Ten years after the death of Ken Saro-Wiwa, Nigeria stands at a turning point. The oil and gas from the Niger Delta is seen as increasingly important to the United States’ ‘energy security’. The US military is building up their presence in the region as well as providing training for local forces and looking into using the nearby island of São Tomé as a base for possible ‘forward operations’.
This is potentially bad news for those in the region who have already had first-hand experience of the human rights abuses that foreign fossil-fuel expropriators have carried out with impunity. But rather than continue to live in poverty as their environment is desecrated and their assets stripped, the local people have put together an alternative vision of the future that puts them in control.
The Next Gulf is a clearly written narrative that gives campaigners the tools to support that vision. As well as drawing on published materials and a wide range of interviews, the authors use restricted information obtained from the UK National Archives, Freedom of Information requests and internal company documents.
They map out the colonial history of the region as well as the latest developments and show how a lot of the corruption in Nigeria is actually perpetrated or perpetuated by foreign companies and their agents. As co-author James Marriott said at the launch of the book in Britain’s Parliament, the process of decolonization might have started; but it is far from finished.Phil England
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