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Nigeria: The Curse Of Oil

Documentary photo story posted on 3 August 2009 by John Densky

On the streets of lagos.

As of early 2009, Nigeria had an estimated 36.2 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, mainly along the country’s Niger River Delta and offshore in the Bight of Benin, the Bight of Bonny, and the Gulf of Guinea. Despite the enormous wealth of oil 71% of the population lives on less than $1 a day, and 92% live on less than $2 a day.

Transferring fuel from a crippled tanker at the bus stop.

Transferring fuel from a crippled tanker at the bus stop.

Royal Dutch Shell reported a profit of 27.6 billion dollars for the 2007 fiscal year. Oil has generated an estimated $600 billion since the 1960’s for Nigeria. Today the country remains amongst the top 20 poorest countries in the world.

Settlement in Ojota.

Settlement in Ojota.

According to the World Bank, around 80% of Nigeria’s oil and natural gas revenues accrue to just 1% of the population.

Settlement on Lagos mainland.

Settlement on Lagos mainland.

Currently, Nigeria has one of the highest rates of child mortality in the world. While child mortality has improved in recent times in neighbouring West African countries such as Republic of Benin and Ghana, little by way of improvement has been observed in Nigeria

Life in the settlements.

Life in the settlements.

On the road to Owode.

On the road to Owode.


Physicians (density per 1 000 population) 0.28 (WHS 2007)°

Nurses (density per 1 000 population) 1.03 (WHS 2007)°

Midwives (density per 1 000 population) 0.67 (WHS 2007)°

Community health workers (density per 1 000 population) 0.91 (WHS 2007)^

Births attended by skilled health personnel (%) rural 27.1 (WHS 2007)°

Births attended by skilled health personnel (%) urban 58.8 (WHS 2007)°

Ojota

Ojota

Corruption.

So rampant is corruption in Nigeria that the list of those recently accused of engaging in bribery includes a U.S. Congressman (indicted after $90,000 of marked money was found in tinfoil-wrapped bundles in his freezer) and a Fortune 500 energy company (then run by soon-to-be Vice President Dick Cheney). Indeed, the Berlin-based group Transparency International has consistently ranked Nigeria among the world’s most corrupt countries.

It has been often reported that over 40% of the country’s oil revenues is lost to corruption. Most Nigerians would laugh at this figure. In an interview with a regional police official I was asked to name a country more corrupt. When it became obvious that I could not, the official informed me that the prevailing attitude amongst the NPF (Nigerian Police Force) was if you can’t beat them, join them. A recent public survey placed the NPF at the top of the most corrupt institutions in Nigeria.

Nigeria is run by an elite of millionaires so corrupt and ineffective they do not deliver even basic services such as running water and electricity. Despite this, bills for said services never fail to arrive. Disenchantment is rife, not least among the 85 per cent of the nation’s graduates who are unemployed. In such circumstances extreme solutions have their attractions.

The Nigerian Taliban provides a very exciting lead in to the events of the past week in Nigeria. Sadly though most of the articles fail to address the direct link between the corruption, grinding poverty and rise of radical and desperate ideas. The uprising in Nigeria’s north has more to do with the intense level of desperation and complete lack of faith in the government and security forces, than it does with the Taliban and al Qua’ida. Without very serious efforts to counter the rampant corruption and alleviate the poverty gripping almost 90% of the populous, Nigerians will face a very unstable future.

Rural Ogun state.



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3 Comments »

  1. There are no oil-cursed politicians, governments or policymakers… there are only oil-cursed citizens.

    As a Venezuelan my heart cries out reading and seeing here of the sufferings of my fellow oil-cursed citizens. Any country where the government can be independently wealthy and does not need the citizens is as cursed as it can be.

    I am aware of the good intentions of organizations such as Open Society and EITI. Unfortunately since they believe they can help to manage the overconcentration of resources in the hands of a few they are just playing into the hands of the oil-autocrats.

  2. Fantastic website. A lot of useful info here. I’m sending it to several buddies ans also sharing in delicious. And certainly, thanks on your sweat!

  3. kitty’s picture (above). She is adlraboe and definitely this should not have happened to her. To the person who saved her I thank you and commend you for being so humane and loving. I have had cats in my life and have saved them from very bad situations. 1 was left to starve to death outside, 1 was so thin it was very close to death, another one was very badly beaten. I took everyone of them into my home and cared for them and watched over them and gave them loving care and they healed. Certain people told me to give them up or have them euthenized. Well i have a conscience and i adore animals and i did not listen to these people. Even though they are grown now and are healthy and thriving I still call them my babies and my loving angels. The little kitty above and the ones I took in deserve all the love they can get. How dare people treat animals like a piece of garbage and cast them out into all kinds of deplorable weather, situations where they cannot defend themselves, they starve and are sometimes beaten, hit by cars, etc. People get animals as gifts for Christmas, birthdays etc. And then when they find out they cannot take on responsibility for the poor animals, these poor poor babies are cast aside, euthanized left on the streets, drowned. I would like to see these people live for 2-3 days in situations that these animals suffer, no water, no food, feeeling abandoned, being abused, just cast aside like a piece of garbage, tortured, scared, lonely etc. and see how they feel. BTW dogs goe through this horrendous treatment as well. What is it going to take for our government officials to wake up and help animals and pass severe laws on animals abuse, prison sentences to people who do this to these precious animals. There are laws in the USA against animal abuse, Animal cops, jail time, etc. Also, what about getting these puppy and animals mills abolished and severe sentences given to those who run them?????? What is going on in our society when an animal has to undergoe so much cruelty. Animals are precious they love us unconditionally, even when they are abused by someone they will still show that person love. Animals protect us, rescue us in bad situations. What I ask is wrong with people and society to stand by and let these abominations occur and say nothing and do nothing for these precious precious animals. I for one am not afraid to speak out and also report people who abuse animals, I am no coward. If anyone out there agrees with me please post a comment. Also the next time you see or hear of animal being abused I implore you to speak up and report this abuse to the Humane Societies wherever you are or call the police. Animals cannot stick up for themselves

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