Organized crime in Nigeria
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|Territory||Nigeria, South Africa, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands, United States, India, Japan|
|Criminal activities||419 Scams, Drug trafficking, Weapon trafficking, Prostitution, Contract killing, extortion, illegal diamond smuggling, Robbery, Fraud, Money laundering, Human trafficking, Kidnapping.|
|Allies||Hard Livings, Sicilian Mafia, Yakuza|
Organized crime in Nigeria may refer to a number of fraudsters, drug traffickers and racketeers of various sorts originating from Nigeria. Nigerian criminal gangs rose to prominence in the 1980s, owing much to the globalization of the world's economies and the high level of lawlessness already in the country.
Criminal organizations from Nigeria typically do not follow the mafia-type model followed by other groups. They appear to be less formal and more organized along familial and ethnic lines, thus making them less susceptible by infiltration from law enforcement. Police investigations are further hampered by the fact there are at least 250 distinct ethnic languages in Nigeria. Other criminal gangs from Nigeria appear to be smaller-scale freelance operations. Most Nigerian organized crime syndicates are of Igbo or Yoruba origin. Groups from Benin City are especially notorious for human trafficking.
An example of this are the highly organized confraternities/campus gangs that operate worldwide, for example the Neo Black Movement of Africa. In its own words, the Neo Black Movement of Africa is a "registered non-partisan, non-religious and non-tribal organisation that sincerely seek to revive, retain and modify where necessary those aspects of African culture that would provide vehicles of progress for Africa and her peoples".
The current worldwide head of the Neo Black Movement is Augustus Bemigho-Oyeoyibo. A representative of the Neo Black Movement of Africa has claimed to be separate from the Black Axe groups and has engaged in charitable giving.
Behind the welfare facade of the Neo Black Movement hides indeed the most dreaded Nigerian campus cult, the Black Axe confraternity. NBM usually state that they are not identical with Black Axe for propaganda purposes. While the atrocities committed by campus cult members are well-known, very little is known about other activities of the Neo Black Movement. Offiong claims that the group's initial goal of promoting black consciousness and fighting for the dignity of Africans and their freedom from neo-colonialism has deteriorated into self-serving behaviour that is "notoriously and brutally violent". He maintains that violence has in fact become the cult's official policy.
Apart from the atrocities in the orbit of NBM, most members of the confraternity are involved in fraud and cyber crime. The main reason to join the confraternity is (besides the pressure and intimidation that is applied to students to join) the fact that the confraternity has infiltrated all spheres of Nigerian society and serves the main purpose of helping its members climb the career ladder and going unpunished for their crimes by means of their nepotistic structure.
Investigations and a number of arrests of members of NBM by the Italian police brought to light various crimes committed by members of NBM. NBM and other cults were found guilty of smuggling of drugs, extortion, 419 fraud, prostitution, passport falsification, and cloning of credit cards.
In 2011, eight more members of NBM were arrested in Italy for the same offenses mentioned above. They are referred to as an international criminal organisation and Nigerian Mafia. According to internal documents, the confraternity helps members to immigrate illegally to Europe. Nigerian fraud rings have been exported to Europe, America, and Asia (see external links section). In 2015 a sophisticated car theft ring run by the Black Axe organized crime ring was busted in Toronto, Canada. The ring had stolen more than 500 luxury cars in one year, valued at 30 million US dollars.
Nigerian criminal groups are heavily involved in drug trafficking, shipping heroin from Asian countries to Europe and America; and cocaine from South America to Europe and South Africa. The large numbers of ethnic Nigerians in countries like India and Thailand give their gangs ready access to around 90% of the world's heroin.
In the United States, Nigerian drug traffickers are important distributors of heroin, from importing it into the country to distribution level and selling it to lower-level street gangs. These criminal groups are also known to launder drug money through domestic football clubs in the Nigeria Premier League, and are rumored to make additional money through match fixing activity within football matches.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Nigerian criminal enterprises are the most notable of all African criminal enterprises. They are considered to be among the most aggressive and expansionist international criminal groups, operating in more than 80 countries of the world and are established on all populated continents of the world. Their most profitable activity is drug trafficking, though they are more famous for their financial fraud which costs the US alone approximately US$1 to 2 billion annually.
- La Sorte, Mike. "Defining Organized Crime". AmericanMafia.com, May 2006.
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- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "Refworld | Nigeria: The Black Axe confraternity, also known as the Neo-Black Movement of Africa, including their rituals, oaths of secrecy, and use of symbols or particular signs; whether they use force to recruit individuals (2009-November 2012)". Unhcr.org. Retrieved 2014-04-17.
- Offiong 2003, 69–70
- Offiong 2003, 70
- Arresti in Campania per Black Axe, la mafia nigeriana
- "GTA luxury vehicle thefts linked to Nigerian crime ring Black Axe". CBC News Toronto. 11 December 2015. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
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- Stephen Ellis: This Present Darkness: A History of Nigerian Organised Crime. London: Hurst & Company, 2016. ISBN 978-0-19-049431-5.
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- nbmarena.com Official Website
- Video: African Prostitution In Europe, Nigerian Connection
- Women trafficking from Benin City
- Nigerian fraud rings in the Netherlands
- Nigerian fraud ring in Spain
- Nigerian fraud ring in the USA
- Nigerian fraud ring in Los Angeles
- "Nigeria's Cults and their Role in the Niger Delta Insurgency" by Bestman Wellington, The Jamestown Foundation, 6 July 2007
- 419 Scams: Nigerian 419 Scams—an practical overview
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- Last, Alex. "Anger Over Nigeria's Gang Blitz". BBC News, 4 October 2007.