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Africa Table - The Gather-Gather Business: The Nigerian Civil War and the Origins of '419

Samuel Fury Childs Daly
May 30, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
219 Encina Hall West

Open to the public. Lunch will be served.

Join the Center for African Studies for our weekly lunchtime lecture series.

Speaker: Samuel Fury Childs Daly, Assistant Professor, Department of African and African American Studies, Duke University

Using a collection of legal records from the secessionist Republic of Biafra, this project connects the practice of Nigerian fraud, colloquially known as “419” after the section of the criminal code that prohibits it, to the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970). Biafra’s legal record reveals how Biafrans and their government negotiated what kinds of survival tactics, many of them “criminal,” were permissible in the context of warfare and humanitarian crisis. Like in many conflicts, acts of violence and deception became ordinary – and in some cases honorable – when surviving and winning the war trumped all other considerations. In the years that followed the war’s end, scarcity and economic precarity led many ex-soldiers to carry the tactics of the battlefield into civilian life. The forms that postwar crime took ranged from armed robberies by ex-soldiers who transformed their disbanded military units into criminal gangs, to elaborate schemes to defraud which made use of the cloak-and-dagger theatrics and blurred lines of authority that the war had left behind.

Samuel Fury Childs Daly is an Assistant Professor in the Department of African and African American Studies at Duke University. Previously, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar “Ethical Subjects: Moralities, Laws, Histories” at Rutgers University. He completed his PhD in history at Columbia University. More information on his work can be found at:

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