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Focus on Nigeria with the Vail Symposium

Special to the Daily
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EAGLE, Colorado ” Nigeria is the world’s eight largest oil exporter, one of the world’s fastest growing economies and the most populous nation in Africa. Despite becoming a democracy in 1999, the nation remains fractured along ethnic and religious lines.

This Wednesday, Vail Symposium’s Active Minds program looks at Nigeria’s lurching struggle to take a seat at the international table. The free program will take place at the Golden Eagle Community Center in Eagle, and begins at 5:30 p.m.

Nigeria gained independence from a century of British rule in 1960. Struggles for power between various ethnic and religious coalitions, pitting the poor north against the prosperous south, led to bloody military coups, culminating in the Nigerian Civil War, which ended in 1970.



Nigeria joined OPEC in the 1970s and billions of dollars flowed into Nigeria, adding even more fuel to the country’s economic instability and corruption. Back-to-back military coups ensued.

The country regained a shaky democracy in 1999 after a series of controversial elections. The Presidency is currently held by Umaru Yar’Adua of the People’s Democratic Party. He was elected President in 2007 in an election that the international community condemned as illegitimate, marred by illegal contracts, kickbacks, gang violence and assassination.



“The major issue among oil-rich nations,” according to Active Minds co-founder John Henderson, “is the way the oil wealth is divided and how it is extracted. Sabotage on the Niger Delta has been a key dynamic in the past few years, and one of the major reasons for oil price volatility has been such instability in oil producing regions.”

Fighting among factions have cut a fifth of the country’s oil output since early 2006. Last month, pipelines operated by Shell and Chevron were sabotaged.

“The United States has a significant investment in Nigerian oil so stability is of major concern to us,” remarked John Henderson, “That stability also translates into international stability.”



For more information about this event, visit http://www.vailsymposium.org or call 970-476-0954.

What: Active Minds with Vail Symposium.

Where: Golden Eagle Community Center, Eagle.

When: 5: 30 p.m. Wednesday.

Cost: Free.

More information: Visit http://www.vailsymposium.org or call 970-476-0954.

– Nigeria, with a population of over 140 million, is the most populous country in Africa and the eight most populous country in the world.

– Nigeria is about two-and-a-half times the size of California, which by comparison, has a population of 36.5 million.

– The Yoruba (an ethnic group) date their presence in Nigeria to about 8500 BC, and their mythology places western Nigeria as the source of the human race, predating any other civilization.

– Nigeria is comprised of 250 ethnic groups speaking 4,000 dialects.

– Life expectancy is between 45-47 years (compared to the U.S. at 75-81 years).

– The country’s religious composite is 50 percent Muslim, 40 percent Christian, and 10 percent indigenous beliefs.


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