Crisis In Nigeria.The terrifying ter·ri·fy
tr.v. ter·ri·fied, ter·ri·fy·ing, ter·ri·fies
1. To fill with terror; make deeply afraid. See Synonyms at frighten.
2. To menace or threaten; intimidate. oil blast which engulfed a Lagos neighbourhood following Christmas Day - the death toll in early 2007 was almost 300 - says less about vandals who hot-tap exposed pipelines running through the city's slum world than the venality ve·nal·i·ty
n. pl. ve·nal·i·ties
1. The condition of being susceptible to bribery or corruption.
2. The use of a position of trust for dishonest gain.
Noun 1. , waste and corruption of a Nigerian petro-capitalism fuelled by windfall profits and addiction to the automobile. The horrific pictures of charred human carcasses being dragged from the burned-over wreckage of the Awori area of Abule Egba, a suburb of Lagos, was a bleak testimony to the total failure of secular national development in post-colonial Nigeria.
The spectacle of an oil nation in which poor city dwellers scramble to scoop fuels from ruptured or tapped pipelines stands at the heart of the failure of many oil states, what Stanford political scientist Terry Karl calls "the paradox of plenty". Nigeria earns over $40 bn/year which accounts for 90% of its export earnings and 80% of government revenue. Nigeria supplies 9% of US imports and is the pillar in the US post 9/11 African oil strategy.
The oil wealth for most Nigerians is nothing more than a fairy tail gone wrong: 85% of oil income accrues to 1% of the population. Between 1970 and 2000 in Nigeria, the number of people subsisting on less than one dollar/day grew from 36% to more than 70%, from 19m to 90m. According to the IMF IMF
See: International Monetary Fund
See International Monetary Fund (IMF). , oil "did not seem to add to the standard of living" and "could have contributed to a decline in the standard of living". The anti-corruption chief Nuhu Ribadu - one of the few bright lights on a dark political landscape - claimed that in 2003, 70% of the country's oil wealth was stolen or wasted; by 2005 it was "only" 40%. Over the period 1965-2004, the per capita income Noun 1. per capita income - the total national income divided by the number of people in the nation
income - the financial gain (earned or unearned) accruing over a given period of time fell from $250 to $212, while income distribution deteriorated markedly. Since 1990 GDP GDP (guanosine diphosphate): see guanine. per capita [Latin, By the heads or polls.] A term used in the Descent and Distribution of the estate of one who dies without a will. It means to share and share alike according to the number of individuals. and life expectancy Life Expectancy
1. The age until which a person is expected to live.
2. The remaining number of years an individual is expected to live, based on IRS issued life expectancy tables. have, according to World Bank estimates, both fallen.
A reality of life in Nigeria is that fuel for everyday use is one of its scarcest commodities. One bizarre and potentially deadly livelihood strategy is oil theft. The poor quality of oil pipeline infrastructure and their close proximity to human habitation HABITATION, civil law. It was the right of a person to live in the house of another without prejudice to the property.
2. It differed from a usufruct in this, that the usufructuary might have applied the house to any purpose, as, a store or manufactory; whereas has long been a matter of concern for Nigerian activities and communities in the oil producing and consuming regions. The Lagos disaster was business as usual. Since the late 1990s, there have been at least 10 major explosions and over 2,000 deaths associated with punctured and vandalised pipelines. In 1998 over 1,000 persons died in Jesse; more than 300 were burned alive in Warri in 2000. There have been at least three huge fires in Lagos since late 2004, one on May 12, 2006. Countless smaller events rarely reach the pages of the Nigerian press.
There are at least two important facets of the Awori story. One is what it says of the vast Nigerian slum world of which Lagos is part. Lagos has a population of 17m. Mike Davis in his new book Planet of the Slums recalls that perhaps 80-90% of the rapidly growing population of African cities - Lagos is 40 times larger than it was in 1950 - are barracked in slums of squalor, poverty and disease. The Lagos slum world defies description; its operations remain a mystery. In Ajegunle, one of its vast swamp shanty towns, 1.5m people inhabit 8 sq km.
In a New Yorker article, George Packer describes the city as a burning garbage heap, populated by armies of scavengers. Gov. Bola Tinubu of Lagos saw in the charred remains of Abule Egba, "the shame of our nation". The pipe had been tapped on Christmas Eve and by the early morning there were widespread reports of two fuel tankers being filled in the presence of local police.
About 10-15% of Nigerian oil is stolen by "oil syndicates". Impoverished Lagosians who scoop fuel into jerry cans are low-level feeders in a vast ecosystem of crime which reaches to the highest levels of government and military. Across the Niger Delta oilfields well-connected military and government officials have made use of disenfranchised and unemployed youths to orchestrate the tapping of major pipelines and to run the oil barges through the tangle of creeks in the Delta to offshore loading stations - all under the watchful eye of the Navy and coast guard. This oil mafia controls a black economy worth billions of dollars annually.
Angry youths, many from marginalised ethnic minorities in the Niger Delta largely excluded from the federal oil income allocation process, have control of key sections of the trade in stolen oil. Bunkering bun·ker·ing
The act or process of supplying a ship with fuel. finances purchase of large caches of weapons for a series of armed insurgencies across the oilfields. The movement for resource control and self-determination which sprang to life in the late 1980s in the non-violent movement of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni people, by the late 1990s had morphed into militias - the Niger Delta Vigilante The Niger Delta Vigilante (NDV) is an armed militia group in Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The NDV is led by Ateke Tom. The group is composed primarily by ethnic Ijaws from in and around Port Harcourt and their main goal is controlling the area's vast oil resources. , The Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, etc. - for whom the alliance of a corrupt oil state and unaccountable oil firms are the object of an armed and violent struggle.
Many insurgents Insurgents, in U.S. history, the Republican Senators and Representatives who in 1909–10 rose against the Republican standpatters controlling Congress, to oppose the Payne-Aldrich tariff and the dictatorial power of House speaker Joseph G. Cannon. began as thugs hired by oil-fuelled politicians in the elections of 1999 and 2003 but their insertion into the bunkering trade has granted them autonomy and military capability to conduct a guerrilla war in the swamps and creeks of the Niger Delta. In late 2005 a hitherto unknown militia - the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta ("MEND") is a militant indigenous people's movement dedicated to armed struggle against the exploitation and oppression of the people of Niger Delta and the degradation of the natural environment by foreign multinational (MEND) - took a number of oil worker hostages and subsequently mounted massive attacks on oil sites of Chevron, Agip, Shell and state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp (NNPC NNPC Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation
NNPC Nigerian National Petroleum Company ). By end-2006 MEND had grown a point where some firms have begun evacuating expatriate staff.
Turbulence on the Nigerian oilfields dates back to the 1990s and escalated when President Obasanjo came to power in 1999. NNPC estimates that between 1998 and 2003, there were 400 vandalisations on company facilities each year. Seven years of insurgencies have cost the government $6.8 bn in lost oil revenue. The Niger Delta is almost ungovernable. In a 2005 report, Amnesty International Amnesty International (AI,) human-rights organization founded in 1961 by Englishman Peter Benenson; it campaigns internationally against the detention of prisoners of conscience, for the fair trial of political prisoners, to abolish the death penalty and torture of concluded that the Nigerian security forces still operated with impunity. The government, it claimed, had failed to protect local communities while providing security to the oil industry.
As Nigeria prepares for the elections of April 2007, the grave danger is that buoyant oil prices will fund a huge electoral war chest for politicians too willing to deploy restive youth for their purposes. In the background stands the US military. According to Gen. James Jones, in testimony offered to the US Senate Armed Services Committee The term Armed Services Committee could refer to:
Waters under the sovereign jurisdiction of a nation or state, including both marginal sea and inland waters. - admitted that US ships were patrolling offshore Nigerian oilfields within the 200 mile limit: "We are concerned for Nigeria and we want to help her protect the region from the hands of the maritime criminal... the US and any good nation want a safe coast for countries who are supplying their energy and that is why we are often there. So there is nothing to fear for Nigeria".
US interests have met up with European strategic concerns in the region and have established the Gulf of Guinea Noun 1. Gulf of Guinea - a gulf off the southwest coast of Africa
Bioko - an island in the Gulf of Guinea that is part of Equatorial Guinea
Atlantic, Atlantic Ocean - the 2nd largest ocean; separates North and South America on the west from Europe and Africa Energy Security Strategy. By December, 2005 the US ambassador and the CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. of NNPC had agreed to establish four special committees to co-ordinate action against trafficking in small arms in the Niger Delta, bolster maritime and coastal security in the region, promote community development and poverty reduction, and combat money laundering The process of taking the proceeds of criminal activity and making them appear legal.
Laundering allows criminals to transform illegally obtained gain into seemingly legitimate funds. and other financial crimes.
The oil majors facing shut in of 600,000 b/d have been concerned. A senior maritime analyst at the US Office of Naval Research The U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR), headquartered in Arlington, Virginia (Ballston), is the office within the U.S. Department of the Navy that coordinates, executes, and promotes the science and technology programs of the U.S. , revealed to participants at a March 2006 conference at Fort Lauderdale: "Shell led a group of oil companies in an approach to the US military for protection of their facilities in the Delta", and warned that "Nigeria may have lost the ability to control the situation".
A new International Policy Report (2007) published by the Centre for International Policy in Washington, DC, discusses the militarisation n. 1. militarization.
Noun 1. militarisation - act of assembling and putting into readiness for war or other emergency: "mobilization of the troops"
militarization, mobilization, mobilisation of the Gulf of Guinea. The report is entitled "Convergent Interests: US Energy Security and the "Securing" of Nigerian Democracy".
It was reported on Jan. 19, 2007, that most foreign missions in Nigeria had requested to be given a greater role in the security of their nationals working in the petroleum industry in Nigeria. South Korean and Chinese nationals had been taken hostage and set free after protracted pro·tract
tr.v. pro·tract·ed, pro·tract·ing, pro·tracts
1. To draw out or lengthen in time; prolong: disputants who needlessly protracted the negotiations.
2. negotiation which involved the Nigerian embassies of the affected nationals. Investigations revealed that not less than 15 foreign missions offered mandatory security advise about the situation in the Niger Delta to their nationals working there. The affected embassies have created a Niger Delta Security Desk. The embassies had notified the Nigerian authorities of this initiative with a request that henceforth its security officials be allowed active oversight in the assessment and exposure to security risk in the Niger Delta by its nationals. One of the diplomats from these states was on Jan. 19 quoted as saying: "...this initiative is one of the measures that is now in place to minimise exposure to the security risk in the Niger Delta. It does not in any way imply that we want to do the job of the Nigerian security apparatus but we are only concerned about how to protect our nationals from the risk of working in a region that is gradually spinning out of control".