Oil Wealth and Insurgency in Nigeria

By Omolade Adunbi | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION
ENVIRONMENT, TRANSNATIONAL NETWORKS,
AND RESOURCE EXTRACTION

THE MURTALA MOHAMMED International Airport is the gateway to Lagos, the commercial capital and business hub of the sixteen West African nations, of which Nigeria is the richest and most populous. As travelers drive out of the airport, they are greeted by a huge, eye-catching billboard. Erected by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the official representative of the Nigerian state in the joint ventures of the state and multinational oil corporations, it declares, “We will touch your lives in many positive ways,” and features a photograph of a young girl with a beautiful smile superimposed on images of oil pipelines and flow stations with men wearing hard hats operating oil-pumping equipment. Another billboard, erected by African Petroleum, a succession company of British Petroleum,1 shows oil workers and bears this caption: “African Petroleum PLC, Touching your life … where it matters most … leadership through quality.”

These positive messages are not limited to billboards. The January–February 2005 edition of ChevronTexaco News, an in-house newsletter of Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), highlights stories of how the multinational oil corporation promotes workforce safety. For instance, an earlier article had accused Chevron of not caring enough about communities, and a letter published in this issue responded that the company had been wonderful to all its employees. A quotation from the Dalai Lama appears on the “Letters to the Editor” page:

May I become at all times, both now and forever
A protector for those without protection
A guide for those who have lost their way
A ship for those with oceans to cross

-1-

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