A History of Nigerian organized crime

Nigerian crime syndicates, often considered by law enforcement officers as 'organized crime', have gained a certain international notoriety, particularly in the fields of drugs and fraud. This research aims to study the history of such 'organized crime' with a view to discovering how and why it has developed. However, it is clear that the research will also need to grapple with some important conceptual issues, including how legitimate it is to describe Nigerian crime as 'organized', and how crime or criminals may be discerned in a situation where senior state officials themselves routinely commit economic crimes in particular. Research suggests that modern organized crime in Nigeria or committed by Nigerians outside the country can hardly be separated from the growth of such global phenomena as money-laundering and business and political corruption, perhaps going back to the post-1945 period. This research project was led by the late Prof. Stephen Ellis.

Research project
2012 to 2016



crime ; politics

Additional information

Research output: 

In June 2016, the results of the project were published in This Present Darkness: A History of Nigerian Organised Crime.