Is Nigeria Ready to Kill Another Environmentalist?

In this article, the context of the Government of Nigeria (GON) and its agencies killing a truth-seeking environmentalist is (a) physical as in murder, execution, assassination or driving one to suicide. Or (b) psychological as in breaking one’s spirit, discrediting one’s name, ruining one’s career; being a victim of government-sponsored attack dogs. Ken Saro-Wiwa a major Nigerian environmentalist suffered such a fate. It would not be paranoia or scaremongering to be concerned that the GON is after yet another environmentalist, Rev Nnnimmo Bassey. The question is to what extent, considering the beginnings of similar trends and actions in the past. “Discredit him then kill him” is an old tactic. It should be taken seriously. Continue reading

The ‘Funk’ of Buhari: A Tale of Stolen and Uncollected Revenues

When it comes to attacking and witch-hunting the defenceless, or the underestimated, President Muhammadu Buhari has a heart larger than Zuma Rock – his machismo is unlimited; when it comes to dealing with major players in the Nigerian economy Buhari’s timidity is fantastic. In his anti-corruption campaign, Buhari has focused purely on the refund of stolen and the freezing of economic activity, causing much suffering and hunger in the land. Still, he dare not go against the oil companies that have raped Nigeria for what it is worth for over half a century. It takes more than average testicular fortitude to deal with such concerns and losses.

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The Niger Delta “Overlooked” by Government

Niger-Delta

The Niger Delta has been exclusively the undisputed source of Nigeria’s vast but plundered national wealth for five decades. When President Muhammadu Buhari came to power in 2015, his first “tough actions” were exacted on the Niger Delta with the bombings of illegal refineries and bunkering assets. It was an utterly senseless strategy that created only more pollution and all promises by the President to “clean up” the Niger Delta have proven to be empty. Now that the price of oil has fallen dramatically and Nigeria is catching economic perplexity, it is as if the Niger Delta and its incidence of ecocide have vanished from the government’s list of priorities and even the collective consciousness of Nigeria, yes, the “One Nigeria“.
Slavery, groundnuts, palm oil, cocoa, rubber, timber, tin, columbite, uranium, Gum Arabic etc. all combined as exports could not earn Nigeria the kind of wealth petroleum and gas has earned in a very short time. When Nigeria was an agro-state, most of the agricultural cash crops Nigeria exported were also from the Niger Delta, particularly palm oil – the product that led to the creation of Nigeria (first as a protectorate) by Great Britain. In return, the Niger Delta (its lands and peoples) has become an ecocidal and genocidal hotspot where death, disease, pollution, poverty and state violence flourish at the expense of people.

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Fame and Prize Winners: Wole Soyinka and Nnimmo Bassey

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Wole Soyinka is famed for winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986 based on his significant contributions to poetry and drama. Though his award was highly controversial and the Nobel Committee’s ‘choice’ felbious, Soyinka won the prize anyway, deservedly. He was the first African to win the prize. There are very few urban Nigerians that do not know who Wole Soyinka is; he is a living legend. Continue reading

The Ontology of the African V: The Exploitation & The Blindness

The ontology of the African is an emergent creature of exploitation, historical and contemporary. It started with slavery and colonisation. The late Dr Abdul Rahim Tajudeen, former head of the Pan-African Movement, was a fierce opponent of do-gooding foreign aid and charity. To him, when the African adopts the attitudes of the non-African towards the exploitation of Africa and its peoples, it necessarily creates serious concern. What disturbed Dr Tajudeen most was the contemptuous and cynical “image of Africa” exploited by non-African NGOs to raise money in non-African societies. These images of Africa were also used by African governments to secure odious loans by way of “begging bowl politics.” One thing that disgusted him was the regular incidences of immunisation aid projects used as “human experiment labs” on African peoples. How about the fictitious characterisations of Africa with terms like “mineral curse” and “neo-patrimonial state”? Imagine “poverty tourism” which is on the rise today whereby non-Africans visit African slums to “enjoy the observable pleasures of the African in suffering”; sheer Schadenfreude! With such an ontology, should it be shocking if the is asked, “Are Africans also human beings?” Dr Tajudeen was justifiably angry.

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Silent Holocaust in the Niger Delta?

Leaking wellhead

The Niger Delta is a top “ecocide hotspot” on planet Earth. Minor and major oil spillages are common, frequent and ubiquitous causing untold pollution and ecocide with highly devastating impacts on the lives and livelihoods of the people who reside in the region. There seems to be a sleek everywhere; on the water (the Niger Delta is constituted of the riverine terrain), on the land (in the villages, in the towns, on farms, in houses, in schools, in churches) and in the air even though it is bordered by the ocean. Animal and plant life in the ecosystem has suffered a terrible terminal fate. However, this is an endless perennial story, usually more of the same. Continue reading

Resisting Ecocide: Crimes and Rents

It is interesting to know that the Niger Delta is listed third out of ten hotspots of ecocide in Polly Higgins’ Eradicating Ecocide. I have written a review of the book on this blog for two reasons: its project represents the amalgamation of my three main research interests namely, corruption, institutions and green economics, and it is a very interesting visionary book. The fact that the region has been classified as an ecocide hotspot saves me the need to describe the monstrous environmental and human degradation going on there in the name of Nigeria being a “middle-income nation” and doubling as an “improving nation” within the provisions and expectations of “transparently globalised profit-seeking”. Transparency for what it is worth washes its hands of a lot of things and especially ecocide. Continue reading

Educating a Shell Worker

Ever since ex-President Obosanjo threw the gauntlet to Nigerians in general in to prove the acts of corruption of General Babangida (rtd) (Nwaobi 2004), it has become fashionable for specially interested Nigerians to ask for proof of obvious crimes and malfeasance carried out against the nation and its people by either privileged individuals or organisations with a sole purpose i.e. the presumed impossibility of individuals to provide the proof asked for. That is a very delusional precedent for Nigerians to uncritically follow since in reality there is abundant proof of Babangida’s acts of corruption. Continue reading

Eradicating Ecocide: A Review

Ecocide eradication as both a concept and an institution of (enforceable) international (and local) application is creating a popular stir of concern for its critics and enthusiasm for its supporters; respectively. It is going to get more serious as the ascendance of both its acceptance and the resistance to it unfold. Acceptance often takes time, and resistance wears out with time so that time will decide the fate of ecocide law as a legitimate institution.
The one main innovation of the book is the complete replacement of the concept of mitigation (market-driven sustainability) with the concept of eradication (legally-protected responsibility) as an approach to saving the planet from lapsing into a moribund state. The mitigation approach to tackling ecocide is presented as effete since it fosters a deeply entrenched accommodation of the enslavement and exploitation of the planet by corporations, to serve the logic of economic justice and the imposed fetishes of the global market. Profit in itself is not condemned, but irresponsible profit is; responsible profit preserves the natural state of the planet while reckless profit kills the “living” planet. The author contends that it is the “irresponsible” quest for profit that is “killing” the planet and sustainability approaches are suitable for “irresponsible” profit, hence creates a paradox. Only eradication approaches to preserving the planet by way of creatively introducing robust, binding and enforceable international laws that adequately criminalise ecocide using existing legal infrastructures suffice to solve the problem. The other main innovation of the book is the formulation of ecocide as the 5th Crime Against Peace alongside genocide and others. The book is not short on innovation or rethinking.

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