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Nigerian naval officer hopes for democracy
Sierra Vista Herald/Bisbee Review ^ | Bill Hess

Posted on 11/27/2007 5:10:57 PM PST by SandRat

FORT HUACHUCA — The most populous nation in Africa is still facing growing pains in becoming a true democracy, a Nigerian naval officer said.

Twice the size of California and with a population of more than 135 million, Lt. Abdullahi A. Muhammed said the majority of Nigerians are determined that their nation become a democracy, leaving behind the times of dictatorships, both civilian and military, that have ruled the nation for most of the time since it gained independence from Great Britain in 1960.

The nation had its first successful transfer of a civilian presidential party through a recent election.

One of the foreign officers attending a course at the Intelligence Center on post, Abdullahi recently spoke at a monthly luncheon at which one of them speak about their homelands.

Peaceful transition of presidential power is good, even though Nigeria still has problems in some parts of the country, he said.

The area of most concern is the Niger Delta region, an oil-rich part of the country where 3 million barrels of oil a day are pumped, the officer said. It is estimated the Nigerian oil reserve is 36 billion gallons.

Besides the restless delta area, drug and human trafficking are problems the central government is facing, Abdullahi said, adding there are three major ethnic-related violent gangs.

The navy lieutenant, whose rank is the equivalent of an army captain, said the nation’s military force is small, with slightly more than 100,000 serving — 80,000 in the Army, 15,000 in the Navy and 14,000 in the Air Force.

Muslim, Christian and native faiths abound in Nigeria, with Muslims, like Abdullahi, predominate in the northern part of the nation and Christians in the south, he said, noting there are as many groups of people as political parties — 250 each — in Nigeria, where 4,000 dialects are spoken.

The central government must find ways to distribute the nation’s wealth equally, along with ensuring political power, is shared with the leaders in he country’s 36 states, Abdullahi said.

“I think for the next 10 years we will have serious conditions (to contend with),” he said

There are many people working in the government “who are against the government,” the Nigerian officer said, calling them “fifth columnists.”

In order for civilian leadership to work, the elected government “is trying to avoid a civil war,” he said.

And as the United States is facing illegal immigration problems, so is Nigeria, the naval officer said.

Abutting his nation are poorer African countries whose citizens illegally enter Nigeria “for a better life,” Abdullahi said.

A major supporter of peace forces in a number of African nations, he said Nigeria is willing to help.

While the Nigerian government currently is not supporting the proposed the U.S. African Command idea, Abdullahi said he does.

“Personally, my candid opinion is the new African Command is a welcomed development,” he said.

herald/Review senior reporter Bill Hess can be reached at 515-4615 or

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; US: Arizona
KEYWORDS: huachuca; naval; nigeria; officer

1 posted on 11/27/2007 5:10:58 PM PST by SandRat
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To: SandRat

People....enter NIGERIA for a better life...?

2 posted on 11/27/2007 5:13:13 PM PST by gaijin
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To: SandRat

What a coincidence - I just signed up to help this guy transfer $12 million out of Nigeria.

3 posted on 11/27/2007 5:15:00 PM PST by Dagnabitt
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To: SandRat

ping for my Nigerian friend later

4 posted on 11/27/2007 5:41:08 PM PST by navyguy (Some days you are the pigeon, some days you are the statue.)
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To: navyguy

Just don’t try to hold a beauty contest there, it could result in the deaths of hundreds of Christians by muslim hordes.....

5 posted on 11/28/2007 9:15:22 AM PST by -=SoylentSquirrel=- (I'm really made of people!)
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