Jan 30 2012

Mass Protests, Violence, & Oil Spills, Rock Nigeria

William Gregory Ock, a US citizen working in Nigeria was released last Friday after a week in captivity. He was held hostage by gunmen demanding a ransom of $333,000 in the country’s volatile, but oil rich, Niger Delta. The January 20th kidnapping came on the same day as a wave of coordinated bombings and shootings racked the northern city of Kano, killing over 180 people. The Islamist group, Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for the attack, which was meant as retribution for the alleged torture of its members by the government. Boko Haram has been active since 2003 in Northern Nigeria, an impoverished predominantly Muslim region that is far less developed than the South. The growing instability of Nigeria’s north prompted President Goodluck Jonathan to announce the possibility of a dialogue between his government and Boko Haram. Friday’s announcement follows the partial restoration last week of a government oil subsidy that was cut on January 1st, which caused oil prices to skyrocket from $1.70 a gallon to $3.50 a gallon, triggering a rise in the price of food and other necessities. The partial subsidy brought the price of fuel down to $2.27 a gallon and came after eight days of strikes, widespread popular discontent, and trade union plans to halt oil production. Meanwhile, concerns over the environmental impact of two recent oil spills in Nigeria continue. In December 40 thousand barrels of oil spilled in the Bonga oil field off the Nigerian coast at a facility operated by the Royal Dutch Shell Company, making it Nigeria’s worst spill in since 1998. Also, just this month on January 16th, a fire broke out on a Chevron oil rig in the Funiwa field that, according to a Chevron official, will likely burn for another thirty days.

GUEST: Aniedi Okure is Executive Director of Africa Faith and Justice Network, a community of advocates for responsible U.S. relations with Africa

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Mass Protests, Violence, & Oil Spills, Rock Nigeria”

  1. Joel Schoron 30 Jan 2012 at 1:55 pm

    According to reports on Nigerian Television Authority, the president has blessed several new Naval ships including a destroyer. They proclaim as the mission of these new naval vessels to combat “Economic Sabotage”. Are not Chevron’s actions in spilling oil into the Niger Delta and the oil rig fires such sabotage?

  2. Tess Jordanon 31 Jan 2012 at 9:52 am

    Oil Spill Eater II is the solution to the cleanup in the Niger Delta. It works almost like a miracle and it’s non toxic.