Plundering Leads to Violence
|December 31, 2006||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Plundering Leads to Violence
Increased Instability in Nigeria
Surrounded by poor people, rich corporations extract oil at a great private profit. That is not right, and we are not surprised to see that the plunderers face reprisals. There is a better way. Natural resource values should benefit all people.
This report comes from our friends at www.pinr.com
The release of four foreign oil workers on January 30 by a previously unknown militia group underscores the chronic instability in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
The oil workers were kidnapped by militants at Shell’s offshore EA oil rig on January 11. While the group that claimed responsibility for the kidnappings — the Movement for the Emancipation of the People of the Niger Delta — is previously unknown, it has links to prominent local leader Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, the imprisoned leader of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (N.D.P.V.F.). Indeed, the kidnappers initially demanded the release of Dokubo-Asari in exchange for the hostages’ freedom; the kidnappers also demanded that Shell pay local communities US$1.5 billion to compensate them for the environmental pollution caused by the oil company.
The kidnappings were part of a string of escalated attacks against multinational oil companies in Nigeria. For instance, on January 28, approximately 20 militants in speedboats attacked the riverside offices of Daewoo, an oil servicing company. Authorities reported that the militants stole over US$200,000 and wounded several people. Also in January, 30 militants attacked the offices of Italy’s Agip Oil Company in Port Harcourt, killing more than a handful of people and stealing some US$30,000.
The escalating incidents have affected world oil prices, increasing the price of oil due to fears over market shortages. Indeed, the recent attacks in Nigeria have cut the country’s daily oil exports by almost ten percent.
Expect attacks against multinational oil companies and government security forces in the Niger Delta to continue. The Ijaw population in the Niger Delta lives in extreme poverty despite the oil wealth that surrounds them. The failure of the government in Abuja to effectively address the concerns of the Ijaw mean that militias will continue to organize and mount small-scale operations against oil and government interests.
Furthermore, the arrest of N.D.P.V.F. leader Dokubo-Asari will continue to spark violent incidents by his followers. As PINR foreshadowed in November 2005, “One indicator to watch is the November 10  trial of Dokubo-Asari since the outcome could result in the escalation of violence by N.D.P.V.F. members against government security forces and Western energy interests in the Niger Delta.”
The Amazing Niger Delta Fund Inititative
Natural Resource Justice Would Solve Nigerian Oil Conflict
Natural Resource Revenues — Key to Global Justice
What are your views? Share your opinions with The Progress Report!