Oil Turmoil (March 1999)
This exposée takes you to the heart of the corporate/tribal struggle. Nigeria’s impoverished oil-producing communities are outraged.
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They see few returns from the myriad of oil wells that pollute their villages. We see forests destroyed by disastrous oil spills, whilst Shell provides evidence to suggest many spills are sabotage, in order to gain compensation. But time has run out for the beleaguered multi-national: Ijaw youths issued the ‘Kaiama declaration’, demanding Shell leave their land by December. The deadline was ignored and the Ijaw have relaunched a new bout of forced closures and hostage-taking. Shell is powerless to defend itself without calling in the corrupt and vicious army. Wounded youths lie in crude hospitals, victims of the army’s defence of the flow stations they fail to seize. Felix Tuodolo, signatory of the Kaiama declaration, says the crisis will continue: ‘We will keep going down to those flow stations. Our blood will flow.’ He claims the Ijaw remain unarmed, but reports of armed youths training in the bush spell out a bleak future. Shell says it is ready to negotiate, but it may be too little, too late.
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