Instances of Crimilegality in Colombia and Nigeria

  • Markus Schultze-Kraft


Land grabbing, both violent and non-violent, in Colombia and (potentially violent) industrial-scale oil theft and massive fuel subsidy scamming in Nigeria are manifestations of instances of crimilegality in hybrid political orders. Rather than representing processes of gradual criminal intrusion, co-optation and penetration of the state, these examples of crimilegality reveal that in Colombia and Nigeria legal-legitimate and illegal-illegitimate state and non-state actors are participating—sometimes on equal terms—in crimilegal schemes. Land grabbing, fuel subsidy scamming and oil theft illustrate not only different manifestations of crimilegality, but also the varying points at which they are located on the crimilegality-crimilegitimacy spectrum.


Crimilegality Land grabbing Oil theft Fuel subsidy scam Colombia Nigeria 


  1. Ad-Hoc Committee. Report of the Ad-Hoc Committee to ‘Verify and Determine the Actual Subsidy Requirements and Monitor the Implementation of the Subsidy Regime in Nigeria. Resolution No. HR.1/2012, House of Representatives, 2012. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  2. Africa Check. “How Many Barrels of Oil Stolen a Day in Nigeria? Buhari in Right Ballpark with 250,000.” Africa Check, September 10, 2015. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  3. Akinbajo, Idris. “Nigeria’s Biggest Oil Fraudsters; the Worst Subsidy Scam Ever.” Premium Times, August 16, 2012. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  4. Akpan, Udeme. “Nigeria’s Crude Oil Production Lags Budget Benchmark by 277,000 bpd.” The Vanguard, April 17, 2018. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  5. Aponte, Alejandro. “Colombia: un caso sui generis en el marco de justicia de transición.” International Law: Revista Colombiana de Derecho Internacional 6, no. 12 (2008): 395–433.Google Scholar
  6. Arias Castillo, Wilson. Así se roban la tierra en Colombia. Bogotá: Impresol Ediciones, 2017.Google Scholar
  7. Arnson, Cynthia, and Teresa Whitfield. “Third Parties and Intractable Conflicts: The Case of Colombia.” In Grasping the Nettle: Analyzing Cases of Intractable Conflict, edited by Chester Crocker, Fen Osler Hampson, and Pamela Aall, 231–68. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 2005.Google Scholar
  8. Asuni, Judith. “Understanding the Armed Groups of the Niger Delta.” Working Paper, Council on Foreign Relations, New York, 2009. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  9. BBC. “Nigeria Fuel Subsidy Report ‘Reveals $6bn Fraud’.” BBC, April 24, 2012. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  10. Boege, Volker, Anne Brown, Keving Clements, and Anna Nolan. On Hybrid Political Orders and Emerging States: What is Failing—States in the Global South or Research and Politics in the West? Berlin: Berghof Research Centre for Constructive Conflict Management, 2009. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  11. Boris, Olagonu. “The Upsurge of Oil Theft and Illegal Bunkering in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria: Is There a Way Out?” Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences 6, no. 3 (2015): 563–73.
  12. Centro Nacional de Memoria Histórica. ¡Basta Ya! Bogotá: Centro Nacional de Memoria Histórica, 2013.Google Scholar
  13. Collier, Paul. The Bottom Billion. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.Google Scholar
  14. Collier, Paul, and Anke Hoeffler. “Greed and Grievance in Civil War.” Oxford Economic Papers 56, no. 4 (2004): 563–95. Scholar
  15. Coronell, Daniel. “La ley es (casi) para todos.” Semana, June 15, 2013. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  16. Corte Suprema de Justicia. Magistrado ponente José Luís Barceló Camacho AP799-2018 Radicación No. 51255 (Acta no. 65), Sala de Casación Penal, Corte Suprema de Justicia, República de Colombia, February 28, 2018. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  17. Courson, Elias. “MEND: Political Marginalization, Repression, and Petro-Insurgency in the Niger Delta.” African Security 4, no. 1 (2011): 20–43. Scholar
  18. Davidheiser, Mark, and Kialee Nyiayaana. “Demobilization or Remobilization? The Amnesty Program and the Search for Peace in the Niger Delta.” African Security 4, no. 1 (2011): 44–64. Scholar
  19. Davis, Stephen. The Potential for Peace and Reconciliation in the Niger Delta. Coventry: Coventry Cathedral, 2009. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  20. Deas, Malcolm. Intercambios violentos. Bogotá: Taurus, 1999.Google Scholar
  21. Dinero. “Riopaila: la verdadera historia.” Dinero, November 28, 2013.
  22. Eke, Suruola James. “No Pay, No Peace: Political Settlement and Post-amnesty in the Niger Delta, Nigeria.” Journal of Asian and African Studies 50, no. 6 (2015): 750–64. Scholar
  23. Ellis, Stephen. “West Africa’s International Drug Trade.” African Affairs 108, no. 431 (2009): 171–96. Scholar
  24. Federal Ministry of Finance. Report of the Technical Committee on Payment of Fuel Subsidies, vols. 1 and 2. Abuja: Federal Ministry of Finance, 2012.Google Scholar
  25. Garay-Salamanca, Luis, Isaac León, and Eduardo Salcedo-Albarán. Captura y reconfiguración cooptada del Estado en Guatemala, México y Colombia. Bogotá: Grupo Método, 2010.Google Scholar
  26. Garuba, Dauda. “Trans-Border Economic Crimes, Illegal Oil Bunkering and Economic Reforms in Nigeria.” Policy Brief Series No. 15, Global Consortium on Security Transformation, 2010.Google Scholar
  27. Gboyega Alex, Tina Soreide, Tuan Minh Le, and G. P. Shukla. “Political Economy of the Petroleum Sector in Nigeria.” Policy Research Working Paper No. 5779, The World Bank, Washington, DC, 2011. Scholar
  28. Grajales, Jacobo. “State Involvement, Land Grabbing and Counter-Insurgency in Colombia.” Development and Change 44, no. 2 (2013): 211–32. Scholar
  29. ———. “Land Grabbing, Legal Contention and Institutional Change in Colombia.” The Journal of Peasant Studies 42, nos. 3–4 (2015): 541–60. Scholar
  30. Gutiérrez, Francisco, and Richard Stoller. “The Courtroom and the Bivouac: Reflections on Law and Violence in Colombia.” Latin American Perspectives 28, no. 1 (2001): 56–72. Scholar
  31. IDMC. Colombia: Country Information. IDMC, 2017. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  32. International Crisis Group. War and Drugs in Colombia. International Crisis Group, Latin America Report No. 11. Bogotá/Brussels, 2005. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  33. Jaramillo, Jefferson. “Reflexiones sobre los ‘usos’ y ‘abusos’ de la verdad, la justicia y la reparación en el proceso de Justicia y Paz colombiano (2005–2010).” Papel Político 15, no. 1 (2010): 13–46.Google Scholar
  34. Joab-Peterside, Sofiri, Doug Porter, and Michael Watts. “Rethinking Conflict in the Niger Delta: Understanding Conflict Dynamics, Justice and Security.” Working Paper No. 26, University of California, Berkeley, 2012. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  35. Johnson, Kyle, and Michael Jonsson. “Colombia: Ending the Forever War?” Survival 55, no. 1 (2013): 67–86. Scholar
  36. Katsouris, Christina, and Aaron Sayne. Nigeria’s Criminal Crude: International Options to Combat the Export of Stolen Oil. London: Chatham House, 2013.Google Scholar
  37. Krauthausen, Ciro. Moderne Gewalten. Organisierte Kriminalität in Kolumbien und Italien. Frankfurt and New York: Campus Verlag, 2013.Google Scholar
  38. Larémont, Ricardo. Islamic Law and Politics in Northern Nigeria. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2011.Google Scholar
  39. Lewis, Peter, and Michael Watts. “Nigeria: The Political Economy of Governance.” Discussion Paper Doing Development Differently (DDD), 2015.Google Scholar
  40. Londoño, Carolina. “Tierras colectivas en el Bajo Atrato como territorios de resistencias en el marco del conflicto armado en Colombia.” TraHs Números especiales 2 (2018): 36–46.
  41. NEITI. 2015 Oil & Gas Industry Audit Report. Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Abuja, 2017. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  42. Nwajiaku-Dahou, Kathryn. 2012. “The Political Economy of Oil and ‘Rebellion’ in Nigeria’s Niger Delta.” Review of African Political Economy 39, no. 132 (2012): 295–313. Scholar
  43. Ocheje, Paul. “Norms, Law and Social Change: Nigeria’s Anti-corruption Struggle, 1999–2017.” Crime, Law and Social Change (2017). Scholar
  44. Okon Edet, Etim. “Buying with a Conscience: Curbing Crude Oil Theft in Nigeria.” Paper Presented at the 2015 Policy Week, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK, November 2–6, 2015. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  45. Oyewole, Oyero. “Prosecution of Fuel Subsidy Scam Suspects: Implication for the Fight Against Corruption in Nigeria.” Public Policy and Administration Research 5, no. 10 (2015): 55–63.
  46. Palacios, Marco. Entre la legitimidad y la violencia. Colombia 1875–1994. Bogotá: Editorial Norma, 2003.Google Scholar
  47. Palacios, Marco, and Frank Safford. Colombia: País fragmentado, sociedad dividida. Bogotá: Editorial Norma, 2002.Google Scholar
  48. Ralby, Ian. Downstream Oil Theft: Global Modalities, Trends and Remedies. Washington, DC: Atlantic Council, 2017.Google Scholar
  49. Reuters. “Factbox: Nigeria’s $6.8 Billion Fuel Subsidy Scam.” Reuters, May 13, 2012. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  50. Riopaila-Castilla. Proyecto Veracruz en Santa Rosalía y La Primavera, Vichada. Riopaila-Castilla, May 2014. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  51. Robledo, Jorge. La corrupción en el poder y el poder de la corrupción en Colombia. Bogotá: Penguin Random Housem, 2016.Google Scholar
  52. Schultze-Kraft, Markus. “Actualización y ampliación de los mapeos sobre el crimen organizado en Colombia y la región andina, 2008–2009.” In Seguridad Regional en América Latina y el Caribe. Anuario 2010, edited by Hans Mathieu and Catalina Niño Guarnizo, 436–55. Bogotá: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, 2010.Google Scholar
  53. ———. Nigeria’s Post-1999 Political Settlement and Violence Mitigation in the Niger Delta. IDS Evidence Report No. 5. Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, 2013a. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  54. ———. Elites, Oil and Violence Mitigation in the Niger Delta. IDS Policy Briefing No. 35. Brighton, 2013b. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  55. ———. Getting Real About an Illicit ‘External Stressor’: Transnational Cocaine Trafficking Through West Africa. IDS Evidence Report No. 72. Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, 2014. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  56. ———. “Órdenes crimilegales: Repensando el poder político del crimen organizado.” Íconos. Revista de Ciencias Sociales 55 (2016a): 25–44.
  57. ———. Organised Crime, Violence and Development: Topic Guide. Birmingham, UK: GSDRC, University of Birmingham, 2016b. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  58. ———. “Understanding Organised Violence and Crime in Political Settlements: Oil Wars, Petro-Criminality and Amnesty in the Niger Delta.” Journal of International Development 29, no. 5 (2017a): 613–27. Scholar
  59. ———. “Friedensschaffung durch Enflechtung von Herrschaftsordnung und organisierter Kriminalität? – Ein Deutungsversuch des kolumbianischen Friedensprozesses unter Anwendung des Konzepts der krimilegalen Aushandlung.” Monatsschrift für Kriminologie und Strafrechtsreform 100, no. 5 (2017b): 344–59. Scholar
  60. ———. “Making Peace in Seas of Crime: Crimilegal Order and Armed Conflict Termination in Colombia.” Crime, Law and Social Change 69, no. 4 (2018): 475–96. Scholar
  61. Semana. “‘En el caso Riopaila no hubo nada ilegal’.” Semana, June 15, 2013. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  62. Semillas. “Reflexiones sobre el Incoder y la institucionalidad agraria en Colombia.” Semillas, October 13, 2015. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  63. Southernfield Development Partners/Latitude Development Solutions. The Evolution of Non-state Violence Directed at the Energy Infrastructure in Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers States. Lagos, 2012.Google Scholar
  64. Thoumi, Francisco. “Organized Crime in Colombia: The Actors Running the Illegal Drug Industry.” In The Oxford Handbook on Organized Crime, edited by Leticia Paoli, 177–95. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.Google Scholar
  65. UNHCR. “Colombia: Country Information.” Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 2016. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  66. Verdad Abierta. “Supersociedades admite demanda para recuperar baldíos en Vichada.” Verdad Abierta, March 24, 2015. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  67. Verdad Abierta. “Reclamantes de tierra del Bajo Atrato, bajo fuego, pero ¿de quién?” Verdad Abierta, November 28, 2017. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  68. von Lampe, Klaus. Organized Crime: Analyzing Illegal Activities, Criminal Structures, and Extra-legal Governance. Los Angeles: Sage, 2016.Google Scholar
  69. Watts, Michael. “Petro-Insurgency or Criminal Syndicate? Conflict & Violence in the Niger Delta.” Review of African Political Economy 34, no. 114 (2007): 637–60. Scholar
  70. Williams, Phil. “Nigerian Criminal Organizations.” In The Oxford Handbook on Organized Crime, edited by Leticia Paoli, 254–69. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Markus Schultze-Kraft
    • 1
  1. 1.Universidad IcesiCaliColombia

Personalised recommendations