Want to keep cheap gas? Fight for Nigerian human rights!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably adjusted, however begrudgingly, to the current price of gasoline, diesel, heating oil, and/or natural gas.

Today.. the price of Oil continues to hover around $61 for both the NY and London Brent markets.

However, the security of that ever-present stream of oil is, as always, under threat. Whether it’s Iraq, Russia, Venezuela or Nigeria… there’s quite simply a lot of uncertainty about keeping the flow steady.

Nigeria has always been a most terrible example of corruption and greed based solely on oil exports. Today, it seems the Niger Delta, where all of Nigerian oil emanates, is set to explode (literally) into all out war.

The Oil Drum has continuing coverage of the goings on in the Niger Delta. They also have some excellent links to stories covering the poverty that surrounds the oil installations. In their words:

while oil workers who run the Shell facility and Nigerian troops who guard them live in air-conditioned comfort, the Utorogu community nearby manages without electricity, potable water, and health amenities.

It is no wonder these communities are the source for the rise of the The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta.

The Oil Drum says:

David Goldwyn, a former US assistant energy secretary who now consults in the region says, “the loss of more Nigerian oil could send the price to $80 or $95 per barrel or higher…. The likelihood of a significant disruption always has to be counted as relatively high”. If MEND makes good on its promise to reduce Nigerian exports by 30% in the near future, that will have a significant affect in the US and other importers of Nigerian oil.

Well, they’re well on their way after having blown up an oil pipeline on Monday that took 20% (equaling about 500,000 barrels) of Nigeria’s daily oil production offline.

We’ll see how the markets react to that news on Tuesday.

So, do *you* want to keep the price of oil and gas at a reasonable level? Do *you* want to do something that might help not only your own lot in life, but also those of millions of Africans who live without electricity, running water, and basic services?

Maybe it’s time the buyers of that Nigerian oil (Europe and the US split it roughly in half) require some conditions to be met.

Hold on, maybe I’m onto something here. Maybe any country that wants to sell the US and Europe oil, should meet certain “standards” of their own. God forbid we try to impose a certain standard of Human Rights on those from whom we buy our consumer goods?

Are you unhappy with the way the UN Human Rights Commission handles human rights issues? Well… put your money where your mouth is, and demand better. It is clear that those who control most of the worlds oil, in Saudi Arabia, Kazakstan, Nigeria, Iran and other places place far more importance on lining their own pockets, rather than helping relieve the plight of their own countrymen and women.

I am cynical (big surprise)… my feeling is that we will simply continue on our way, we may grumble and will try to ignore the rising price of the commodity as we hurry to bring about it’s eventual exhaustion.

We will ignore the direct links between inequality, poverty, instability, wars and high prices!

YES this is OUR problem. These are OUR companies. This is the fuel that goes into OUR cars. OUR planes. OUR way of life.

If we are so arrogant as to think that these wars in Africa have nothing to do with our own actions, then we absolutely deserve to have our economy fall off a cliff as the resource dries up and instability reigns. And we will have only our own leaders, and thus ourselves, to blame.

Bush and Obasanjo in Nigeria

3 replies on “Want to keep cheap gas? Fight for Nigerian human rights!”

  1. The appalling conditions in many African countries pains me considerably as stories of suffering, war and extreme cruelty reach us, it seems, on a daily basis. The lack of worldwide concern is particularly symbolized by the typical lethargic response we have from the UN and Kofi Annan on many occasions.

    You object most strenuously to the invasion of Iraq where many human rights violations have occurred. What would you suggest that individual nations acting apart from the UN do to improve conditions in Nigeria and other places such as the Sudan? Invasion doesn’t seem to satisfy the call to set things right, does it? Without the UN, how much power does any one or two countries have in changing the economic and political stability (or lack of it) of third world developing nations?

  2. “What would you suggest that individual nations acting apart from the UN do to improve conditions in Nigeria and other places such as the Sudan?”

    Well, this post deals directly with the incredible imbalance in oil producing countries between the corrupt government/elite, and the poorest of the poor.

    War and invasion and “regime change” simply isn’t the answer. Iraq is proof enough of that, and I don’t want to “experiment” with it anywhere else.

    What needs to be done is those governments need to be told to reform, or they simply will not be able to sell their oil.

    Here’s something that will make your skin crawl, Jane. Maybe all oil contracts should be vetted by the UN Human Rights Commission. oooo…sccaaary. ;=)

    Poking aside, perhaps each country that participates in the oil market as an exporter… or perhaps that reaches an agreed upon threshold of oil exports to any one country, must first insure that that country is well governed and that government royalties go back towards development and enriching the lives of the ordinary citizens of the exporting countries.

    If they do not satisfy the requirements, then they have a “cap” on production (say of 20,000 barrels/day to any one country) until their human rights situation improves.

  3. How much power can any one country have?

    Well, purely as an example.. the United States takes about 50% of Nigerian oil.

    That’s 1.2 million barrels/day. At $60/barrel. That’s a LOT of money… and a LOT of power.

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