Nigerian Government Officials Essay

1352 words - 5 pages

We are members of the emerging democratic Nigerian government. Although previously under a military dictatorship, we are trying to present a new face to the international powers present at the forum. Even with the change in government, we have maintained ownership of 55-60% of the oil extracted from Nigerian lands by the international companies Shell, ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil, Agip, Elf, and Pan Ocean (Bureau). This provides our country with $60 billion in revenue, half of which is divided up evenly and distributed to each of the thirty-six state governments for use (O’Neill). As part of our government, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources currently controls and supervises “4,500 miles of pipelines, 159 oil fields and 275 flow stations” within our nation’s borders. We have joined the forum here today in hopes of addressing several pressing matters of the social and environmental climates in Nigeria, and to look for the best way to continue our lucrative business arrangement with those present.
There are three main problems existing in Nigeria. The first is the environmental damage being done by the oil rigs (O’Neill). As the oil spills and gas flares leak into the air and water ways, they not only kill off the animals and plants, but they then affect the Nigerian people. The lack of food sources and clean water supply leads to starving citizens with dangerous health problems from inhaling the toxic fumes. The second and third major problems are being caused so-called rebels who are not only bombing oil pipelines throughout the country, but are also kidnapping hundreds of the pipeline workers for ransom money—asking for as high as $10 million each. Among the parties at the forum today, the international corporations are obviously upset about the attacks on their equipment and employees—not to mention the dramatic decrease in oil production as a result—as are the oil-importing world powers, but they are more concerned about the resulting high prices on fuel rather than the attacks themselves. The Nigerian citizens, however, are in general pleased with the rebellions against the oil companies due to their animosity over the environmental damages the oil is causing. As the Nigerian government, we feel threatened that the rebel groups have resulted to such violence and that they lack the appreciation for the benefits that come from the discovery of oil for our nation. Many at the forum would claim our body of government to be corrupt, but we are not the ones causing all of the mayhem (Shah). In fact, to better the state of our natural environment and our people, we—the government—passed laws prohibiting the destructive gas flaring performed by the oil companies in 1984 (O’Neill). This has been slow to change, as the oil companies such as Shell resist the law. Many of the oil spills can also be attributed to the oil companies, due to “old, improperly maintained equipment.” Yet the oil pipeline bombings from the rebel groups cause even more spills and...

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