Some news of note from Nigeria. I know some people who used to work in West Africa's oil industry. None of them would dare work in Nigeria nowadays. Way too many abductions and rampant lawlessness. Rampant corruption prevents any of the oil wealth from reaching the commoners, leading to widespread discontent and crime.
The rebels abduct oil workers and hold them for ransom. Westerners go for $100,000+ and Americans are worth up to $400,000. The companies look out for their own and pay. The people get released, but it leads to more and more kidnappings. Ransom money is the second highest money maker for Nigeria after oil. More than any real business and more than those Nigerian identity thieves make.
How bad is it over there? A friend of mine just got a job offer to work on a facility in mainland Nigeria. They would have offered him a 60% raise, a 6 month initial stint, and then month-on-month-off after that, with a $250,000 bonus upon the projects completion. He told the headhunter to go to hell. From what I understand, the project was scrapped because they couldn't find anyone qualified willing to go over there. Some experts have said they could double Nigeria's oil output if it weren't for the violence.
The good news is the oil companies are changing strategies. They're instituting a convoy system (the same tactic that helped defeat the U-Boats in WWI and WWII) and that seems to be putting a dent in the problem. What are the rebels doing? They're now abducting the family members of crooked (millionaire) politicians and holding them for ransom.
Ballsy! Just imagine if New Orleanians abducted Jalila and Jamila and threatened to kill them unless $Bill handed over all his bribe money... Then we might be able to get something done in this town!