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.
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.
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 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.
The Niger Delta is a top “ecocide hotspot” on planet Earth. Minor and massive oil spillages are frequent and ubiquitous in the Niger Delta, causing untold pollution and ecocide with highly devastating impacts on the lives and livelihoods of the people who reside in the region. There is evidence of a sleek everywhere; on the water (the Niger Delta is a landmass of the riverine terrain boarded by a coastline with the Atlantic Ocean). It is on the land (in the villages, in the towns, on farms, in houses, in schools, in churches). And it is in the air. 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.
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
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