Jola Naibi

Writer and amateur photog. I seek to inspire and inform with the words I write and share and the photos I take. I have written a book of short stories: Terra Cotta Beauty, and I am working on a lot more. Reading and writing fuel my energy. In reading, I explore this vast and diverse world, in writing, I employ my over-active imagination and address the 'what-if' questions that life often throws at us.

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In a Land of Plenty

By on March 7, 2007
© Akintunde Akinleye

The photo above by Akintunde Akinleye of Nigeria was one of the winners of the 2006 PhotoShare* Photo Contest. The description of the photo by the contest organizers seems discouraging but yet it is accurate –

Nigerians scoop up petrol after a defective oil pipe belonging to Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation burst in Iyana Ipaja neighborhood of Lagos, Nigeria. Many Nigerians have been killed or burned to death by gaseous flames emitting from petroleum products as a result of burst pipelines that run through major towns and villages both in rural and urban centers. And in most parts of the country where oil exploration occurs, the people are exposed to high risks of premature death, cancer, and respiratory illness as a result of gaseous flares

Writing in the February 2007 edition of Vanity Fair , Sebastian Junger describes the plight of the Ijaw people who are living in the middle of the Black Gold –

Malaria is rampant in these villages, as are cholera, typhoid and dysentry and almost none of the communities have safe drinking water. The people survive – barely – off local fish stocks that have been decimated by pollution from oil wells

In Tom O’Neill’s Curse of the Black Gold which appears in the February 2007 edition of the National Geographic Magazine, Isaac Asume Osuoka, director of the Social Action, Nigeria sums it up, by voicing his opinion –

I can say this. Nigeria was a much better place without oil.

Few Nigerians living in the country would disagree with him, especially since many of them find themselves victims of a resource curse. From those living in the cities who have had to endure series of disruptive episodes of fuel scarcity indicated by the visible long lines of cars at the gas stations to those whose lives have been changed for the worse as development efforts in their community are cut short by the arrival of the oil-drilling machines with the resulting environmental degradation

All this in a land of plenty

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*PhotoShare is part of the Information and Knowledge for Optimal Health Project (INFO), a reproductive health knowledge-sharing resource supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). INFO’s Photoshare service helps international nonprofits communicate health and development issues through photography.

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3 Comments
  1. Reply

    Omodudu

    March 7, 2007

    Good to know

  2. Reply

    laspapi

    March 16, 2007

    As I watched the movie, “Blood Diamond” centred around the illegal diamond industry in Sierra Leone, a villager watched the hustling Leonardo Di Capprio and said, “If they (The Western World)find oil here, we’re finished.”

  3. Reply

    Jola Naibi

    March 16, 2007

    @laspapi – I guess that’s why they call it the ‘resource curse’ those the NGM and VF stories were pretty grim!

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