Ogoni: No Oil Benefits for Locals
Below is an article published by Al Jazeera:
Billions of dollars of oil money are wasted every year in
Andrew Simmons, Al Jazeera's correspondent in
Regional elections were held last week and a presidential vote is scheduled for Saturday.
Much of the popular resentment is because ordinary Nigerians have become poorer, despite half a century of oil exports.
In the Ogoniland in the Niger Delta, one secondary school, filled with 700 pupils, has only three teachers.
Those in the impovershed region live on little hope.
Saturday Zorzor, a young Nigerian student, wants to be an engineer, but none of the teachers can teach physics.
Saturday said: "I've already made up my mind. No matter what it takes me I will struggle to do it."
But his mother is distraught for not having the capacity to assist her son.
She said: "I sit inside and cry every day because I cannot help my son with his schooling."
Should Saturday achieve his goals, it will be with no thanks to the state.
Ledu Mitee, of the Movement For The Survival Of The Ogoni People, said: "The oil you see wasted here, if you translate it into cash, it will be more than enough to provide electricity, water or basic things for the community here.
"We can do better than this."
But the ruling party says otherwise. Chief Willy Akinlude, chairman of the ruling People's Democratic Party, said that
He told Al Jazeera: "We have many local governments in the
"What we need to do is to ensure that these institutions give out more funds so that people can enjoy the dividends of democracy so that they get at least the basic things they need in this country - education, electricity, transportation and anything that will help them to move forward."
Oil spills galore
Government documents have recorded 7,000 oil spills, which equates to one per day for the last 25 years. Many analysts think the true number is up to 10 times higher than this.
Two out of three residents live in a slum, of which less than one per cent have a flushing toilet. None have reliable supply of electricity.
Optimists say free and fair elections could lift the gloom.
Simmons said: "Ensuing elections in
"There has to be stability here."