Thursday, June 23, 2016

Avengers in Southern Nigeria

Variant cover art for New Avengers#1 (Feb. 2005), by Joe Quesada andRichard Isanove.

President Buhari has had some success against Boko Haram in the north, but now he is facing more violence in the south. 

The Economist reports that:
An army of unemployed young men ... is threatening to rise up in southern Nigeria and blow up oil pipelines. The industry, on which Nigeria depends for nearly all government revenues, could be crippled, as it was for much of the early 2000s. Production has already fallen to about 1.5m barrels a day (b/d), down from 2.2m last year, as attacks gather pace. This has helped push the global oil price back up to almost $50 a barrel. And it could spell disaster for President Muhammadu Buhari, who is trying to stave off recession. His budget assumed almost double that level of output this year.

Responsibility for much of the damage has been claimed by a mysterious and skilful band called the Niger Delta Avengers...

Reuters reports that:
the Niger Delta Avengers ... might agree to a ceasefire on Thursday (today) to allow the government time to meet its demands ... The militants say they want a greater share of Nigeria's oil wealth to go to the impoverished Delta region. ...
Among the factors standing in the way of a ceasefire is that militants are divided into small groups and leaders have little sway over unemployed youths willing to work for anyone who pays them. ... 
Earlier this month, the government said it would scale down its military campaign in the Delta as part of an attempt to pursue talks with militants, who previously laid down arms in 2009 in exchange for cash benefits under a government amnesty.
The government angered former militants when it cut by two-thirds the budget allocated for the amnesty program which provided stipends and employment training.

First Female ECOWAS Chairman

The United States may have its first female head of the executive in November. ECOWAS got there first. 

The executive office of ECOWAS is the Chairman, who is selected by the member heads of state for a term of one year. Earlier this month, first female president of Liberia Ellen Sirleaf was elected by her fellow heads of state to be the new chairman (or chairperson). Goals for ECOWAS include more trade, financial stability, and fighting terrorism.

One topic still under discussion is a single monetary unit by 2020. Previous launch dates for the "Eco" included 2003, 2005, 2009, and 2015.

President Sirleaf first won the presidency in 2005, becoming the first female elected head of state in Africa. She won re-election in 2011, the same year she won the Nobel Peace Prize (along with Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Tawakkol Karman of Yemen).