion per year but have dismal records of development or service delivery.54 The Obasanjo Administration launched a new development plan for the region in late March 2007 under the auspices of the Niger Delta Development Corporation, which was established in 2000 to improve social and environmental conditions in the Delta. Improvements in education will be a major focus for the new plan, according to reports.55 Some analysts suggest that given the level of corruption endemic in the Delta, the international community should work with the Nigerian government to establish a new development fund that would have independent oversight. International Relations Since the 1990s, Nigeria has emerged as an important player in regional and international affairs. Nigeria is one of the eleven members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and is a key member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The government has helped to resolve political disputes in Togo, Mauritania, Liberia, and Cote d’Ivoire. Nigeria has also played an important role in facilitating negotiations between the government of Sudan and the Darfur rebels. Nigerian troops have played a vital role in peacekeeping operations in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and are currently in Cote d’Ivoire, Congo, Liberia and Sudan. Nigerian police and military observers are also participating in UN missions around the world in such areas as Timor-Leste, Kosovo, and Haiti. 51 “Blood and Oil,” The Economist, Mar. 15, 2007. 52 The government has ordered an end to large-scale flaring by 2008, but several major oil companies have reported they will be unable to comply in that time frame. 53 International Crisis Group, “Fueling the Niger Delta Crisis,” Africa Report No. 118, Sept. 28, 2006. 54 55 “Blood and Oil,” The Economist, Mar. 15, 2007. “Nigeria Launches New Development Plan for Niger Delta,” Voice of America, Mar. 27, 2007. CRS-16 The Bakassi Peninsula. Nigeria and Cameroon recently resolved a longstanding border dispute regarding an area known as the Bakassi peninsula. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in 2002 that the peninsula belonged to Cameroon, but that its residents, most of whom reportedly consider themselves Nigerian, could retain their Nigerian nationality. Despite the ruling, tension remained, and the transfer of possession was delayed. The presidents of the two countries met with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in June 2006, and President Obasanjo agreed to withdraw Nigerian troops from the area and transfer complete control within two years. Nigeria formally handed control of the peninsula to Cameroon on August 14, 2006, although it will remain under Nigerian civilian control until 2008. A mixed commission is conducting an ongoing demarcation of villages along the border. Issues for Congress Administration Policy on Nigeria After a period of strained relations in the 1990s, U.S.-Nigeria relations have steadily improved since the election of President Obasanjo. The Bush Administration has praised the government’s improved budget practices, banking sector reform, and efforts to eliminate the country’s foreign debt, although the Administration remains critical of the country’s human rights record and its commitment to ensuring free and fair elections. President Bush visited the country in July 2003, and First Lady Laura Bush visited Nigeria in January 2006. Nigeria is an important trading partner for the United States, and is the largest beneficiary of U.S. investment on the continent. Nigeria is the United States’ fifth largest source of imported oil (behind Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela) . Nigeria has more than 3,000 million metric tons of proven petroleum reserves, and some estimates suggest future exploration could double that figure.56 Gulf of Guinea crude is prized on the world market for its low-sulphur content, and Nigeria’s proximity to the United States relative to that of oil producing countries in the Middle East makes Nigeria’s oil particularly attractive to American interests. In 2005, the United States, Nigeria, and other interested partners initiated the “Gulf of Guinea Energy Security Strategy,” a forum through which participants work to address the challenges of oil production in the Niger Delta. U.S. imports of Nigerian crude account for an estimated 40% of that country’s total oil exports, and the United States is Nigeria’s second largest trading partner after Britain. The country is eligible for trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The country’s AGOA-eligible exports, which account for 93% of Nigeria’s total exports to the United States, were valued at $22.5 billion in 2005. Nigeria plays a significant role in peacekeeping operations across the continent, and the Bush Administration considers Nigeria an important partner in the war on terror. President Obasanjo has reportedly played a critical role in building consensus on the continent for cooperation in U.S. counter-terrorism efforts. The United States 56 Europa Regional Surveys of the World, Africa South of the Sahara 2006, 2005. CRS-17 provides the country with military training with an emphasis on professionalization and respect for human rights and civilian authority through the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program and other security assistance. The State Department has established ten “American Corners” to share information on American culture and values with Nigerians. In 2003, the United States offered a $2 million reward for the capture of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, who was in exile in Nigeria. Taylor has been charged with war crimes by the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The $2 million reward was inserted in the Iraqi Emergency Supplemental bill, S. 1689, which became P.L. 108-106 in late 2003. The provision did not specifically refer to Taylor, although it is widely believed that the reference was to him. The Bush Administration has stated that Taylor should be held accountable for the crimes he committed in Liberia and Sierra Leone,57 and reportedly encouraged Nigeria to offer Taylor political asylum. President Obasanjo was opposed to transferring Taylor to the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), which indicted Taylor on 17 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and violation of international humanitarian law in March 2003. The Nigerian government said that any attempt to kidnap Taylor would be viewed as “a violation of Nigeria’s territorial integrity.”58 In May 2005, President Obasanjo met with President Bush and other senior Administration officials in Washington to discuss the crisis in Darfur, Sudan; debt relief; and the legal status of former Liberian president Charles Taylor. Taylor was captured by Nigerian authorities in late March 2006, after his failed attempt to flee to a neighboring country. A day after Taylor’s arrest, Obasanjo visited Washington and met with President Bush. Taylor is now being held by the SCSL at the Hague, and his trial is scheduled to begin in June 2007. U.S. Assistance to Nigeria. USAID is the largest bilateral donor in Nigeria, and the Bush Administration has requested over $533 million in assistance to the country for FY2008. Democratic governance, agriculture and economic reform, improved education and health services, professionalization and reform of the security services, and HIV/AIDS provide the main focus for U.S. assistance programs in Nigeria (see Table 1 for more on U.S. assistance to Nigeria). U.S. initiatives to promote good governance seek to strengthen civil society, make government institutions more accountable, improve the capacity and transparency of the judiciary, and prevent and manage conflict, and ensure transparent elections. The United States has provided $1 million to train over 8,000 anti-corruption prosecutors. Working with local partners, USAID is supporting early warning networks to prevent conflict in the Niger Delta. U.S. economic and agriculture assistance supports programs that will increase productivity. Nigeria is one of 15 focus countries under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and received approximately $163.6 million in FY2006 to support HIV/AIDS programs. U.S. assistance aims to halve Nigeria’s tuberculosis incidence in the next decade. 57 “Confronting War Crimes in Africa,” Statement of Pierre-Richard Prosper, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues to the House Subcommittee on Africa, June 24, 2004. 58 “Security Beefed Up Around Taylor,” This Day (Nigeria), Nov. 12, 2003. CRS-18 Congressional Interest The 110th Congress. On April 6, 2007, Representative Tom Lantos, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee issued a press release with three committee members expressing “serious concern about the prospects for free, fair, and peaceful conduct of the upcoming elections in Nigeria.”59 House Africa Subcommittee Chairman Donald Payne is leading a congressional delegation to observe the elections. No Nigeria-specific legislation has been introduced in the 110th Congress. In January 2007, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on the Geopolitics of Oil and its Implications for U.S. Economic and International Security. The potential disruption of Nigeria’s oil supply due to instability in the Niger Delta was among the topics covered in the hearing. The 109th Congress. Several Nigeria-related bills were passed in the 109th Congress. In November 2006, the Senate passed S.Res. 611, introduced by Senator Russ Feingold, to support the efforts of the Independent National Electoral Commission of the Government of Nigeria, political parties, civil society, religious organizations, and the people of Nigeria to facilitate the first democratic transition of Nigeria from one civilian government to another in the 2007 general elections. In May, 2005, Congress passed H.Con.Res. 127, introduced by Representative Ed Royce. This legislation called on the government of Nigeria to transfer former Liberian president Charles Taylor to the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The Africa Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing in May 2006 on Nigeria’s Struggle with Corruption. Nigeria’s oil resources were discussed in a hearing by the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources of the House Resources Committee on U.S. Energy and Mineral Needs, Security, and Policy, in March 2005. In 1999 the Clinton Administration established the U.S.-Nigeria Joint Economic Partnership Commission as an effort to build more substantive engagement with the country. One well-known Africa analyst has recommended that Congress establish a new U.S.-Nigeria bilateral commission to facilitate regular high level communication between senior officials.60 59 For more information, see [http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/]. 60 Rotberg, p. 6. CRS-19 Table 1. U.S. Assistance to Nigeria ($ millions, fiscal years) Program DA CSH ESF FMF Grants GHAI INCLE IMET Total 2002 Actual 15.8 36.6 8.5 2003 Actual 23.3 47.9 3.8 2004 Actual 13.6 42.5 4.9 2005 Actual 14.8 28.2 4.9 85.9 2.2 66.5 75.1 61.1 136.2 2006 Actual 12.5 21.5 4.9 .99 138.6 .99 .792 180.354 Source: U.S. Department of State. Table Abbreviations: DA = Development Assistance CSH = Child Survival and Health Programs Fund ESF = Economic Support Fund FMF = Foreign Military Financing IMET = International Military Education and Training (Notification required) INCLE = International Narcotics Control & Law Enforcement GHAI = Global HIV/AIDS Initiative 2008 Request 31.4 31.3 1.35 467.5 1.2 .8 533.55 CRS-20 Figure 1. Map of Nigeria Source: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).