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BP Oil Spill: Who Wears the Shoes Knows Where They Hurt

BP Oil Spill: Who Wears the Shoes Knows Where They Hurt

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Published by: Protect Florida's Beaches on Jul 09, 2010
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BP Oil Spill: Who Wears the Shoes Knows Where They Hurt
The Ogoni Children Cultural and Fundamental Rights Council (OCAFAC) extend its solidarity to the people of the Gulf of Mexico for the degradation they face. We're appalled by the yet to be quantified damages and losses caused by BritishPetroleum's (BP) avoidable and reckless oil spill.OCAFAC can feel the pains and loses since Ogoni had suffered and still suffering environmental degradation. It's aproblem caused by BP's sister company $hell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC). Not only has Ogonifelt these pains and loses, its people have been killed for standing up to protest $hell's negative actions or impact on thesociety and environment.On like America, in Nigeria, when oil spills are reported $hell and others claims they're caused by sabotage. Whereasoutdated equipments and corroded pipelines have been primarily responsible. These companies keep claiming militants,etc. sabotaged their pipes, but forgot that oil mining started in the region in 1956-while militancy came between 2004,2006 and up to 2009. Currently, pockets of militant groups are still available.Militancy came after Ken Saro-Wiwa and 8 others were killed by $hell and the government of Nigeria for campaigningagainst their methods of operations and stopping the flow of oil. Remember, it's BP that started mining in Nigeria (1956)and metamorphosed into $hell Petroleum Development Corporation and later SPDC. They therefore have the samedeadly tract records. These records are such that profit, recklessness is preferred over environmental safety and thehealth cum good of the host communities.Interestingly, the same recklessness, which pushed Saro-Wiwa to action, that he formed the Movement for the Survivalof the Ogoni People (MOSOP) in 1990, has impacted America. The Gulf is, however, fortunate because the media andObama's administration have channeled their energies on BP. This media concentration and service is what isdeliberately ignored when similar spills occur in Ogoni/Niger delta of Nigeria. Americans, except some activists and fewpeople of good conscience also downplay the Nigeria's predicaments. And, the reason is that they're the mostbeneficiaries of the oil from this region. As it stands in the Gulf, America may learn the same lessons and the reasonsSaro-Wiwa led his people against $hell. This is because who wears the shoes knows where they hurt.Meanwhile, American media have for decades knowingly and deliberately ignored life threatening situations of oil spills,gas flaring and other double standards applied by foreign oil companies in Nigeria and Africa in general. They do this inthe same vein and intent as inequitable reporting, which misinforms the American public and stereotype, stigmatizeAfricans. And the intent is to protect, promote and project these oil killer companies as lords and saviors to the blackworld whereas they are polluters. In short, the media have poisoned the minds of most African-Americans about theirancestral home with negative portraits.The irony is, when similar spills and degradation occur in Texas, Alaska, etc. and the alarming disaster in the Gulf, themedia no doubt makes the call. Not only have they covered the spills on minute basis, they've also demanded the truthof BP. Citizen's activism and the activist president of the United States of America have been catalytic in making BP workharder to try to contain the spill and also set aside $20 billion in four years for claims caused by its misguided damages.And when the dust settles the escrow money might even be more than what has been agreed. The media andgovernment are prepared to hold BP accountable. In Nigeria, 50 years old spills are yet to be clean. Little or nothing of adequate compensation is paid, but threats, repression and extrajudicial killings.
 What the media, Obama and American citizens have done in the Gulf is what I recommend for the world, the Nigeriangovernment and people in particular, when the next spills that will occur soon in Ogoni/Niger delta emerge. TheNigerian media is handicapped and most of them could be easily bribed like government officials/politicians. Therefore,Western media (America's in particular) should wade in for the sake of our common humanity when such spill comes.Ogoni/Niger delta people, especially children have suffered untold hardships. These results from the incessant spills,excessive gas flares and gross human rights violations committed against parents and some children. The peasants havebeen oppressed for nonviolently protesting environmental racism and economic strangulation by $hell, Chevron,ExxonMobil, Agip, and numerous others. Of course, the Nigerian government which runs a joint venture with these oilmajors laid the foundation for its citizens to be disrespected, abuse and killed by soldiers paid by these companies. Thegovernment is indeed the first culprit of these crimes against the weak and disadvantaged of Niger delta.Saro-Wiwa led the Ogoni people on a protest march against $hell Oil in 1993. He exposed a spill that took place in EbubuEleme (Ogoni) in 1970 and is yet to be cleaned. The fact that $hell and other companies haven't conductedEnvironmental Assessment, Social and HealthImpact Studies, since crude oil was discovered in 1956 at Oloibri, was also exposed. Gas flares of deadly proportions andthe reckless laying of high pressured pipelines at close proximity of human habitation were revealed to the world.Ogonis/Niger delta gained and kept this consciousness to the disappointment of $hell, Nigerian government andconspirators such as American and British governments. The result was the aforementioned murder by hanging of Saro-Wiwa and 8 other Ogoni rights activists on Nov. 10, 1995.Former President Bill Clinton had the opportunity to save these innocent men. But because America buys more than 40percent of oil stolen by the Nigerian government from the defenseless Ogonis and Niger deltans, they're allowed to die.American and other Western oil companies were protected. Clinton was lobbied to impose economic sanctions on themilitary government of Nigeria to halt the hanging he refused. Rather, a so-called "diplomatic sanction" was enforced.This weak sanction allowed America to continue the purchase of cheap and best grade oil from Nigeria. Insofar as oilcontinues to run from the veins of Niger deltans to the pumps in America Niger deltans can die-who cares! Oil hasbecome ticker than blood; what a lesson!Finally, the sad experiences of Ogoni and the careless and capitalistic attitude of the American government which alsosupply arms to Nigeria and train its military, brought about militancy in Nigeria. These militant groups had fought andstill fighting for environmental and economic justice alongside nonviolent groups. The oil-rich region of Nigeria needs justice, development and peace. They seek to be self-determined like the federating states in America and so forth. Thatis control their economic resources and environment in alliance with the central government. America and the largerworld should therefore be compassionate by resisting the sponsorship of mass killings (via investments in oil) resultingfrom oil struggles.If any conscience still exists, America should focus on extracting more oil from its waters or shores to feel the same thingthose in Nigeria are feeling. It could also invest in alternative sources of energy for the sake of the people in the Gulf andbeyond. We know arriving at safe and alternative energy sources would take time. Yet, the Gulf experience is a wake upcall. If something concrete is started now, and with the promises today's technology holds success will come swiftly andin full panoply.We must start now to reduce our foreign oil consumption and extract more in at home. This must nevertheless be done

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