Friday, September 29, 2006

A plan for the Delta?

Since the Nigerian government is utterly paralyzed by internal PDP (People's Democratic Party) squabbles about who is more corrupt (i.e., President Obasanjo or Vice-President Abubakar) and by the potential chaos of next year's April elections, I think it's worthwhile to examine what recommendations outside organizations have made for Nigeria to bring the environmental / commercial / social crisis that is the Niger Delta under control.

The International Crisis Group released an executive summary yesterday that is about as comprehensive as such recommendations can get, and whose accompanying report (pdf) would serve as an excellent primer for anyone interested in getting familiar with a region that the US plans to extract as much as 25% of its oil imports by 2015.

ICG's last point:
To the Energy Companies’ Home Countries:

20. Legislate to require companies with overseas operations to publicly disclose all payments to foreign governments. This initiative should be synchronised through the Group of Eight to provide additional credibility to extractive transparency efforts in developing nations.
This is exactly right. I, for one, want to know exactly how Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron are spending their "Exploration" money in Nigeria. Is it being used to bribe government officials (not without precedent), or used to develop the economic involvement of Deltans in mineral extraction programs. And I want to be sure that my cheap oil is not cheap because of the destruction and mismanagement of someone else's backyard.

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