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Nigeria neglected

Africa's biggest country illustrates the dilemma of how to help corrupt states

By Michael Peel   April 2005

In the shadow of Tony Blair’s Africa commission report and the continuing debate on aid and debt relief for Africa, not enough is being heard of the complicated and disturbing story of Africa’s most populous country—Nigeria. Most rich countries ignore Nigeria, except as a source of oil, and those that do pay some attention tend to be too indulgent of President Olusegun Obasanjo, the former Amnesty prisoner, and his economic team, who claim that Nigeria is becoming more transparent and deserves more help.

Yet beneath this decorous veneer, much of Nigeria’s elite is still mired in corruption. Political murders and…

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