NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 24, 2004

Nigeria is a case study in oil-based wealth being squandered by poor governance and internal strife. Instability in Nigeria merits U.S. attention because it is a major non-Middle Eastern oil producer (accounting for 3 percent of global oil production in 2001) and was America's fifth largest (9.6 percent) source of crude oil imports in 2003.

It is in America's interest to encourage Nigeria to improve its economy, secure its oil, combat corruption, and enforce the rule of law, says the Heritage Foundation. Specifically, the Bush Administration should:

  • Require progress on economic reform and fighting corruption in return for aid; aid should follow -- not precede -- progress on institutional reforms.
  • Help Nigerian law enforcement to identify, monitor, and eliminate radical Islamist networks and external sources of support--especially by clamping down on Nigerian money laundering.
  • Increase law enforcement training; in order to improve law and order, America should offer technical assistance, equipment, and training to Nigerian law enforcement and marine patrols.
  • Train counterinsurgency forces; this assistance is critical and should be augmented with U.S.-Nigerian training missions.

Government mismanagement, interventionist economic policies, and inadequate law enforcement hinder Nigeria's economic growth and oil production and have heightened Nigeria's vulnerability to Islamist radicalism. Addressing the Islamist threat in Nigeria requires strategies that strengthen Nigeria's ability to counter foreign terrorist activity and fix the country's underlying economic and security problems, says Heritage.

Source: Ariel Cohen and Brett D. Schaefer, "Addressing Nigeria's Economic Problems and the Islamist Terrorist Threat," Executive Memorandum #933, May 19, 2004, Heritage Foundation.


Browse more articles on International Issues