This Present Darkness

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This Present Darkness

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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.

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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.

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