The human development indicators that are beginning to improve in the Niger Delta appear to transcend short-term political cycles. Of course, there is still no room to be sanguine about Southeast Nigeria.
My first trip to Timbuktu occurred in 2003, long before this current conflict. I arrived in Timbuktu and the air emitted a certain respect for history. The architectural structure reminded me that I was in the midst of a city of knowledge that had existed for hundreds of years.
Only two years after the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, Shell is asking the same judges to accept that corporations are immune from prosecution for human rights violations because they are not people under the law.
I was born in the Niger Delta, and lived in the Niger Delta in Nigeria until I came to the U.S. In some ways, I can be considered a child of big oil -- Mobil Oil -- to be specific. But I own no oil fields and none of my family works in the oil sector.
We need vital institutions in this country that have no political agenda and no partisan bias. USIP convenes the left and the right, the civilian and the military, the national and the international players.
The delta is the third-largest wetland in the world. Farmland and fishing should be a source of income for 31 million inhabitants. However, the oil-saturated water has destroyed most crops and fish stock.
Nigerian commentators have been bemused by popular anger against BP. They claim that the Niger Delta has suffered spillage equal to an Exxon Valdez each year for many decades with little Western indignation or even notice.