Friday, August 15, 2008

Email to me claims to have information about what is going on in Nigeria


I got an email this morning from a person named David Evoh with the following information: he is (or claims to be)
leader of Ijaw Youth in the Niger Delta, in Nigeria, with this Email address: "ndyouths at yahoo.com".

He gave a link to this site for the Urhobo Historical Society, here. McCafee checks this site as OK. There are a number of articles about the relationship of oil companies to Nigeria and the various peoples. The articles claim that rebels can cause disruption to oil production without major damage. There are vigorous complaints against ExxonMobil in one piece, both with regard to people and the environment. The visitor would have to read all of these and judge for herself. There is also a long essay on the activities of the World Bank. Some activists accuse the World Bank of employing “economic hit men” (as with the book by John Perkins in the August 2008 reviews on my books blog) to cause nations to become indebted, and then maintain that the debts are being paid through gasoline prices.

The writer of the email opens the email with the self-identification: "We are democrats from the Niger Delta Nigeria suffered by the federal government.” The email also made this ambiguous but possibly alarming statement: “We hold keys to Major crude oil rigs/wells in our region despite the presence of multinational companies here. We need your mutual cooperation urgently.” I’m not sure what a blogger is supposed to do about it! (Certainly, do not respond to it!) The meaning may be unclear because the writer does not know idiomatic English and expresses himself with odd choices of words. (It’s not the usual “Nigerian scam” that we often hear about -- or is it?) But the website does appear to make legitimate arguments about what is going on in Nigeria, even if these facts on the site could be challenged by other parties to the issue.

I suppose this bizarre email (even given the circumstances) should be investigated. I have passed it on to a larger news organization.

A more mainstream source of information on the oil industry and its problems in Nigeria appears in National Geographic in February 2007, "Curse of the Black Gold: Hope and Betrayal in the Niger Delta: The Niger Delta holds some of the world's richest oil deposits, yet Nigerians living there are poorer than ever, violence is rampant, and the land and water are fouled. What went wrong?" by Tim O'Neill, with photographs by Ed Kashi, link here.

Update: September 22, 2008

An Energy Wire from the "Newsweek" subdirectory in The Washington Post by David Ignatius and CNN's Fareed Zakaria, as well as Steve Mufson, continues the subject of the "Nigerian Oil Threat" with a discussion of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), link here. There is a claim that daily oil production in Nigeria has dropped by 280000 barrels a day since Sept. 13, which may help explain the run-up today. It has hit Shell's earnings hard, particularly.

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