Tag Archives: Nigeria

The Boko Haram Bandwagon

Founded in 2001 by flat-worlder Mohammad Yusuf, the Salafist group Boko Haram (“Western education is sinful”) morphed into a Jihadist entity and, under Abubakar Shekau‘s guidance, launched their wave of violence against Northern Nigeria circa 2009/10. Assaults have predominately targeted government staff and politicians, security personnel, Christian communities, and even Muslim religious leaders. Although initially a local insurgency concentrated in Borno State, from 2011 Boko Haram have forged international ties with a number of jihadist militias outside Nigeria including Mali, Somalia, and the Sahel — the 1,000 km biogeographic transitional belt between the Sahara desert and the Sudanian Savannas. Boko Haram’s “rapid progression from a machete-wielding mob” to a serious military contender, have seen the group accused of up to 10,000 deaths in West Africa from 2009 to date. Although claims of being a direct al-Qaeda subsidiary are disputed, Boko Haram has arguably surpassed the operational capabilities of many ‘certified’ al-Qaeda affiliates, whilst successfully applying their Salafi jihadi prognosis to local grievances and pre-existing sentiment pools.

Today, Boko Haram’s links to the militants of Mali, the Sahel, and wider afield have allowed it to obtain and dispatch regular assistance to other regional Islamists. Consequentially Boko Haram are capable of existing far beyond their original operational hub, even if the Nigerian security forces drive out influential figures like Shekau. The utility of al-Qaeda modelled pretexts by Boko Haram, to rationalise and exploit anti-government and anti-Western opinion in perimeter provinces of Northern Nigeria, have allowed them to justify their existence and ensure their longevity, whilst effectively radicalising and mobilising new recruits. This blurring of both national and convocational boundaries has been a shrewd move.

The world has seen the devastating result of itinerant Islamists militia sweeping in on the coattails of Tuareg fighters returning home from fighting for Colonel Gaddafi. The mobility of Boko Haram across the Sahel is not an encouraging sign. Nigeria’s troubles could well become the concern of other West African nations, such as Mali, Niger, perhaps even the smaller, less equipped, Muslim majority countries of Guinea, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, or Senegal. Most of these countries have woefully inadequate schooling and low educational attainment, meagre employment opportunities, high economic deprivation, artificial national boundaries, brittle democracies, and entrenched ethnic divisions. They have often experienced brutal Islamist incursions and witnessed their own people travel to Mali to join the jihad.

Although the ethnic composition of many of these countries may differ to Nigeria, Boko Haram could represent a dangerous regional rubric, or even act as the catalyst for emulative West African copycat groups to follow suit. During an awkward period in which the al-Qaeda franchise has been arguably diluted, Islamists may no longer have to join the jihadist monopoly, they may simply need to dabble in a spot of ideological property theft, get mobile, and go freelance. Figuratively and literally jumping on the bandwagon!

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Photo Credit: Marxchivist

L’Unione Africana E La Crisi In Mali

Mentre l’Unione Africana continua a radunare consensi e ad accrescere il suo potere nella lotta per la supremazia nell’area Sahariana, sembra inevitabile la formazione di un esercito indipendente, in grado di contrastare rapidamente le fazioni degli estremisti islamici.

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Quando il Mali settentrionale è finito nelle mani del Movimento Nazionale per la Liberazione dell’Azawad (MNLA), sono stati pochi gli osservatori internazionali a prestare attenzione all’accaduto. Si è trattato di un evento relativamente minore rispetto al colpo di stato che ha avuto luogo nella vicina capitale, alla guerra civile in Libia e agli attacchi degli estremisti religiosi nella Nigeria settentrionale. Ciò nonostante, i riflettori sull’area si sono accesi nel momento in cui sono emersi contrasti all’interno delle forze che avevano dichiarato l’indipendenza dell’Azawad, e il MNLA è risultato sconfitto da fazioni di estremisti islamici.

La disfatta del MNLA, arrivata dopo che questi aveva già battuto l’esercito maliano, ha rappresentato il successo più importante ottenuto delle milizie degli estremisti islamici dalla vittoria sui talebani del 2001. Infatti, se i talebani afgani si stanno convertendo sempre più in una forza moderata, l’Iraq sta ritrovando un suo equilibrio, le forze moderate governano in Africa settentrionale, e le milizie di al-Shabaab in Somalia sembrano ormai quasi esanimi, vien da chiedersi quale soggetto abbia tratto beneficio da questa sconfitta. La risposta reca il nome di Ansar Dine e del Movimento per un’Unica Jihad nell’Africa Occidentale (MOJWA), affiliato ad Al Qaeda nel Maghreb Islamico (AQIM).

Poiché la sconfitta di al-Shabaab appare un’ipotesi sempre più prevedibile a seguito della creazione di un corridoio tra le forze dell’Unione Africana (UA) a Mogadiscio, e le aree sotto il controllo dell’UA, il Mali potrebbe costituire il prossimo fronte per la lotta contro le correnti fondamentaliste islamiche in Africa.

La vittoria del movimento jihadista, ottenuta in Africa Occidentale, ha presupposto la concomitanza una serie di eventi internazionali. Tra questi, va sicuramente considerato l’aumento degli attacchi militari nella Nigeria settentrionale, che ha implicato l’ascesa di una fazione politica e militare denominata Boko Haram. Non si tratta, pertanto, di un conflitto dai caratteri meramente nazionali.  La Nigeria, infatti, è una nazione di medio reddito, ed è un paese relativamente enorme per subire inerme questo tipo di attacchi e questa resistenza da parte di un gruppo ribelle. Non stiamo parlando dell’Afghanistan o dello Yemen, ma piuttosto di uno stato geograficamente ed economicamente simile al Messico, all’Egitto e alla Turchia (secondo le stime più recenti, la Nigeria registrerà la crescita economica più significativa, a livello globale, entro i prossimi quarant’anni). In aggiunta, la popolazione della Nigeria è più ampia, e il suo PIL più elevato, rispetto ai dati registrati dagli altri 14 membri della Comunità Economica degli Stati dell’Africa Occidentale (ECOWAS) a livello aggregato. Per questa serie di ragioni non si può sottovalutare la crescita di Boko Haram avvenuta nel corso degli ultimi dieci anni.

Dopo una decade di crescita, i militanti jihadisti dell’Africa Occidentale attendevano solamente l’occasione propizia per sferrare offensive militari di un certo calibro. Tale occasione è giunta a seguito della Primavera araba. Mentre la Libia soccombeva al caos, decine di islamisti si sono arruolati nelle truppe delle tribù orientali e liberali per prendere parte alle campagne contro Gheddafi. Man mano che il conflitto proseguiva, i suddetti infiltrati si sono muniti dei  migliori armamenti. Infine, dopo l’uccisione di Gheddafi, la vittoria elettorale delle forze liberali in Libia e la conseguente smilitarizzazione, i militanti jihadisti si sono spinti dapprima in Algeria, e in seguito lungo il confine con il Mali.

Il MNLA ha beneficiato moltissimo di questo afflusso di militanti. Sebbene questi combattenti siano stati assorbiti soprattutto tra i ranghi degli estremisti dell’Ansar Dine e del MOJWA, e non dai Tuareg nazionalisti, i tre gruppi costituiscono il pericolo maggiore per l’esercito maliano. Infatti, a seguito della rivolta tuareg, avvenuta tra gennaio e marzo scorso, l’ormai logoro esercito maliano rovesciò il governo e sospese la costituzione. Poco tempo dopo il MNLA ottenne il controllo del nord del paese per essere poi tradito e sconfitto dagli alleati islamisti. Al momento il paese risulta diviso tra un nuovo governo transnazionale e gli affiliati dell’AQIM. La situazione attuale, quindi, è estremamente favorevole allo sviluppo dell’Islam estremista. I gruppi militanti, devoti ad un’interpretazione violenta della Sharia, si dedicano ad assediare aree lacerate dai conflitti, dove è più semplice reclutare uomini privati dei propri diritti, e lo stato si rivela incapace di detenere il monopolio della violenza. Ad ogni modo, nell’ultima decade l’Africa ha iniziato ad organizzarsi per far fronte a questa minaccia in continua espansione. A differenza dell’Afganistan, dove la mancanza di una potenza regionale ha implicato il coinvolgimento dell’alleanza occidentale della NATO, l’UA sta intervenendo gradualmente con l’obiettivo di evitare una disgregazione regionale per la quale gli stati interessati perderebbero il controllo dei relativi territori. In Somalia, le forze dell’UA detengono il controllo della capitale e continuano a demolire i centri di potere di al-Shabaab. Nel Mali l’ECOWAS sta agendo in supporto dell’UA, dopo la decisione di dispiegare 3.300 soldati nelle regioni settentrionali contro gli affiliati di AQIM. Il piano prevede una missione della durata di sei mesi, a partire da dicembre, con l’obiettivo di stabilire delle basi nel sud del paese, per poi procedere verso nord e il confine con l’Algeria, che a sua volta si asterrà dalle operazioni. L’Unione Europea, storico sostenitore dell’UA, si sta a sua volta organizzando per inviare centinaia di consiglieri militari, con la precipua funzione di ristabilire l’efficienza dell’esercito maliano.

L’UA sta seguendo il modello adottato dalla NATO nel periodo successivo alla guerra fredda, il quale contemplava la salvaguardia della sicurezza attraverso l’ordine. I cosiddetti “stati falliti”, in altre parole quegli stati in cui non vige un governo in grado di detenere il controllo dell’intero territorio e del monopolio della violenza, non possono essere ignorati, in quanto rappresentano dei veri e propri focolai di destabilizzazione regionale. Come la NATO e l’UE intervennero al momento del collasso dello stato iugoslavo, allo stesso modo l’UA agisce laddove i militanti islamici lottano per il controllo del territorio. Se l’intervento dell’ECOWAS nel Mali dovesse aver successo, dovremmo attenderci l’utilizzo di ulteriori forze di peacekeeping nella Nigeria settentrionale e nella Libia meridionale, in modo da contenere eventuali tensioni.

Qualsiasi resistenza all’azione militare dell’Unione Africana potrebbe essere giustificata solo per mere ragioni di reputazione: infatti, accettare la stessa implicherebbe ammettere l’incapacità di difendersi con i propri mezzi. Sia il Mali e che la Somalia non possono più permettersi tali considerazioni, diversamente da Libia, Nigeria e Sudan meridionale. In sostanza, la minaccia dell’estremismo islamico rappresenta un pericolo così rilevante da sollecitare l’intervento di tutti gli attori regionali, in favore di altri stati, una volta che la necessità di sopravvivenza di questi ultimi precede qualsiasi altra considerazione.

Molti ritengono che la guerra contro l’estremismo islamico sia una questione che riguardi prevalentemente gli Stati Uniti. Credere a tale ipotesi implica accettare l’idea che, il contesto nel quale il conflitto si sviluppa, sia quello contro i malefici imperialisti americani, rendendo ancora più semplice il reclutamento. In realtà, si tratta di una questione globale. La Russia si scontra spesso con gli islamisti nel Caucaso. Il Pakistan nelle regioni federali, la Cina nello Xinjiang, l’Egitto nella penisola del Sinai, l’Indonesia ad Aceh, la Turchia nella zona curda, l’India nel Kashmir, le Filippine nel Bangsaromo. Ogni regione confinante con il mondo islamico deve contrastare gli estremisti che sono visti come minaccia alla propria sicurezza, al proprio potere e ai diritti umani. Il problema principale della lotta al terrorismo, così come concepita dagli Stati Uniti, ha riguardato l’utilizzo unilaterale della forza, in Iraq come in Afghanistan. D’altra parte, l’UA ha perseguito una strategia multilaterale in tale lotta, coinvolgendo l’UE, l’ONU e le forze locali. Una strategia che è stata recentemente adottata anche in Afganistan, sebbene con grave ritardo.

Contestualmente allo sviluppo economico dell’Africa, che sottende ad un ruolo sempre più importante dei propri attori nazionali nell’arena internazionale, la sua battaglia contro l’Islam radicale acquisirà sempre più rilevanza. Una delle questioni che continueranno ad essere cruciali interesserà l’aumento della forza militare dell’UA, che si sta progressivamente trasformando in una forza militare permanente. Così come l’UE è stata richiamata alla coesione a causa della crisi economica, l’Unione Africana è costretta a combattere in maniera altrettanto unita contro i militanti islamici. Entrambe le potenze internazionali possono essere l’emblema di un allontanamento dalla concezione degli stati nazionali, verso amministrazioni internazionali multilaterali dotate di eserciti indipendenti, e particolarmente attente a preservare la stabilità politica. La natura di queste stesse potenze risulterà più liberale degli stati stessi, e pertanto la crescita del consenso pubblico sui diritti umani sarà in totale contrasto con la militanza islamica estremista.

Sembra inevitabile, di conseguenza,  la formazione di un esercito indipendente in seno all’Unione Africana, in grado di contrastare repentinamente fazioni come quelle di AQIM. L’Unione Europea opera già in Africa centrale in ottemperanza alla politica europea di sicurezza e difesa. Le operazioni militari che si svolgono sotto il vessillo dell’UA e dell’UE sembrano destinate ad ampliarsi, avallate dalla legittimità internazionale. Nel frattempo, sarà la stessa caratteristica violenta dell’Islam a tagliar fuori gli estremisti dalle dinamiche internazionali.

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Articolo tradotto da: Valentina Mecca

Articolo originale: The African Union & The Mali Crisis

Photo Credit: zeepkist

#5: Virginia Comolli on Boko Haram

In this episode of Debrief, Jamiesha Majevadia is joined by Virginia Comolli, Research Associate for Transnational Threats at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London.

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You can subscribe to our podcasts on iTunes.

Jamiesha & Virginia discuss the growth and trajectory of Boko Haram and the impact the group has had on Nigeria and its neighbouring countries. They also discuss the nature of suspected al Qaeda links,  the level and consequences of government responses and some predictions of the future trajectory of the group.

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Virginia is the Research Associate for Transnational Threats at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London, currently focusing on transnational organized crime and security threats in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the past, Virginia has been seconded to the UK Ministry of Justice and also worked in the private sector in security and strategic intelligence. She is the co-author of the book “Drugs, Insecurity and Failed States: the Problems of Prohibition” published earlier in 2012.

You can view her IISS profile here.

Follow Jamiesha (@Jamiesha_Maj) and Virginia (@VirginiaComolli)on twitter.

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Photo credit: ssoosay

The African Union & The Mali Crisis

As the AU continues to rally and grow in power in the face of the battle over the Saharah, an independent military able to swiftly act against extreme Islamist factions may become an inevitability.

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When northern Mali fell to the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), few international observers took note. It was a relatively small event compared to the nearby coup d’etat in the capital, the Libyan civil war and the religious extremist attacks of northern Nigeria. However, when cracks began to form between the forces which had announced Azawad a free state and the MNLA was routed by extreme Islamist factions, heads began to turn.

The defeat of the MNLA, after they had already defeated the Malian army, has been the most significant success by extremist Islamist forces since the Taliban was defeated in 2001. Afghanistan’s Taliban is turning to political moderation, Iraq is calming, moderates rule in northern Africa and al-Shabaab in Somalia is breathing its last breaths. The victors? Ansar Dine and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MOJWA), affiliates of the North-African Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

With the defeat of al-Shabaab in Somalia almost becoming a forgone conclusion after a corridor was created between African Union (AU) forces in Mogadishu and the other AU-controlled areas, Mali could be the next great front against violent Islamism in Africa.

The victory in West Africa has been a long time coming, and required a series of international events to come about. Increasing militant attacks in northern Nigeria has developed a strong and growing political and military block in the form of Boko Haram. This cannot be waved off as just another conflict in another state. Nigeria is a middle-income and relatively huge state to be facing such attacks and such strong resistance from a rebel group. This isn’t Afghanistan or Yemen, it’s a state listed in a peer group involving Mexico, Egypt and Turkey and is predicted to have the largest GDP growth in the world over the next forty years. It is larger in population and economy than all 14 other Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) members put together. The ten-year long growth of Boko Haram cannot be underestimated.

After a decade rising, West African militants only needed one opening to begin serious military advances. This opening was the Arab Spring. As Libya collapsed into chaos many Islamists joined the ranks of eastern tribes and liberals in the campaign against Gaddafi. As the conflict dragged on they became better armed and hardened by the long conflict. When Gaddafi was killed however it was liberals who won the parliament and action began to disarm the various militia groups, only increasing in the wake of the recent Benghazi attacks. So the militants moved on, across the border into Algeria and then Mali.

The MNLA benefited greatly from this influx of militants. But the fighters were absorbed into the extremist Ansar Dine and MOJWA, not the Tuareg nationalists, the three together forming a major challenge to the Mali military. The Tuareg rebellion began to make serious strides in January and by March the frustrated military overthrew the government and suspended the constitution. Shortly after the MNLA seized control of the country’s North only to be almost immediately betrayed and routed by its Islamist allies. Now the country is divided between the new transitional government and the AQIM affiliates. Extremist Islam breeds in these situations. Extreme militant groups dedicated to a brutal interpretation of Sharia law capture areas already torn by strife, where young disenfranchised men are common and where the state is unable to maintain a monopoly on violence. However, over the past decade Africa has begun to organise itself to face this ever-growing threat. Unlike in Afghanistan where a complete lack of regional power structures necessitated the involvement of the Western alliance of NATO, the AU is increasingly stepping in to avoid regional disintegration when states lose control of their territory. In Somalia AU forces control the capital and continue to demolish al-Shabaab’s power centres. In Mali the ECOWAS is acting with the support of the AU to deploy 3,300 troops against the AQIM affiliates in the north. The plan is a six-month mission from December to June establishing bases in the south and then fighting towards the north and the border with Algeria, a power which is refusing to take part. The EU, a long time ally of the AU, is organising sending hundreds of military advisers to help the Mali military back to its feet.

The AU is following the post-Cold War NATO model of security through order. Failed states where there is no government capable of controlling the full territory and monopolising violence are too dangerous a threat to ignore and more than capable of distabilising whole regions. Just like NATO and the EU stepped in to the collapsing Yugoslav state, so to is the AU stepping in where Islamic militants manage to wrest control of territory. If the ECOWAS intervention in Mali succeeds, expect to see further peacekeeping forces sent in to Northern Nigeria and southern Libya should the situations there worsen.

Any resistance to AU involvement in military affairs is entirely reputational, to accept military assistance is to admit to being unable to survive alone. Mali and Somalia have both crossed the limits where such admittance is long past, whereas Libya, Nigeria and South Sudan have not. This is what the threat of extremist Islam represents, a threat so great that all regional actors are willing to step in to states which are not their own once the pride of those states is overwhelmed by a desperate need to survive.

Many believe, after the much focused upon War on Terror, that the war against extremist Islam is a predominantly US affair. To believe such is to accept the Islamist framing of the conflict, one far easier to recruit for when regarded as a battle against the evil American imperialists. In fact it is a global affair. Russia frequently clashes with Islamists in the Caucasus. Pakistan does so in the federal regions, China in Xinjiang, Egypt in the Sinai peninsula, Indonesia in Aceh, Turkey in Kurdish areas, India in Kashmir, the Philippines in Bangsaromo. Any region bordering the Islamic world faces extremists as a threat to security, power and human rights. The reason that the US War on Terror is so focused upon is largely due to the unilateral use of force in states far away and strange to them. Where the AU succeeds with the help of EU and UN allies is in a multilateral engagement using local forces. This is a technique only recently turned to in Afghanistan and possibly too late.

As Africa continues to develop and some of its nations rise towards global prominence we will hear much more of its battle with violent Islamism. One of the issues which will develop is the growing strength of AU military forces which are undergoing a transition to a permanent AU force rather than than loose coalitions formed by constituent state militaries. Just as the EU is being forced closer by economic crisis, so to is the AU being forced together by Islamic militancy. Both international powers may well together signify a shift away from the nation states of European empires and towards multilateral international governments with independent militaries and a dedication to stability at all costs. By their very nature these powers will be more liberal than the nation states they emerge from and so develop a human rights consensus completely at odds to extreme Islamic militancy.

As the AU continues to rally and grow in power in the face of the battle over the Saharah, an independent military able to swiftly act against factions such as AQIM may become an inevitability. The EU already operates across central Africa with its independent CSDP. Operations under the flags of the AU and EU seem only set to expand with the legitimacy that such allied enterprises provide. By their violent dedication to the crescent, extreme Islamists may well be manufacturing the international order which will snuff them out.

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Photo credit: zeepkist

Is The Genie Out Of The Bottle? The Lawsuit That May Change The World

After more than 50 years of oil production the proverbial genie may finally be out of the bottle and warranted compensation looming for the thousands, if not millions of people affected by oil pollution.

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Nigeria oil spill terrorism lawsuit

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In a potentially precedent setting court case, four Nigerian farmers and Friends of the Earth Netherlands [Milieudefensie], an NGO, are suing Royal Dutch Shell, one of the largest multinationals in the world for environmental damage caused by oil spills. Shell, Nigeria’s largest producer of oil has dismissed the claims stating that domestic terrorism in the Niger delta is responsible for more than 75% of all oil spills and made repairing pipelines nearly impossible due to rampant insecurity. A ruling is expected in the case on January 30, 2013.

Contrasting Claims

Beginning in 2011 a team from the United Nations Environmental Protection Agency (UNEP) carried out a 14-month study, examining more than 200 locations and conducting detailed soil analysis at 69 contaminated sites. The report issued by UNEP details the history of oil exploration in Ogoniland, the area where the farmers are from, as “long, complex and often painful” having become “intractable” with “politics and people at loggerheads with the oil industry” and “set against a worsening situation for the communities concerned.” It continued by highlighting that there were “a significant number of locations where serious threats to human health from contaminated drinking water to concerns over the viability and productivity of ecosystems existed. In addition, pollution had gone further and penetrated deeper than many may have previously supposed.” As many as 30 years may be required for Ogoniland to fully recover from the impact of recurrent oil spills.

Citing the corruption of the Nigerian legal system as one of the main reasons for bringing the lawsuit to the Netherlands, Eric Dooh, one of the farmers suing Shell, believed that true justice would be rendered on the multinational’s home turf. Channa Samkalden, lawyer for the Nigerians said that although Shell claimed 75% of oil spills were caused by sabotage, reporting in the country was unreliable and the company had failed to exercise its duty of care to prevent attacks on oil pipelines and other threats to the local environment.
In a statement issued by Friends of the Earth it was noted that the legal suit “was the first time that the headquarters of a multinational concern on the European continent has been summoned to appear in court for environmental or human rights violations in a developing country. Conservative estimates indicate that the total damage caused in Nigeria by oil pollution amounts to tens of billions of euros.”

In Shell’s Defense

Shell claims that its Nigerian subsidiary is a separate entity not subject in its day-to-day decision making process to intervention by Dutch headquarters. Shell’s lawyer, Jan de Bie Leuveling Tjeenk emphasised that widespread criminal activity including the sabotaging of pipelines and oil theft were rife across the region.  A Shell spokesman continued in the same vein saying that, “Shell Petroleum Development Company [Shell Nigeria] maintains that it is not liable to pay compensation in relation to the spills in Goi, Ogoniland and Akwa Ibom State. SPDC has cleaned up the pollution at the three locations [and] this has been certified by the relevant Nigerian authorities. Under Nigerian law oil companies are not liable to pay compensation for damage caused by sabotage spills.” In an attempt to refute the claims made by the Nigerian farmers even further, Shell’s lawyer also asked what reasonable measures could have been taken in such an unstable region to prevent attacks on oil pipelines.  Shell Nigeria’s website claims that, “Over the past 5 years, less than 30% of spills were due to corrosion, human error or equipment failure at SPDC facilities, whilst the majority were caused by sabotage or theft.”

Unmitigated Theft?

Known as the world capital of oil theft, a type of Robin Hood scenario has seemingly emerged to take back profits from foreign companies and redistribute wealth into the hands of the poor by local militant groups who are responsible for frequent violence in the Niger Delta where a majority of Nigeria’s oil deposits are located.
In direct contrast to this theory, the sophistication of the theft has led analysts to charge that high ranking politicians and senior members of the armed forces are complicit. According to the Nigerian minister of oil, as much as $7 billion in annual revenues are lost with approximately 26,000 people involved in large and small scale oil theft. A government amnesty in 2009 aimed at providing alternative livelihoods through training programmes to oil thieves has cost Nigeria $405million in 2012 alone however 10,000 militants remain as yet untrained and jobless. Shell itself estimates about 6% of total oil production or 150,000 barrels a day are stolen.

In summation

Whether or not Shell is eventually held accountable is of less consequence than the overall impact of the lawsuit for countries in the developing world dealing with untenable environmental destruction as a result of exploration for natural resources and fossil fuels by large foreign conglomerates. As a repercussion a bevy of new court cases may follow permitting restitution claims to be paid out to local communities whose livelihoods have been largely destroyed by untold ecological disasters. In Nigeria at least, after more than 50 years of oil production the proverbial genie may finally be out of the bottle and warranted compensation looming for the thousands, if not millions of people affected by oil pollution.

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Photo Credit: Zeepkist