Nigeria:The Corrupt Political System In Deals With Multinational Oil Companies

Delta 1Oil pilferage and environmental health hazards in the Delta State of Nigeria

By Micro-surgeon and scientist Johan Van Dongen

The Nigeria Report: ‘A Cesspool of Corruption and Crime in the Niger Delta,’ isn’t difficult to find. This report is already written by Horand Knaup in ‘Der Spiegel On Line,’ speaks for itself.

After my discussion with author Fabestine Providence, the head of Fabestine Providence Nigeria Limited, I’m compelled to finding out the connection between Dutch Shell Company and the corrupt Nigerian regime.

The words of Providence on how corrupt a country can be, become a reality, after reading the article by Horand Knaup. Yes, the African continent houses many corrupt regimes, as writer Joel Savage and I found out about corrupt African leaders, enabling us to write many articles on this issue affecting the development of Africa.

Fabestine Providence said: “The activities of the corrupt authorities are deep then you can write about.” His words are still fresh in my mind. Frankly speaking, the corrupt nature of many African leaders is destroying Africa, including those that have collaborated with the Shell company.

It is a fact that most Nigerian authorities are paid by every multinational company involved with Nigeria. They can’t act otherwise. Fabestine Providence wants someone who can write a script for a movie about Nigeria’s underworld, for the common suffering Nigerians to understand how the underworld operates and get finances from lots of sources in the country.

This information may be kept by the Nigerian government as confidential, but it is already in the virtual clouds because the leaked US diplomatic cables revealed just what multinational oil companies are up against in the Niger Delta. Security forces are ineffective, involved in dubious oil deals and the government demands millions in bribes.

Even university students have earned pocket money by working as kidnappers because the kidnap industry employs students during university vacations.

Bombs are used against civilians and millions paid to corrupt officials. The US diplomatic cables from the Nigerian cities of Abuja and Lagos, paint an unusual bleak picture of the situation in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

Hardly any of the international oil companies active in the delta publishes production figures, kidnappings and hostage-taking, yet these are a daily occurrence issue, while the civilian population is suffering, even though they have got nothing to do with the government’s corrupt schemes.

The central government in Abuja has neglected the delta for decades. It has failed to build schools, hospitals, and roads and has simply ignored the serious environmental problems. All that mattered was that the oil kept flowing, and continued to produce kickbacks for the political elite.

“The Federal Government has not funded one road in the key Niger Delta States in the last ten years,” reads one of the cable massages in February 2009, from the US Consulate in Lagos, citing a high-ranking politician which could be Babatunbe Fashola. In the face of such neglect, organized crime has become rampant in the delta.

There are kidnappers who are in bed with the authorities and special military units that sometimes fight rebels in the delta and frequently have a stake in the oil business. The rebels, although staged attacks on the multinational oil companies, they also sell oil and enjoy police protection. The political elite thrives on the chaotic situation.

Students don’t only involved in kidnap but attack oil platforms, but also guard hostages. The same rebel oil traders managed to get Fabestine Providence out of the country. Even inside the Black Axe Movement is corruption. The students earn $1,071 for a three-month period vacation.

However, with the Joint Task Force, an army unit pressing them, the job is no longer glamorous but dangerous. Companies that drill oil in Nigeria need to have strong nerves. It is hard to obtain reliable information and rumours circulate wildly. Do the rebels who are targeting the multinationals’ production efforts, really have anti-aircraft missiles to shoot down companies’ helicopters, as one message describes? Is the Russian energy giant ‘Gazprom’ planning to get into the natural gas business in the country? Another important question is which investors might be participating in a gas pipeline across the Sahara to Algeria?

The 4,000-kilometer pipeline to the Mediterranean coast would likely cost at least €10 billion. According to one cable, the multinationals ‘Total and Gazprom’ are interested in the project. The head of Exxon Mobil in Nigeria, however, dismissed the pipeline project as “fantasy,” that would never become a reality because the pipeline is too expensive and politically too risky. Above all, it would not benefit Nigeria and of course, it will not be surprised that the Dutch Shell Group is involved in corruption.

There are bitter complaints coming from Western oil companies. At a meeting with the US – Africa envoy, Johnnie Carson, oil executives criticized the “amateur technocrats” who are in charge of the oil and gas business on the Nigerian side. The managers said that Nigerian politicians believe that deep-sea drilling would earn them no money. Partners from banks and the business world did not understand the business, they said. The government in Abuja had collected $2.5 billion dollars in revenue over the previous two years but had not made any investments in return.

At another meeting, an Exxon Mobil manager reported that companies had to calculate for a loss of around 40% for oil transport via overland pipelines in the country; a result of oil theft. ‘It was more efficient to import refined oil from Europe than to process it in Nigeria itself’, he said. The police charged with protecting the pipelines seemed primarily concerned with coordinating the pilfering and letting potential thieves know where they could steal the oil.

One dispatch from Washington reads: “Nigeria’s four state-owned refineries have an installed capacity of 445,000 barrels per day. They have a history of fire, sabotage, poor management, lack of turn-around maintenance and corruption. These elements have limited refinery output to 40 percent of capacity or less.”

In January 2009, one oil executive complained that the already bad situation had gotten worse. Widespread attacks by pirates had led to tanker shipping companies only accepting contracts under certain conditions. Nigerian government officials apparently responded by telling her: “Hire more security.”

What about the Israeli Involvement? Another oil company protested that high-ranking Nigerians demanded millions in bribes for rights to load tankers. In addition, a top Nigerian prosecutor told a visitor that; “He would sign a document only if the visitor paid $2 million immediately and another $18 million the next day.”

The Nigerian government finds deals involved with multinational companies unique in the oil industry. A report dated March 2009 states that: “Shell and Total recently revealed that they were forced to loan their Nigerian partners billions of dollars, below-market rates to support ongoing joint venture operations.”

Delta 2An oil spill in the Delta State of Nigeria and the threat of  environmental health hazards

US diplomats also referred to a complaint from one of the oil multinational companies, about the Nigerian Navy, which the complaint said, was totally incapable of protecting oil companies in the delta. When rebels attacked an oil platform in the Gulf of Guinea with a total of six-speed boats, Shell employees sounded the alarm at 2:30 a.m. It was only at 7:30 p.m after the attackers had long disappeared that naval boats arrived and their primary aim was to obtain supplies of fuel and food from the platform.

Here and there, however, improvements have been reported. Israeli security experts in the Nigerian state of Bayelsa were now going to keep the kidnapper gangs at bay. One dispatch reads: In fact, US diplomats write, the Israelis are remarkably active in the Niger Delta. The Israeli military provides equipment and training to the Nigerian special unit that fights rebels in the delta. Back in October 2007, the unit lacked functioning helicopters and armored troop carriers and only had two gunboats.

Now it has more than a hundred vehicles, around two dozen boats and two helicopters at its disposal. There is apparently one small problem, some members of the unit are deeply involved in dubious oil deals. Thanks to Horand Knaup, for all this information, even though it is now known publicly.

I feel more pain and helpless over the situation of Fabestine Providence, as an asylum seeker in the Netherlands, but the Dutch government wouldn’t like to keep him in the country, despite knowing the roots of his problem, since they are part of the corruption and environmental hazard in the Delta of Nigeria.

 

Life As Immigrant At The Notorious Pantanella In Via Casilina Rome

Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupato da centinaia di immigrati asiatici provenienti dal Pakistan e Bangladesh.Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupied by hundreds of Asian immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Roma Novembre 1990 Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupato da centinaia di immigrati asiatici provenienti dal Pakistan, Bangladesh, Africani tra cui (Joel Savage) Panoramica della Pantanella. Rome

As a child growing up in a strongly religious family, I was thought that everything which is opposite to the teachings of the Holy Bible, including laziness is a sin. I tried my best to live a clean life. We were thought to believe that Israel, Jerusalem, and other Biblical countries were all in heaven, without a slight knowledge those countries were on the same earth we are living today.

When I left my family looking for a job, I tried to be sincere and prevented doing anything wrong which could land me in jail. I read that jail changes people’s attitude to be good or worse. But I wasn’t interested to know the positive or negative influences of jail on people. My only interest is never to be there because it’s not the right place for me.

In the year 1990, from Lagos, Nigeria, I made a transit in Rome, on my way to German. In Rome, I was detained at the Fiumicino airport. The Italian immigration regularly does that to many foreigners, especially Africans. Like a tourist, I walked around the airport lounge without a room to sleep and food for three days. On the third, I was really starving, so I approached one of the immigration officials and said to him that I am hungry. He looked at my face and asked me “Am I your father?” Then he walked away.

Without knowing what the officials have in store for me, I handed over an application for asylum as a journalist and it worked, because I have some few publications over my profession on me. On the fourth day, from nowhere came one of the immigration officers, he said to me: “Your application has been accepted, today the police will come to take you to Rome.” I was shocked beyond expression.

Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupato da centinaia di immigrati asiatici provenienti dal Pakistan e Bangladesh.Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupied by hundreds of Asian immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Roma 31 gennaio 1991 Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupato da centinaia di immigrati asiatici provenienti dal Pakistan e Bangladesh. Le forze dell’Ordine sgombrano la Pantanella. Rome, January 31, 1991 Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupied by hundreds of Asian immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Police evacuate the Pantanella.

 The good Samaritan didn’t only deliver the unexpected message, but he pulled out from his pocket a number of notes and said to me: “I don’t want my colleagues to see me giving you money, buy some food to eat at the airport.” I didn’t take the money. I told him: “This important information you have given to me has taken all the hunger away, thank you.” He walked away with his money.

On the fourth day, the police came, just as the officer told me and took me in a police car to the city, Rome, and left me there to fight for my survival. Without anywhere to sleep, I passed all my nights at the Central Train Station. Among other Africans, we watched a big television screen during the day to forget our misery, then in the night, I go to sleep at my hiding place. The police and the workers at the train station never discovered the place I slept.

After some time, I discovered places where I could eat every day without paying for food. I could take my bath and take some clothes. One of such places was at ‘Via Dandolo.’ Daniela, the head of the Caritas (Charity) at Via Dandolo, was a very good woman, but one of her female workers was a very bad woman. A thief. Since we had no address, our letters passed through the Caritas at Via Dandola and this woman took the opportunity to steal money from our letters.

I caught her twice, so I wasn’t surprised when I lost the 10 pounds a friend sent me from England, but I didn’t tell Daniela about it. Through the Caritas, I had my initial lessons and attended classes to learn the Italian. I was one of the best immigrants who could write and speak the language fluently, yet my life was miserable because I was still sleeping at the train station.

In Rome, I was robbed, admitted and operated at a hospital, but the nurse refused to touch me, because of my color, thus; every morning when on duty, she calls someone to attend to me, but she had time for every Italian patient at the hospital. I was once sitting in the hospital’s garden after the operation, when an Italian old man, one of the patients came close to me, looked at my face and said to me: “Marocchino motaccizoa.” – an insult, after mistakenly taken me as a Moroccan. I didn’t say a word.

Then all of a sudden, as if it was announced on the radio, all the immigrants in Rome, without accommodation, discovered an abandoned Pasta factory called ‘Pantanella.’ Pantanella is notoriously known for all criminal activities, including drug peddling and crime, similar to drug cartel zones of Mexico. One needs strength, courage, heart and braveness to survive at that place. Italians think they are brave, but many of them dare to pass Via Casilina, the street Pantanella is located in the night.

That was the place I lived and worked as a toilet cleaner for thousands of immigrants, using six containers as toilets, to raise money to feed. I was employed by the Muslim head at the place. It’s terrible and frightening to live at Pantenella. It wasn’t a prison, but the place, I think was tough like Alcatraz, because of the criminal activities many illegal immigrants engaged in feeding.

 

Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupato da centinaia di immigrati asiatici provenienti dal Pakistan e Bangladesh.Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupied by hundreds of Asian immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Roma 31 gennaio 1991 Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupato da centinaia di immigrati asiatici provenienti dal Pakistan e Bangladesh. Le forze dell’Ordine sgombrano la Pantanella. Scoppia un incendio durante lo sgombero Rome, January 31, 1991 Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupied by hundreds of Asian immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Police evacuate the Pantanella.A fire during the evacuation

The abandoned factory accommodated both soft and hardened criminals from various countries, including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Africa etc. I lived in Pantanella for four months, and the Italian government tired of the crimes going on in that abandoned Pasta factory ejected all the foreigners.

But the Italian government did something great for the African immigrants. Something we weren’t expecting. The government paid for two weeks stay in a hotel for all the Africans, with the ultimatum that before the two weeks expired, we should find a place on our own to live.

Through a very good sympathetic woman called Nana, (she died in Rome a few years ago) I got a job as a houseboy to serve one journalist called Claudio Lavazza, working at television station TG2, belonging to the former Italian Prime Minister, Sylvio Berlusconi. He provided me accommodation and paid me well. Besides, he gave me the new version of Fiat Cinque Cento (500) to drive. It may be likely that I was the first black man in the entire Italy to drive the new Fiat Cinque Cento when it freshly came out. I met other journalist friends of Claudio, including Michele Cucuzza.

After three years, I said goodbye to Rome and returned to Africa. I married and returned to Europe once again but this time choosing Amsterdam. ‘Overseas Chronicle: The Rome and Amsterdam Experience’ is a book once started you’ll find it hard to put away, because of the shocking intriguing stories in the book. Find out more of what happened to me in Rome and later in Holland, which led me to detention in Amsterdam.

 

Come sono sopravvissuto come un immigrato nella Pantanella pericoloso può essere letto in: 
Chronicle 3

Do You Experience God’s Miracle In Your Life?

Genesis 2I grew up in a family that strongly believes in God. At the corner of my parents’ bed room, stands a small table covered with a white cloth. On this table, lies the Holy Bible, which belongs to my mother. She wakes up early in the morning to pray without ceasing. Sometimes I see her shedding tears in her prayers, when she feels her prayers had been answered or touched spiritually.

Life, to many is sex, enjoyment, doing drugs, rock and roll, then after, you say good bye to your friends, when it’s time to go and sleep peacefully or tormented in your grave. That’s not the meaning of life. Life has a significant meaning or purpose. Watching my mother, each morning, behind the small table, I developed certain interest in seeking the face of God and started following her footsteps.

I read my Bible daily, and tried my best to live to the principle the holy book teaches. Like everyone, I wasn’t perfect, I did many things which I shouldn’t do as a child, but not in my adult hood. As I begin to mature, I started experiencing the miracle of God’s hand in my life. There are times I joke about it saying: Death doesn’t like ugly people, the reason I’m still living.

I was once carried away by the sea, because I couldn’t swim. Like Jonah in the belly of the whale and brought to the shores of Nineveh, after people gave up to save me, they watched as a mighty wave brought me ashore. The impact was heavy and the state of shock I find myself in at that moment, prevented me to put on my clothes. I walked home naked. Till now I’m scared of the sea and can’t swim.

I was once crossing a busy street in Africa, after watching both sides of the road, I felt secured to cross, but from nowhere I was caught up in the middle of the road, when a taxi hits me. Like a superman, I find my body in the mid-air, landing on top of the vehicle’s bonnet. The impact severely damaged the bonnet, but I survived.

In Africa, I was travelling on a mini-bus with other passengers. It was a very sunny day. I think the pressure in the vehicle’s Tyre warmed up to certain degrees Celsius, thus; one of the front Tyre’s exploded. The vehicle somersaulted continuously and finally landed on its side. I jumped out from the front seat without a scratch, when many were rushed to the hospital with injuries.

In Lagos State, Nigeria, I was kidnapped by armed robbers in military uniform. It was a swift action which took me by surprise. I was holding a small hand bag which attracted them. They thought probably the bag has over a million dollars. In the rear of the car, I struggled with them and wouldn’t let the bag go, while the butt of the rifles they were holding rain on every part of my body, including my head.

After every attempt failed, they pushed me from the vehicle while in motion and I landed on the ground with a force, like a bag of salt. I stood up, brushed the dust off my body and walked home. But the scars of the beating I had, can still be traced on my body today, after three decades.

In Amsterdam, I was nearly killed by a woman while on my bicycle. I fell and rolled ahead, while her front Tyre were on my bicycle. According to her, the sun partially blinded her, so she didn’t see me. I had bruises all over my body. She carried my badly damaged bicycle to a repairers’ shop and paid for the cost. Anxious to know of my condition, she called me the next day. I told her I’m doing well. That was the last time she called.

In Antwerp, Belgium, after holidays in Africa, I came back penniless with bills to pay. There was a particular one I needed time to pay 110 Euros at my son’s secondary school. That was a second letter reminding me, thus; the third letter wouldn’t be good for me. The end of the month to get my salary was still far, thus; the situation was actually disturbing.

It was winter and very dark, on my way to work, I spotted something like a folded money on the bicycle lane. I stopped and walked back to see if it’s money or mind is just playing tricks on me. Behold, it was money. I took it and unfolded it. Guess how much? Two fifty Euro notes, one ten Euro note and one five Euro note, a total of 115 Euros.

After work, I quickly went home to pay the 110 Euros to the school and used the five Euros to buy some few thing I needed most. There is no need to doubt over these stories, because they came from Joel Savage, the writer who loves non-fiction articles and books. Have you ever experienced the miracle of God’s hand in your life?

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Said Jesus at Matthew 7:7. Just as sports is good for the body, reading the Bible is good for the mind and your spiritual being.

One Man, One Wife

Aluko’s One Man, One Wife (1959), a satirical novel about the conflict of Christian and Yoruba ethics, relates the disillusionment of a village community with the tenets of missionary Christianity. A second novel, One Man, One Matchet (1964), humorously presents the clash of an inexperienced district officer with an unscrupulous politician. Kinsman and Foreman (1966)

Wife

One Man, One Wife (1959), was equally shrewd in its depiction of village politics, pitting Christians against the authority of traditional chiefs. Other novels include Kinsman and Foreman (1966), about a civil servant’s struggles to resist the demands of his relations; Chief the Honourable Minister (1970), which deals with the problems of government at the top.

His Worshipped Majesty (1972), which focuses on the loss of political power by traditional chiefs; and Wrong Ones in the Dock (1982), which denounces certain aspects of the Nigerian legal system. Despite his exposure of political chicanery, Aluko, unlike many other prominent African novelists, such as Chinua Achebe and Ngugi wa Thiong’o, appears to be a champion of the post-independence élites in government and civil service.

The Author

Wife 2

T. M. Aluko, Nigerian novelist, is significantly undervalued in comparison to many of his contemporaries in the so-called ‘first generation’ of Nigerian writers. Although he is concerned with such commonly treated themes as the impact of Western modernity on traditional Nigerian culture and the social and political failings of the postcolonial era, Aluko has approached his subjects with a comic detachment that is largely at odds with the more serious mood of most West African fiction. As a result he has been neglected and even dismissed by many critics.

Timothy Mofolorunso Aluko, a member of the Yoruba tribe, was born on 14 June 1918 in Ilesha, western Nigeria. He received a colonial education, attending primary school in Ilesha, at Government College Ibadan and Yaba Higher College near Lagos. From 1942 to 1946 Aluko worked as a junior engineer in the Public Works departments of Lagos and Ilorin.

During this period he also began to earn recognition for his short stories, the first of which, ‘The New Engineer’, appeared in the anthology African New Writing (1947), edited by T. Cullen Young. Travelling to England in 1946, he resumed his studies at King’s College, London, where he graduated in civil engineering and town planning in 1950.

Alongside his academic work, Aluko also became a regular contributor to the Liverpool-based West African Review. It was in that journal that he published his prescient essay, ‘Case for Fiction’, in which he argues the need for literature that is written by Africans, about African subjects, and for an African readership; in it he also outlines the various dilemmas and impediments faced by African writers of that time.

In 1950 Aluko returned to Nigeria to become a senior public-works engineer, working in various different cities. Also that year he married Janet Adebisi Fajemisin, with whom he had six children.

http://www.amazon.com/One-Wife-African-Writers-Series/dp/0435900307