Nigeria is playing a more important role in America energy needs. Neo conservative think tanks in Washington have declared that the Gulf of Guinea is an area of "vital interest" to the U.S., that should be protected by American Military might. A few of these think tanks are Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute and Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The CSIS said "make security and governance in the Gulf of Guinea an explicit priority in U.S. foreign policy." Patrick Naagbanton, Director of the Niger Delta Project for Environment, Human Rights and Development noted "There is clearly an increase in U.S. weapons in the hands of the Nigerian army and navy,"(1 ).
Though Somalia has made more press for their pirates, Nigeria also has pirate attacks. Both have a mix of poverty, politics that help this along, along with the concept of easy money. In comparison Nigeria had 40 attacks in 2008 while Somali has 202 (2 ).
Ex Liberian leader Charles Taylor went into exile in Nigeria in 2003. In 2006 he was held by Nigerian police when he tried to cross the border into Cameroon. He was then sent to The Hague for war crimes(3 ).
Officials in Nigeria often downplay the presence of al Qaeda, but they did arrest three suspects in November 2007, who had allegedly trained with SGPC in Algeria two years prior. Western diplomats are now worried about the possibility that religious tensions in Nigeria, a nation equally split between Muslims and Christians (4 ).
In Christmas day 2009 a Nigerian member of Al Qaeda attempted to ignite a explosive device in his pants. He failed to ignite his package and fellow passengers subdue him. An Anti terror official said "He lit himself on fire and he's suffered some burns.". he was treated and arrested when the plane landed in its destination in Detroit, USA (5 ).