Thesis: Nigeria Small Arms Trafficking

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Nigeria Weapons

Small Weapons Trafficking in Nigeria

Nigeria's relatively recent exploitation of its oil deposits has brought the nation increasing wealth over the past decade, but rather than having fully beneficial effects on Nigerian society the new found wealth has led to increasing fractures in the Nigerian power structure as various militant groups and governments vie for control of the oil deposits and other resources. Such chaos has led to a massive rise in many illicit activities in the area, among them the illicit smuggling and trade of small artillery and weapons. These are used by various groups and factions within Nigeria both in the various violent actions in which they engage and as means for raising additional funds through smuggling and reselling these weapons. The specifics of the illicit weapons situation in Nigeria insofar as they are known, the Nigerian response to this already large and growing problem including past diplomatic solutions and proposals, as well as suggestions for hot to combat the problem in the future will be addressed in this paper.

As of 2007, it was estimated that approximately seven million pieces of light weaponry -- revolvers, light machine guns, rifles, carbines, landmines, hand-grenades, and other weapons meant for use by one person -- were traded illicitly in West Africa on an annual basis, and Nigeria has had an increasing share in this trade (Thachuk 2007). Wealth produced by increased findings of oil deposits and their exploitation has led to an increased ability to purchase weapons, as well as providing an incentive for doing so. Various militant groups, each with their own unique and often conflicting demands, have taken control of certain areas of the country, and other groups more on the periphery continue to buck for prominence and control. The overall effect of the weapons trade on Nigeria has been to create a state of near lawlessness, or at least of non-governmental martial rule, in many of the rural areas of the country.

The names and nature of many of the militant groups in Nigeria changes on an almost daily basis, as various groups splinter and/or subsume each other. Some of the more prominent and permanent (or at least long-lasting) of the militant groups in Nigeria, however, include the Ijaw Youth Council and the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND). Little information as to the leadership and workings of these groups is known, making it more difficult to combat them directly (BBC News 2006). This is one of the reasons that understanding and combating the illicit trafficking and trade of small arms/light weapons has become such an important issue for the Nigerian government and other interests in the region; as it is almost impossible to beat the militant groups at their own game and on their own turf, removing the mechanisms by which they are able to continue their violent actions is essential.

So far, efforts to stop the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Thesis:

APA Format

Nigeria Small Arms Trafficking.  (2009, May 14).  Retrieved August 20, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Nigeria Small Arms Trafficking."  14 May 2009.  Web.  20 August 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Nigeria Small Arms Trafficking."  May 14, 2009.  Accessed August 20, 2019.