Kidnappings in Nigeria reflect people's disgust with oil companies
[Above: children watch gas-flaring in the Niger Delta. There are thousands of gas flares in the region, where oil companies find it more economical to burn off gas rather than capture it.]
This week four oil workers were kidnapped by Nigeria resistance fighters in an effort to force justice for the people. The group has vowed to stop all oil exports from Nigeria and advised oil workers to leave. A flow station in Bayelsa has also been occupied by disenchanted Nigerians
Shell has evacuated 300 of it's workers feariung for their saftey[here]. Shell this month have defied a December court order to stop gas flaring, a practice that makes life hellish for residents of the area, spewing particulates and making noisy fire flares day and night. [story here] They were also ordered to pay N$1.8 billion in damages. [story here]
The kidnappers are alleged to have "staged a series of attacks on oil pipelines, platforms and workers over the past three weeks, denting supply from the world's eighth largest exporter and driving up world prices" (Reuters) [related story]
For almost a century oil companies have ravaged the Niger delta extracting oil for the global north while leaving a legacy of pollution, disposession of land and supporting military and corrupt regimes. The introduction of a so-called democratic state, after the outing of a military dictatorship in the eighties, has not brought an end to the abuse of the Nigeria people or their land by oil companies [story here]. Many oil companies have become very rich as a result of their exploitation of oil in Nigeria and yet the Nigerian people remain poverty stricken, ill and often abused as a result of the oil companies activities.
Nigeria: The Ogoni:
Oil, Blood, and the Death of a Homeland