Stop the Environmental Destruction in the Niger Delta! Drive All Transnational Corporations Out of Africa!
Statement of the Revolutionary Socialist Vanguard (RSV), Nigerian Section of the RCIT, 14.10.2022, https://www.communism4africa.wordpress.com
Flash floods in Anambra State are the latest in what seems to be a season of floods. Nzam, Ogbaru and Anyamelum in the state, were all submerged. And before them Ogun, Bayelsa, Delta experienced the same fate, but the worst hit areas remain Lokoja, the Kogi state capital and Jigawa state, where nothing less than 50 people have died. In Rivers state, “affected communities include: Ikpide-Irri riverine community, Uzere, Ivrogbo-Irri, Araya, Aviara, Emede, Umeh, all in Isoko South Local Government Area of the state, others are Iyede-Ame, Lagos-Iyede, Onogbokor, Ashaka, Ibrede and Abbi in Ndokwa East council area as well as Eberedeni, Okpe, Ofagbe, Irri, Oyede, Bethel, Ukpudhe, Asaba-Ase, Ase, Kwale, Oko, Beneku, camp 75, Asaba ….”¹
Local print media puts the number of people affected at 500,000 and the number of people displaced at 100,000 but according to Al Jazeera and Arise news over 500 hundred lives have been lost while 1.5 million people have been displaced throughout the country.²
This season of floods is not peculiar to Nigeria alone it is a daunting feature of the climate catastrophe which bedevils our planet. One does not need to mention the untold hardship and overwhelming loss of lives and property the great deluge in Pakistan has caused. With over one-third of its landmass (roughly the size of Portugal or the UK) submerged; close to 2000 lives lost and 30-50 billion dollars worth of property gone.
In a campaign event, the presidential candidate of the Nigerian Labour Party, and the most popular of the 3 candidates, Peter Obi, was asked what he thought about the Green energy plans of the current administration since his campaign promises are centered on production and industrialisation, his answer was to escape from the issue by downplaying the question of climate change. While this shameful response partly constitutes rhetoric by some political opponents to vilify his campaign other candidates in the presidential race avoid this topic as best as they can. Here lies the bankruptcy of capitalist electoralism.
Moreover, saving the biosphere and ending environmental degradation goes beyond mere campaign promises of desperate ruling class big shots. For decades successive Nigerian governments have left the environment of the oil producing region in the South in a state of perpetual deterioration. Gas fumes (especially soot), oil spills and other effluents have destroyed the ecosystem of the estuaries and marshes. There are nights when the inferno in the sky takes away the darkness completely for days. Water sources differ only in levels of contamination and the life expectancy in the region is on a steady decline.
The most popular attempt to reverse this abysmal decay in the ecosphere was brutally crushed by jack boots of the Abacha junta when Ken Saro Wiwa and the Ogoni eight had led an uprising in 1993 against the regime. Ken Saro Wiwa and his comrades were executed two years later by the dictator. This did not, however, deter the natives from resisting the destruction of their homeland by the multinationals in collaboration with the government, albeit, they opted for guerrilla struggle and abduction of personnel in the oil magnates for concessions. Things came to a head again when after a shoot out between police and indigenous people of the Niger Delta, the Obasanjo regime barely 10 months after the transfer to civilian rule sent the military to wipe out an entire village in what is today known as the Odi massacre.
The ruling class made disaster that is the Niger Delta is the result of an unholy alliance with Nigeria’s ruling class and the West’s multinational oil magnates like Shell, ExxonMobil and Chevron. Just as capitalism was founded on environmental destruction which began by the extermination of the natives of the Americas and the enslavement of Africans. The root of environmental calamity in the storey building called Nigeria is that its floors are simply hierarchies of colonialism.
Since the northern power structures supervise the trafficking of resources from the South by the West and its multinationals, the land from which these resources are mined is left in ruins and its people harassed with rifles and bayonets. Furthermore, only those members of the indigenous elite who turn a blind eye to the rape and defilement of their regions and people may take power in those regions. Otherwise, they would be useless and threaten the very fabric from which Nigeria was hewn.
We call for an end to the reign of Shell, ExxonMobil with Chevron in the Niger Delta and in African coastal waters. The land and the resources back to the natives of the region and compensation from big oil to the region for years of destruction. For the highest level of autonomy to the Niger Delta, administrative quotas must be solely decided by Niger Deltan peoples.
Africa and the global south contribute less than a tenth of green house emissions responsible for climate change yet we are worst affected by it. Thus, we call for reparations for the climatic and environmental destruction from the imperialist countries and their transnational corporations. Immediate aid and commensurate compensation for the flood victims!
The climate catastrophe and Capitalism are two sides of a coin, for one to end the other must go too! Nothing confirms this more than the current period when the unbridled rivalry between imperialist powers threatens our world every now and then with the danger of a nuclear cataclysm. Humanity has reached the juncture where it must choose between capitalism and the planet. Workers and other sectors of the oppressed must begin an intransigent struggle against the ruling class and for a workers’ and popular government that will lead a transition to a socialist society.
No future without Socialism! No socialism without revolution! No revolution with a Revolutionary International Workers Party! This is what the RCIT is stands for, join us!
1. https://saharareporters.com/2022/10/11/flood-kills-mother-five-others-anambra-west-community?s=09, https://saharareporters.com/2022/10/10/governor-okowa-led-delta-government-abandons-flood-victims-two-die-affected-communities, https://fij.ng/article/floods-are-killing-bayelsans-gov-diri-is-embarking-on-clueless-prosperity-walk/