The Nigerian Crude.A curse or a blessing?
Oil in Nigeria
Nigeria is the world's eight biggest oil producers. But the scramble for riches has brought ruin to the region and its people.Even the few braves like late Kenneth Sarowiwa who dared to speak where brutally murdered under the guise of maintining peace when he was sentenced to death and executed. A visit to Ogoni land in Bayelsa State will reveal to what extent the Niger Delta has been raped.This community has the highest amount of oil wells in NIgeria yet there is no basic amenity present. Ontop of this the natural habitat has been completelr wiped out.
The Niger Delta region of NIgeria should be paradise that boasts finest schools and hospitals parks research institutes, gleaming infrastructure that shames the West, a place where wealth literally oozes out of the marshy undergrowth.Originally the dream of us Niger Deltans after the discovey of crude.To say it has turned into a nightmare doesn't do justice to the horror that the Niger Delta has become; it doesn't even begin to describe just how disastrous the discovery of oil more than five decades ago has been for the people who live here.
An originally rich ecological area with over 40 different ethnic groups speaking more than 200 different languages, the Niger Delta extends the breath of southern Nigeria.
What oroginally was a land pregnant with spoils of fishing and good agriculturl lands is now riddled with Oil spills that have polluted our rivers and land, making fishing and farming impossible. Flares, burning constantly, have filled our air with soot. Billions of dollars have been pumped out of our lands with nothing in return. Jobs promised are given to expartiates while wha tis left for local content is given to Nigerians from other parts of the country. We are left to do manual and unskilled labour.
Oil has polluted the Delta beyond recognition. But it has also polluted the country's politics. When the first discovery was made in the late 1950s, Nigeria was on the cusp of gaining independence from Britain.
The potential oil revenues were seen by many as the perfect launchpad for an independent Nigeria. It hasn't worked out that way. Instead, it has become the perfect launchpad for corrupt politicians and businessmen to enrich themselves at the expense of their people.Politician who line their pockets with money that was meant to make the life of the common ordinary Nigeian better.
In recent years, shadowy militant groups like the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) have taken advantage of rising anger towards the oil industry kidnapping foreign oil workers and attacking oil installations. Almost all of those kidnapped are returned unharmed once a hefty ransom has been paid.Can these oppurtunists be blamed? If the government has been responsible then such groups would never have come to existence.
The oil companies rather than insist on doing what is right will prefer bribe relevant authorities, cut corners, maximize profit, and plunder theses once beautiful lands.
The Delta is crying out for a comprehensive political solution, one that would bring real investment to a region starved for so long. But oil doesn't seem to work like that. Look across the Gulf of Guinea. Question: Is the oil in Nigeria meant to bring wealth to a few and then suffering to the masses?