Saturday, February 03, 2007

Reportage from the Delta

There is an excellent-yet-disturbing photo report on the Niger Delta situation here (you need Flash Player 9 to watch - pretty quick and easy to download if you don't yet have it). The picture to the left is of a local King sitting in his living room (the furniture was paid for by one of the oil companies). Thanks Ngo for the link.


Anonymous,  11:47 am  

On paper, a mechanism does exist for distributing oil revenues somewhat fairly. The federal government retains roughly half and gives out the rest each month, on a sliding scale, to the 36 state governments. The core oil producers—Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa, and Akwa Ibom—receive the most. During the month I was in the delta, those four states divided up more than 650 million dollars.

But there is no discernible trickle down.


Anonymous,  1:09 pm  

The picture alone has my blood boiling. Wy should the Oil companies be buying freaking furniture for these kings (clowns). how about the Oil companies saying screw you we will build a hospital in your town instead or a school.

I am also fed up with the Oil companies and their freaking excuses. How long is it going to take them to realise that these freaking Chiefs are doing jack with all the money they have been paying them since time immemorial.

Surly logic would dictate that the only way to disempower those morons that are cruising the Delta and kidnapping innocent people is to create the infrastructures that will take away their excuse of being exploited. Very soon this will expose them for what they are. Pure opportunitists. And jobless ones at that.Muppets

As for the Fed. Govt. Why again do they continue to hand over the monthly stipend to the corrupt governors of these states? What if they say we will pay you your stipend for ten months but for two months we will actually award contracts to build hospitals, schools your state for the benofit of all the people.

I don't think I am being naive but I am extremely frigging upset.

Oh and can the King even fit all the furniture into his living room? Of course not. Wonder when his 50" plasma TV arrives?

Anonymous,  4:34 pm  

Toks, I used to think like you too, until I had a very enlightening conversation with a friend. She is Ogoni, and works in the Oil industry in Nigeria. I angrily wondered one day, why the oil companies do not carry out social projects to benefit the communities where they work. She told me about how her company, having leased a field, wanted to do something for that community. The person from whom they leased the field refused. He said, "its my family's land, why should you build a school for the whole community?" He refused to let them, and insisted that whatever they wanted to do had to be done specifically for him and his family.
So, in as much as I think the oil companies and the federal government have a fair share of the blame for the situation in the NIger Delta, I think the local champions- governors, LG chairmen and other slightly wealthier people have betrayed their own people for lucre.

Anonymous,  9:21 pm  

Marin, I understand where you are coming from but I am still of a belief that a lot more can be done than is being done. Does the FG not have any land that can be donated to the oil companies for them to develop? I think the oil companies themselves are very compliant and complacent after allit is not their country. Imagine if Houston or dallas looked like a frigging ghetto. Okay I am really hopping mad now so I will post on my blog tomorrow my very radical views. I expect to lose some friends along the way.

Anonymous,  10:29 pm  

I agree with you, all I'm trying to say is the oil companies and the government are not the only people to blame. If I were MEND, I would target the political elite instead of the foreigners because the oil companies can only go as far as the Government allows them. But then, if I were MEND, I would truly be seeking to redress the evil that has been done for decades and not just to line my own pocket.
Every company is out to make money and even in the west, the oil companies are not "environmentally friendly" and "socially responsible" because they have a concience and love the people. No, they act responsible because there are laws in place that work. And they know that if they dare work against the law, the retribution would be swift and merciless. Thats why they behave.

Anonymous,  11:24 pm  

How long as have governments in the core oil producing states been receiving the funds mentioned in that article?

The situation on the ground in the ND was not created by the local governments there, and has existed long before this democratic administration. Sure they carry some blame, but by no means they do carry the bulk of the blame

Anonymous,  12:10 am  

I couldn't agree anymore with Marin. It's so easy to blame the oil companies but how about the corrupt leadership of the core oil producing states, how about their chiefs, kings etc. I don't see them living in squalor. Their kids go to the US, UK and other 1st world countries and live magnificent lives. The leaders of those states and the country generally, appear to be selfish and don't seem to care about the welfare of their respective communities, just themselves and nuclear families.

I don't claim to be holier than thou and I also understand it's become a vicious cycle. "Why should I help others if no one helps me." "How does it benefit me now?" We don't seem to think about the future.We never seem to think of the future generations.

Jeremy, thanks so much for inciting constructive discussions that hopefully get us thinking. I know it's not the easiest feat as Nigerians for the most part hate to be constructively criticized.


Anonymous,  8:39 am  


Ed Kashi 3:32 pm  

This thread was brought to my attention. I am Ed Kashi and I produced the Niger Delta story in National Geographic this month, 2/07. I am very pleased to see this discussion and I have posted it on my blog. Something must change in the Delta.

Kayode 4:26 pm  

When it comes to Corporate responsibility, I think it is for the specific entity in question, to weigh its practices in respect to its ethical standards.

The question I always ask is simply "Is a corporate entity obligated to take the responsibility of the government in ensuring that the welfare of a specific community's welfare is taking into consideration?"

If yes, then what is the responsibility of the government or those that are in charge of the governance?

It is fair if our viewpoint is directed towards practices by this specific corporate entities. Practices such as pollution etc, and perhaps ethical conducts. But when it comes to welfare responsibilities, I don't agree.

Marin 10:38 pm  

How come my last comment didn't show up? And how come we are all anonymouses now? New blogger problems?

Jeremy 11:37 pm  

Sorry Marin - I transferred to the new Google-based blogger platform around the time of this post and a) for some technical reason I couldnt approve your previous comment and b) everything has become anonymous.

Bloody blogger. I suppose I'm stuck with it..

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