Twelve of Nigeria's thirty-six states have already adopted or plan to adopt some version of the Shari‘a (the sacred law of Islam). The most extreme versions have restricted the building of churches, performing of music, wearing of pants, drinking of alcohol, or riding in mixed-gender taxis. Forced conversions are relatively common, as are forced divorces (in Muslim-Christian intermarriages). Punishments for varying crimes include stoning, flogging, and chopping off hands. Violence over the implementation of Shari‘a has precipitated the deaths of roughly 6,000 Nigerians—the majority hacked apart by swords and knives.
Nigeria is also becoming integrated into militant Islam's international network, with solidarity visits from Sudanese, Saudi, Palestinian, Syrian, and Pakistani Islamists. Usama bin Ladin is a hero among the many Nigerian Muslims who regularly take to the streets to express their anti-Americanism.
Dangerous vigilante groups illegally enforce the Shari‘a on Christians and Muslims alike, flouting the constitutional separation of church and state. As for President Olusegun Obasanjo, the report finds him afraid to stop these injustices "lest he further upset" Muslim military officers who could challenge his authority. The Freedom House fact-finding mission to Nigeria concluded if the economic flat line and the political turmoil continue, this country of 120 million could go the way of Afghanistan under the Taliban. This would be a nightmare for the United States, given that Nigeria is Africa's most populous country and is America's fifth largest supplier of crude oil. More pointedly, it is one of America's primary non-Arab oil sources.
In the end, the authors suggest that Washington must pay closer attention to the dangerous developments in Nigeria. Proactive steps would include more aid, political support, and whatever other support is deemed necessary to prevent the spread of radical Islam.