The Ogoni and their fight against pollution have long been a stumbling block for the Nigerian authorities.
The oil drilling, which in its time was started without the blessing of the locals, still takes place over the heads of the Ogonians who inhabit the delta. The environmental struggle, and in particular the fight against the environmentalists, has been brutal and ruthless. Some attempts have been made to get the oil companies to pay compensation and to force them to clean up after their own pollution. So far without any significant results. In the autumn of 2016, a group of ogonier tried to sue the oil company Shell in a British court, but the case was eventually rejected and must be brought in Nigeria instead. Thus, the outcome is given, many environmental activists believe. They claim that the corruption is so great that the oil giant is guaranteed to win in a Nigerian courtroom.
5: Small steps in the right direction
Although the Ogoni’s struggle for justice may seem hopeless, considering who they have to fight against, there are signs of improvement. Norwegian Erik Solheim, who heads the UN’s environmental organization UNEP, says that he is impressed with what is now happening to clean up after the pollution in the Niger Delta. Solheim believes that the local legislation is better than it was. In addition, both Shell and the Nigerian authorities have promised to allocate money for clean-up. As recently as August this year, the news came that Shell will spend 10 million dollars on the clean-up . It is too early to say whether the effort is in proportion to the problems, but the former SV leader firmly believes that we are now seeing the beginning of an improvement in the livelihoods of those living in the Niger Delta.
6: Norway’s role in Nigeria
Nigeria is a significant trading partner for Norway in terms of exports of fish and assignments and equipment for offshore oil operations. Norwegian Statoil works with oil extraction off the coast of Nigeria, as a country located in Africa according to localcollegeexplorer.com.
Norway has no development assistance agreements with the Nigerian authorities, but provides assistance for work with child and maternal health, democracy, human rights and good governance.
The assistance program Oil for Development (OF) has since 2005 contributed to the transfer of Norwegian knowledge and expertise on petroleum activities to developing countries with oil and gas resources. Nigeria is not part of the Ofu cooperation today, but knowledge of the tragedy in the Niger Delta has a transfer value for several of the Ofu countries with which Norway cooperates.
The Petroleum Fund owns shares worth approximately NOK 32 billion in Shell and more than NOK 7 billion in ENI. This makes us a significant owner in both companies.
The shareholding in Shell is the Petroleum Fund’s fourth largest investment, which has made the fund the third largest shareholder in the company. In addition, the Petroleum Fund has a significant stake in BlackRock, Shell’s second largest shareholder.
The Norwegian Society for Nature Conservation believes that Shell and ENI’s activities in Nigeria violate the Petroleum Fund’s ethical guidelines.
Facts about Nigeria
- Area: 923 000 km 2
- Population: 191 million (2017)
- Annual population growth: 2.4% (2017)
- Life expectancy: 53.4 years, K: 54.5 and M: 52.4
- Degree of urbanization: approx. 50% live in cities
- Literacy: 59.6% (M: 69.2, K 49.7%)
- Fertility / children per woman: 5.3
- Value creation by sector: Agriculture 31%, industry 43% and services 26%
- Employment by sector: Agriculture 70%, industry 10 and services 20%
- Percentage of population living on less than $ 2 a day: 70%
- Ethnic groups: A total of about 250; the largest are hausa and fulani 29%, youruba 21%, igbo 18% and ljaw 10%
- Religion: islam ca. 50%, Christianity about 40%, natural religions and local religions about 10%
- Official language: English
- Federation divided into 36 states as well as the capital Abuja.
Several activists from the peaceful people’s movement “Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People” were killed by the authorities during their protests during the 1990s. The most famous of these was Ken Saro-Wiwa, who along with eight others was executed on November 10, 1995. They had led peaceful demonstrations against the oil business in the Niger Delta. Many believe that the Nigerian authorities were pressured by Shell to execute the activists. Shell has disclaimed any responsibility for the executions, but entered into a settlement in 2009 and paid $ 15.5 million in compensation to the survivors.
Nnimmo Bassey is one of the founders of the Nigerian environmental organization, Environmental Rights Action (ERA).
Nnimmo, and ERA’s work is mainly related to the environmental damage from the oil industry in Africa. Under the campaign title “Keep the oil in the soil”, ERA collaborates with local communities affected by oil extraction and to influence national and international authorities.
In 1998 , Environmental Rights Action won the Sofie Prize and in 2009 Nnimmo was mentioned as one of TIME magazines’ ” Hero of the Environment” . In 2012, Nnimmo was awarded the Rafto Prize .