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Nigeria has one of the highest rates of internal violence in the world, only unlike others with similar levels of bloodshed such as Colombia or Chechnya, there is not a civil war going on. Between 1999 and 2006 alone, over 50,000 were killed in ethno-religious violence and over 80,000 displaced. In the north, an explosive growth of strident Christianity confronted an upsurge of puritanical, reformist Islam. In the Middle Belt, the mainly Christian local farmers collided with predominantly Muslim settler herdsmen in Plateau State, requiring the president to declare a state of emergency. In the Niger Delta, new rebel groups escalated their attacks on government and multinational installations, including the use of car bombings.

During the 19th Century killing heat and disease gave Nigeria the name "the white man's grave." Today, the United States Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center (AFMIC) assess Nigeria as a HIGHEST RISK country, with an overall disease risk among the worst in the world. Sanitation is extremely poor throughout the country, including major urban areas. Local food and water sources including ice) are heavily contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, parasites, and viruses to which most US service members have little or no natural immunity. Effective disease surveillance does not exist within the country. Only a small fraction of diseases are identified or reported.

Diarrheal diseases can be expected to temporarily incapacitate a very high percentage of personnel within days if local food, water, or ice is consumed. Hepatitis A, typhoid fever, and hepatitis E can cause prolonged illness in a smaller percentage.

The climate and ecological habitat support large populations of arthropod vectors, including mosquitoes, ticks, and sand flies. Significant disease transmission is sustained year-round and countrywide, including urban areas. Serious diseases may not be recognized or reported due to the lack of surveillance and diagnostic capability.

Malaria is the major vector-borne risks in Nigeria, capable of debilitating a high percentage of personnel for up to a week or more. In addition, there are a variety of other vector-borne diseases occurring at low or unknown levels, which as a group constitute a very serious risk comparable to that of malaria. Personnel exposed to mosquitoes, ticks, sand flies or other biting vectors are at high risk during day or night, in both urban and rural areas.

Nigeria's environmental and national energy policies are ineffective in regulating fossil fuel exploitation to minimize environmental degradation. Anti-dumping laws implemented to reduce industrial waste and effluents are poorly enforced, partly because Nigerian State Environmental Protection Agencies are financially dependent upon the regulated industries. Responsibility for environmental management has shifted between Federal agencies numerous times over the last few decades; this has contributed to the inconsistent policy enforcement that exists today.

Epileptic public power supply has long been so much of a constant across the country that so many businesses and households routinely generate their electricity, earning Nigeria the unflattering position as the world’s highest importer of power generators. In the process, the country is a dumping ground of power generators of various sizes and capacities. Even the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) routinely runs its offices on generators.

In general, localized air contamination may occur near specific industrial facilities or urban areas. Nigeria lacks an extensive industrial infrastructure, subsequently air pollution presents a low risk to human health. Nigeria is the ninth largest natural gas producing country in the world, but lacks an effective gas distribution system, which results in a need to flare (on-site disposal of gas by burning) the excess. The World Bank has estimated 35 million tons of carbon dioxide is released into the Niger Delta each year from more than 100 flaring sites. Excessive flaring may lead to localized air contamination around oil and gas exploitation and refining areas.

Air pollution from the transport sector is a concern, particularly in urban areas. Although no specific information is available, increasing numbers of poorly maintained vehicles may result in elevated levels of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, ozone, and particulates, especially in high traffic areas. Nigeria's current use of leaded gasoline also may contribute to high levels of lead in the ambient air. Short-term exposure to nitrogen oxides, ozone, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide above established standards presents a risk of transient acute respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and reduced lung function, especially in asthmatic individuals.

Specific information on levels of chemical contamination of food products is unavailable for Nigeria; however, crops often are irrigated with municipal and industrial effluents, which may result in microbial and chemical contamination of local agricultural products. Contamination of food with fecal pathogens may result from use of fertilizers derived from human or animal waste, unsanitary food preparation techniques, and improper handling of prepared food products. Even one-time exposure to fecal contamination in food may cause a variety of acute enteric infections. In general, chemical contamination of food may result from deposition of particulates from industrial activities, uptake of persistent chemicals in soil, pesticide and fertilizer misuse in agricultural production, and improper processing or storage. Overall, low-level chemical contamination of food is a concern only for long-term exposures.

Sabotage of petroleum pipelines has led to soil pollution in Nigeria. In general, the hazards from fire and explosion associated with these incidents far outweigh the health risks associated with resulting persistent environmental contamination. For example, in 1998, sabotage of a petroleum pipeline near the town of Jesse caused an explosion that killed more than 700 and led to extensive soil contamination. In 1999, the Nigeria State Petroleum Company reported approximately 500 cases of sabotage to fuel pipelines. In mid-2000, a case of vandalism led to a large gasoline spill and associated explosion near the villages of Adeje and Odiri Court in the Niger Delta that killed more than 200 and caused extensive soil contamination. The primary residual environmental health risks associated with crude and refined petroleum product spills are from resulting hydrocarbon contamination of local soil, surface water, and groundwater.

The Department of Petroleum Resources estimates that only five percent of all oil spilled in Nigeria is actually recovered; the rest of the oil is lost to the environment. No further specific information on soil contamination is available for Nigeria. In general, soil contamination is localized to specific areas surrounding industrial facilities and waste disposal sites. Even in such areas, significant exposure to contaminants in soil is unlikely in the absence of wind-blown dust, active digging, or migration of contaminants from soil into ground water. As a result, soil contamination usually presents a low risk to human health.

Raw sewage is the primary water contaminant of concern in Nigeria. Urban water treatment and distribution systems are inadequate, and existing systems are in disrepair. Inadequate water treatment by poorly maintained treatment facilities, results in microbial contamination in drinking water in many areas. Consumption of water contaminated with raw sewage or runoff containing fecal pathogens may cause a variety of acute enteric infections.

In southern Nigeria, dumping of untreated industrial wastes contributes to water pollution. For example, the Sharada and Challawa industrial centers contribute to pollution of the Kano River Basin, and in the city of Kano, manufacturing, metallurgical, tanneries, and textile industries discharge untreated effluents contaminated with heavy metals directly into the Challawa River, the city's main water supply. In Kaduna, waste discharges and spills from petroleum and fertilizer plants and other industries flow directly into the Kaduna River, the region's main water supply. Indiscriminate dumping of municipal wastes has contributed to ground water contamination, particularly in urban areas.

A study in the cities of Ibadan and Lagos found local ground water sources with elevated levels of metals such as lead, cadmium, and chromium. The level of metals detected in ground water exceeded both World Health Organization guidelines and US EPA Drinking Water Standards. Accidental spills of petroleum products occur frequently in Nigerian inland waterways and coastal areas. The most significant recent case occurred in 1998, when Mobile Oil Company was held responsible for a spill that dumped 40,000 barrels of oil into the sea off the Nigeria Coast.

Driving is a major safety concern. Although traffic laws exist, enforcement remains almost non-existent. The lack of traffic laws, poorly maintained roads, and unpredictable driving habits add to the risk of travel. All these elements work to the advantage of criminals. In addition to dangers posed by criminal gangs toward travelers, the lack of medical responses or adequate trauma facilities are a concern for all motorists. Public transportation is unsafe and discouraged. Of particular concern in Lagos are the motorcycle taxis, commonly known as “okadas.” These mainly unlicensed taxis present a significant nuisance to other motorists as the result of their unpredictable driving habits and lack of compliance with the rules of the road. Okada drivers and even their passengers often become confrontational and violent when involved in accidents with other vehicles. Okada drivers often engage in crimes, either as active participants (such as lookouts) or as means of escape for those conducting the crime.

Crime is a risk throughout the country. Visitors and residents experienced armed muggings, assaults, burglaries, carjackings, rapes, kidnappings, and extortion. Home invasions remain a serious threat, with armed robbers threatening even guarded compounds by scaling perimeter walls, following residents or visitors, or subduing guards to gain entry to homes or apartments. Armed robbers in Lagos have invaded waterfront compounds by boat. U.S. citizens, as well as Nigerians and other expatriates, have been victims of armed robbery at banks and grocery stores and on airport roads during both daylight and evening hours. Law enforcement authorities usually respond slowly or not at all and provide little or no investigative support to victims.

"Jungle justice" is the term Nigerians give to lynchings or public retributions for crimes. Many cities in Nigeria still engage in some barbaric practices such as jungle justice. Almost every week, three is a story of how a person was lynched for stealing or committing some crime or the other. Many such incidents go unreported. Suspected criminals are often subjected to pain before they eare murdered, attacked with sticks, stones, bottles or anything that will inflict serious pain on the person. After which, they burn the person alive - the South Africa, this is termed "necklacing" as the victim has a tire filled with gasoline placed around their neck. One of the most notorious examples of a public lynching was the lynching of the ‘Aluu 4’ – a group of four men in Aluu, a town in the south of Nigeria, who were falsely accused of theft in 2012 and were all murdered. Suspects are lynched in the most gruesome of manners with the crowd often not wanting to know what offense they committed before killing them.

Photos of a young man who was beaten and burnt to death went viral on 16 November 2016. His crime was that he stole garri (a staple food). The first report was that he was a 7-year-old boy. However, the police debunked the report saying the person that was killed was a man and not a boy, and investigation on how he died was ongoing. While he was being subjected to so much pain by the mob, others stood by and watched, taking pictures and filming the incident. Some others were screaming ‘hit him well’.

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Page last modified: 21-02-2017 13:46:00 ZULU