Nigeria and Nigerians have acquired a notorious reputation for involvement in drug-trafficking, fraud, cyber-crime and other types of serious crime. Successful Nigerian criminal networks have a global reach, interacting with their Italian, Latin American and Russian counterparts. Yet in 1944, a British colonial official wrote that 'the number of persistent and professional criminals is not great' in Nigeria and that 'crime as a career has so far made little appeal to the young Nigerian'. This book traces the origins of Nigerian organised crime to the last years of colonial rule, when nationalist politicians acquired power at a regional level. In need of funds for campaigning, they offered government contracts to foreign businesses in return for kickbacks, in a pattern that recurs to this day. Political corruption encouraged a wider disrespect for the law that spread throughout Nigerian society. When the country's oil boom came 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 moment new criminal markets were emerging all over the world.
C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd
Country of Publication:
01 October 2018
Professional and scholarly
Introduction * How to read this bookChapter One: Rules of Law * The civilizing mission* Indirect rule and law* A school for deceptionChapter Two: Wonder-Workers * The Professor of Wonders* Wealth, risk, destiny* A hollow systemChapter Three: Enter the Politicians * The impact of the Second World War * Nationalism and corruption* Political parties and corruptionChapter Four: The National Cake * Independence* The foreign contribution* Corruption spreads to daily lifeChapter Five: The Men in Uniform * Coup and counter-coup* The oil issue* The new criminalityChapter Six: Boom Time * Nigeria rampant* Corruption, crime, cults* The Second RepublicChapter Seven: Crime Goes Global * The drug trade* Four One Nine* The rise and fall of anti-corruption* Ethnic issuesChapter Eight: Godfathers * Babangida...and another criminal arrives* Oil as loot* Democrats/kleptocratsChapter Nine: The Business of Crime * Crime as a career* The Kings of Four One Nine* Drugs * Sex work* Organization Chapter Ten: Cosmic Powers * Cults and shrines* The Okija shrine* Law versus reality* Society and anti-societyChapter Eleven: Nigerian Organized Crime * State crime* Why Nigeria?* Nigerian crime in globalizationAnnexeBibliography
Professor Stephen Ellis, PhD, was Desmond Tutu Professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the VU University, Amsterdam, and author of, inter alia, The Mask of Anarchy: The Religious Roots of the Liberian Civil War, Worlds of Power: Religious Thought and Political Practice in Africa, Madagascar: A Short History, and Season of Rains: Africa in the World, all available from Hurst.
Reviews for This Present Darkness: A History of Nigerian Organised Crime
'In This Present Darkness, Stephen Ellis, one of Britain's most accomplished Africanists, provides a cautionary reminder of how much tougher the job is now, and how blurred the lines between officially sanctioned and illicit activity have become ... this is the most deeply researched book yet on the nature and origins of Nigerian organised crime.' * Financial Times * 'For decades Nigeria has suffered a doubly dubious reputation: recognised as a kleptocracy and notorious for its armies of imaginative criminals, formed into organisations with international reach. ... This state of affairs is ably documented and explained by Stephen Ellis-a British expert on African affairs, who died last year-in an excellent history of Nigerian organised crime, This Present Darkness.' * The Economist * 'In his final book, the eminent Africanist Stephen Ellis explores how the country became a hotbed of illicit trade, endemic corruption and organised crime after the collapse of the oil industry.' * Times Higher Education *