Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Between America-BP & the Nigeria-Shell Cases


The oil spill in America’s gulf of Mexico from a British Petroleum (BP) drill becomes interesting on how the USA government has taken BP head-on to protect its citizens, natural habitat, water-life and the entire environment. The US government deserves praise for the steps towards protecting its interest.
This being what any citizen expect from its government; to stand up for them when the going gets tough. Not to declare the citizens right or wrong but again to take responsibility, ownership and show leadership. I first raised this particular aspect of the machine of government and the service to citizens when Nigerian citizen, Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab tried to bring down a US air plane travelling from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas day, 2009. For 48 hours, the Nigerian government did not step forward to claim any ownership of her citizen, nor show leadership in bringing him to book. It was quite amazing that at the same time, the United Kingdom was engaging the Chinese government trying to at least secure a life sentence for and stop the execution (or even get the release) of 53 years old Akmal Shaikh, who was on death row for drug smuggling.
Less than 2 months before that time, the same American government was seriously engaging the Italian government to stop the prosecution of Amanda Knox accused and sentenced for the murder of British Meredith Kercher.
The above cases were typical actions of governments taking leadership and showing ownership and service to its citizens in times of need. But as declared above, Nigeria lacks service to her citizens, to the country and to humanity in general. And that is no wonder the country is a wasted and crippled to her ankles.
Shell Petroleum has spilled more oil in Nigeria than anywhere else in the world for as long as any person can remember. Yet, the Nigerian government has never, ever asked Shell a question let alone call them to book.
Communities in the Niger delta area of Nigeria remains among the poorest with no public facilities, including school, hospitals, roads, housing or even environment. Residents in these areas who rely on fishing to survive can barely touch the water bodies that surround them all round because these waters are mere oil floats. And their fishes have died off. They live in danger every minute of their lives with crude oil fires going off at the slightest mishandling of fire. Such incidents alone has killed thousands in recent years.
Instead the Nigerian government has branded the people of the Niger delta terrorists and hooligans. But any sensible person knows they have no choice but to turn to violence where they have not only been neglected but also denied their Human Rights to good natural habitation.
The people in Nigeria government get gifts of cars, houses, massive mounds of cash, free travels abroad and all other corrupt and illegal gifts taken on the rights and blood of the citizens they are supposed to serve.
The actions of the American government in this time of a natural disaster and abuse through recklessness or mistake by BP stands to show how a government should behave and bring to book those who makes mistakes that affect the livelihood of their citizens to make sure that the right things are done to correct such mistakes. This is a lesson to Nigeria in particular.
However, it is a lesson in futility since we know in full that the people in Nigeria Government lacks conscience, accountability, dedication and passion to serve nor do they in anyway feel obliged towards the citizens of the country they run. In fact, those running the affairs of the wasted country, Nigeria do not think they are in place under anyone’s demand.
In the future, Nigeria and Nigerians will continue to suffer the same abuse that an American citizen or president cannot tolerate. But we now know that whatever torments a people is encouraged by their own reaction or their leaders’ failure to stand up to it.

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