Despite growing unrest and violence in Nigeria’s oil-rich delta region, and daily kidnappings Nigeria’s Oil Minister Edmund Daukoru has said that “there is reason to believe the worst is over” for Africa’s Number one producer. “It is a very, very temporary thing”.

To some, Daukoru’s assertions seem based on blind faith or simply blindness to the growing militancy in the Niger Delta. Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo apparently also shares his minister’s optimism, telling officials and foreign oil representatives last month that the situation in Nigeria was becoming more controllable.

However not everyone agrees: A U.S. State Department official told the UPI wire service that: “The Nigerian government isn’t getting a handle on the situation. The anticipation is that this isn’t going to get better.”

I am afraid they might be right.