Shell Oil And The Exploitation Of Nigeria

2206 words - 9 pages


Shell Oil and the Exploitation of Nigeria

     Nigeria has been a country in political turmoil for a long time. The country was created in 1914 under British colonial rule and at that time it was considered a protectorate. It was not until 1960 that Nigeria received independence from the United Kingdom. One of Nigeria's problems politically is that it has over three hundred different ethnic groups. The three largest of these are the Hausa-Fulani, Igbo, and Yoruba. At the time of the independence of Nigeria it was split up into three states with each state being under the control of one of the major ethnic groups. The natural resources of the other 297 ethnic groups were exploited for the major three groups, creating a situation of political unrest. This resulted in a military coup d'etat throwing out the Prime Minister and replacing him with a major Igbo General. The minorities wanted a political restructuring through states and they won. There was an Igbo secession from Nigeria forming Biafra in Eastern Nigeria including the Ogoni territory. A three-year civil war broke out after this over the natural resources held by the minorities especially the oil in the Ogoni territory. After this Nigeria went through several forms of Military governments and a public election in 1993 was considered null and void by Gen. Babangida, he was taken over by Gen. Abacha in 1993 who was to be by far the most horrid dictator of Nigeria yet.
     The plight of the Ogoni people has been heard around the world, they number around 500,000 and live in an area very rich in crude oil. Shell and other companies have drilling operations in the Ogoni territory but Shell is by far the major extractor of oil in the region. Do to the drilling and spillage of massive amounts of oil the ecosystem of the Ogoni people has been devastated. It resembles a wasteland with little to no vegetation and wildlife being very scarce. Furthermore the Ogoni people have received almost nothing for the all the oil exported from their land. An estimated 10 billion dollars a year is earned for the Nigerian government most of which is embezzled by high ranking officials or put into the military to keep the population oppressed. One man led his people to stand out against the tyranny named Ken Saro-Wiwa a native Ogoni who had gone off and became educated and very successful, but he came back to fight for the right of his people. He formed MOSOP(Movement for survival of Ogoni people) and vociferously spoke out against the government of Nigeria. He wrote a Bill of Rights calling for protection of the environment in the Ogoni region and basic rights for the Ogoni people. His Bill of Rights was completely ignored by the government. He went on to do peaceful demonstrations against Shell's oil plants where special police forces came in and killed and injured many Ogoni people. In May 1995 Ken Sao-Wiwa and his close MOSOP associates were accused of the...

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