Since this story broke, all eight workers have been released. In the meantime, 5 South Koreans have been taken….this is a non stop cycle.
It seems that Iraq is not the only place that blood is flowing over oil. In Nigeria, Africaâs largest oil producer, an increasing number of attacks and abductions have been taking place. Most recently, eight oil workers on an offshore platform were taken hostage in a bold raid by twenty to thirty gunmen who boarded the platform from speedboats. The foreign hostages were reported to be unharmed and as of the writing of this piece, the abductors have either not released their demands or their demands have not been released by the officials. It is difficult to assess such situations in a country like Nigeria because often issues like this are community related issues in which poverty stricken citizens of Nigeria see the affluence generated in their backyards by huge oil companies and simply want to marginally improve their situation. Those that are kidnapped are usually released unharmed in return for money, jobs, or community development projects in the region.
I recall several years ago, I had the opportunity to interview Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!. Ms. Goodman had been conducting interviews with community members in Nigeria about the inequality of the oil industry in third world countries. As I recall, Ms. Goodman was not harassed by average citizens, but she and her cameraman were both abducted by armed militias employed by the oil industry who pointed guns to their heads and threatened to execute them. My point here, is that the danger to expats in countries like Nigeria donâtâ necessarily come from the community and that the threats that do come from the community are usually issues of social justice.
The recent abductions follow a series of attacks by militant group the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) which have cut Nigeriaâs oil output by as much as 25% since February. This has created several spikes in fuel prices in the U.S. as Nigeria is the fifth largest oil supplier to the states.
One can only wonder how the oil companies are still able to make such huge profits in the midst of such turmoil. How dare the people of Nigeria seek economic justice?