United States to operate openly. That way, it avoids upsetting the Nigerian government, is able to pro- vide the Brotherhoods with greater assistance, and can incorporate its provision within a public relations campaign aimed at improving the U.S. image within the Islamic world. Yet this openness should not be at- tempted at all costs. Clearly, if this means funnelling yet more money to Nigerian state institutions, which are hopelessly corrupt, then it should be avoided, for that would simply be a waste of U.S. tax dollars. Rath- er, the United States should strive to forge a direct rela- tionship with the Brotherhoods, one that bypasses the Nigerian state’s ineffective and unreliable organs.
Given the FG’s seeming disinterest in the well-be- ing of its citizens, this may well be possible. Certainly its officials have yet to complain about the money spent by the British government on the Sultan of Sokoto and Sheikh Kabara, and given to the Emir of Zaria. Indeed, over the past 2 or 3 years, it has paid for both the Sultan and the Sheikh to visit the UK on at least two separate occasions each. It is helping to finance the restoration of the ornate gatehouse that formed part of the ancient city walls of Zaria. And it has also paid for various con- ferences and other civic events to which the north’s re- ligious leaders have been invited as guests of honor.
The funding for these initiatives came from schemes organized by the High Commission, and are separate from the much larger programs managed by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). As a result, the sums involved are not that great. Argu- ably, this may explain why the Nigerian government appears so unconcerned. Yet there are still important lessons to draw. For a start, there is the precedent these initiatives help establish. Even though they are small, they establish a pattern by which the British govern-