Delta of Niger: a paradise soiled by pollution

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Delta of Niger: a paradise soiled by pollution

The Niger River Delta area in Nigeria, is a highly populated geographic region often referred to as Oil Rivers because the area was once rich in palm oil production. This area was under the British Oil Rivers Protectorate from 1885 until 1893, when it was extended and became the Niger Coast Protectorate.

The activities of the oil refineries and oil pipelines have caused a strong destabilization of the entire region due to the devastating environmental and social impact on the resident populations who are also forced to suffer serious health problems due to pollution.

In 1994, to counter the protests of citizens, the army proceeded with a blitz that led to the destruction of 40 villages, an estimated 100,000 displaced persons and 2,000 victims. In 1995, at the end of a trial criticized by international public opinion, Ken Saro-Wiwa was hastily hanged along with 8 other activists of the non-violent movement of the Ogoni people.

Recently (without source), many hostages of foreign oil companies, including Shell, Chevron, Agip, were captured in violent attacks and held as prisoners, then used as a weapon of blackmail towards multinationals. This situation also led to a massive mobilization of the government army which militarized the entire area, especially the coastal areas.

In December 2006, during an attack on an Agip station in Brass, in the state of Bayelsa, three Italian and one Lebanese employees were kidnapped. On January 17, 2007, one of the kidnapped, Roberto Dieghi, was released because he was in poor health.

The Niger River Delta region is a highly populated region spanning over 70,000 square kilometers. It is the most polluted area in the world by oil and hydrocarbons, a consequence of the 2 million barrels that are extracted in the area every day.

Of these, it is estimated that about 240,000 end up in the Niger Delta each year due to mechanical accidents or following piracy attacks. The release of substances from these barrels pours highly harmful substances into the water that release polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons into the air, which destroy crops in the fields.

Video by DW News