In a Land of Plenty
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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