Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Delta region of Nigeria is the breadbasket of the country. Unfortunately, as is the case in most African breadbaskets, the people of that area have not benefited from the wealth their lands hold. Instead, the water is poisoned and there is no fish to eat. Their land is poisoned as well, so farmers cannot grow crops to feed their families or sell at market. They cannot even depend on the rain, as it is also poisoned and is considered acid rain. There aren't enough schools, hospitals, clean water sources. Basically anything and everything people need, at a minimum, to live healthy productive lives is lacking in that region.

So, considering that this is the plight of the people that live in Nigeria's breadbasket, can anyone blame them for resorting to violence as a means of gaining attention on a national and global scale? I know I can't. I think enough is enough. It is time for us to all talk frankly and respectfully to one another. Groups like Movement for the Emancipation of the Nigerian Delta (MEND) must stop resorting to violence. The Federal Government of Nigeria must bring all Delta authorities to justice for stealing monies that should have been used for the benefit of their constituents. Huge oil corporations like Shell must be forced to invest their earnings in the communities they destroy. They, in conjunction with the government, must build schools, hospitals and provide other resources. Nigerians must demand that our government require huge companies to invest directly in the country, maybe outside government channels for that matter, as we know what happens when money reaches government coffers, if it even gets that far.

Anyway, this breadbasket wahala is not unique to Nigeria, see Sierra Leone, for instance, as was recently discussed in a podcast on Current TV called Diamond Diggers. But with regard to Nigeria, I wonder who will gain if oil production comes to a complete standstill as is threatened by MEND. Well, I guess we shall see.

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