Nigeria's Niger Delta region, where the Niger river flows into the Gulf of Guinea, has been a source of great wealth for the past five centuries. In the 18th century, slaves were taken across the Atlantic from the coast of West Africa. Later, palm oil plantations became a lucrative source of exports for colonial powers. In the 1950s, however, oil was discovered in the delta and this discovery has transformed the region into Nigeria's economic powerhouse, generating some 40% of GDP. Over the past 60 years, multinationals of all stripes and from all parts of the globe have rushed in to exploit Africa's most plentiful oil reserves. The vast revenues from oil concessions and taxes levied on the industry have been administered by successive Nigerian governments plagued by graft and corruption. What should have resulted in a better of life for all Nigerians has become a litany of expropriation, ecological degradation, displacement and violent conflict.
From the execution of Ken Saro Wiwa, an environmental campaigner who fought for the rights of the Ogoni people on whose land large oil reserves were found, to the ongoing cycle of violence between the Nigerian army and armed gangs ostensibly fighting for a local share of the oil revenues, Nigeria's delta has become a dangerous battleground with civilians usually on the loosing end.
George Osodi, a native of Port Harcourt, the largest city in the delta, has spent the past 6 years documenting the delta and the unrelenting exploitation of its riches by both domestic and international companies. The resulting work has now been published as a book by Trolley Books and is available to buy HERE.