This Present Darkness: A History Of Nigerian Organized Crime
This Present Darkness: A History Of Nigerian Organised Crime
'This is quite simply a dynamite book, striking first of all for the sheer depth of research that hasgone into it. It is remarkable, too, in the way thatit is able to fit this material into a bigger picture,created not only by a thorough familiarity withNigerian history and politics, but also by anawareness especially of the spiritual dimensionsof Nigerian life, and the ways in which thesefeed through into crime as well as virtually everyother aspect of Nigerian affairs.' ‰ۡóÁÌ_́ÌÎÌ_?ÌÎÌ_? Christopher
Clapham, University of CambridgeNigeria and Nigerians have acquired a widespreadreputation for involvement in drug-trafficking,fraud, cyber-crime and other types of criminalactivity. Even South Africa has not been immune:in 1992 the National Intelligence Agency admittedto a parliamentary committee that it had fallenvictim to a million-dollar Nigerian scam.
Successful Nigerian criminal networks have aglobal reach, interacting with their Italian, LatinAmerican and Russian counterparts. Yet in 1944,a British colonial official wrote that 'the numberof persistent and professional criminals is notgreat' in Nigeria and that 'crime as a career has sofar made little appeal to the young Nigerian.'
This last book by a celebrated African historiantraces the origins of Nigerian organised crimetothe last years of colonial rule, when nationalistpoliticians acquired power at regional level. In need of funds for campaigning,theyoffered government contracts to foreign businesses in return for kickbacks, in apattern that recurs to this day.
Political corruption encouraged a wider disrespectfor the law that spread throughout Nigerian society.
When the country's oil boomcame to an end in the early 1980s, young Nigerian college graduates headed abroad,eager to make money by any means. Nigerian crime went global at the very momentnew criminal markets were emerging all over the world.
About the author
Stephen Ellis, who died suddenly in 2015, was Desmond Tutu Professor at the Facultyof Social Sciences at the VU University, Amsterdam, and a senior researcher at theAfrican Studies Centre, Leiden. He wrote ground-breaking books on the ANC, theLiberian Civil War, religion and politics in Africa, and the history of Madagascar.
Author Stephen Ellis
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