Omoyele Sowore

Omoyele Sowore (who goes by Sowore -- pronounced Showore) is a Nigerian who has spent the last 15 years working to promote human rights and democracy in Nigeria, and to stop the militarization and violence that multinational oil companies have brought to his country. In 1989, he took part in student demonstrations protesting the conditions of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan of $120 million to be used for a Nigerian oil pipeline -- the IMF loan conditions were to reduce the number of universities in the country from 28 to just 5. In 1992 at University of Lagos, Sowore led 2,000 students in protest against Nigeria’s notorious kleptocracy. Police opened fire, killing seven. Sowore was arrested, interrogated and beaten, but he refused to back down in his struggle for decent education in his country. He’s been imprisoned eight times and tortured, but he remains committed. “We've had supposed democracy for six and a half years and people still can't eat,’ he says. ‘Who has benefited? There's no basic health care. We don't have running water. We don't have electricity, no basic education..., Shell and Chevron are among the biggest corporations in the world and they have benefited only a few people, the clique that runs the country. The Niger Delta area is polluted, occupied and heavily militarized. People get killed on behalf of the major oil companies everyday, that cannot be right.”