Sunday, July 18, 2010

Why is the media silent on Nigeria's almost weekly oil spills? Africans don't matter?

It was hard to believe BP when it announced oil had stopped gushing into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, July 15. It had taken 87 days. There was relief but little jubilation: it will take many years to clean the shores and the birds, and for the sea to begin to repair itself from the onslaught of poisonous oil. Surely we can no longer call it a “spill”—it seems too light and trite a word.

What’s even more troubling is that in Nigeria, the country that has arguably suffered most from oil drilling, oil “accidents”—large and small—occur almost weekly, and we hear little about it. A lethal combination of sloppiness, corruption, weak regulation, and lack of accountability has meant that each year since the 1960s, there has been a spill the size of the Exxon Valdez’s into the Niger Delta. Large purple slicks cover once fertile fields, and rivers are clogged with oil leaked decades ago. It has been called the “black tide”: a stain of thick, gooey oil that has oozed over vast tracts of land and poisoned the air for millions of Africans. In some areas fish and birds have disappeared: the swamps are silent. More...

Don't miss:

  1. The Gulf oil spill: are you proud of this shit BP?
  2. Nigerian village curses the day the oil men came...
  3. The Gulf oil spill is big news, but how about those in Nigeria that have been going on for 50 years?
  4. Indians furious with Obama over BP and Bhopal "double standards"

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