17 July 2008

Another Vietnam?

What is all this talk of Britain sending "advisers" to the Niger Delta? What is all this talk from the Nigerian President about "Blood Oil"?

At the most recent G8 summit in Japan the President Yar'Adua reached out to Gordon Brown to ask for assistance in quelling the violence in the Niger Delta, and creating an orderly environment for the oil industry. His requests were quickly answered by the UK leader. That government will be sending "a training and advisory support package which could help improve Nigerian capability to improve security in the Delta." In other words, military advisers. Last I remembered, this usually constitutes and connotes some sort of shadowy counter-insurgency force.

Nevertheless, Yar'Adua confirmed to his UK counterparts, "his commitment to a peace process in the Niger Delta, which addresses the need for reconciliation between all parties and can deliver improved developments across the region."

How can this be possible when you are attempting to further militarize the Delta? How can a Nigerian president allow the British, of all people, former colonizers and exploiters of the country, to come in and "protect" natural resources? This is disgraceful. We all know what this military advice is about, and Mr. Brown even said it himself when he stated, "the security arrangements that we're discussing to be done jointly are very important to the future not just of Nigeria and peace there but also to the world energy market."

While Yar'Adua was at the G8 summit, he also urged the world community to create a vetting system, similar for that which exists for African diamonds, to ensure that oil coming from Nigeria is not the product of bunkering or hijacking. Putting the words Blood and Oil next to one another seems to be a pretty fitting description of the entire oil industry in Nigeria since its inception. People are dying in the Niger Delta, whether directly or indirectly, not because of the insurgency but because of militarization and environmental degradation. All of the oil from the Niger Delta is "Blood Oil", not just that which has been bunkered and illegally sold.

Once the UK arrives with its "advisers" there is going to be quite a bit more blood in Nigeria's oil. We must demand that this stop immediately.

reference articles
AFP
BBC
Reuters

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