In the last year, the violence in the Niger Delta has left
nearly a hundred people dead, and halted up to a quarter of the 2.6 million
barrels a day of oil production. The latest impediment to production, the
kidnapping of foreign oil workers, is making oil specialist jobs in Nigeria
hard to fill. The military has army and navy patrols out chasing down the
kidnapping and oil theft gangs, but even with helicopters and aircraft
overhead, the gangs usually slip into the swamps and jungles and get away.
Meanwhile, the payoff from stealing oil or kidnapping is large enough to
attract a growing number of young guys with poor job prospects, and a
willingness to do anything for a buck. The kidnappers are becoming more
violent. A Lebanese oil worker was killed recently, during a kidnapping
attempt. Another foreigner was killed when kidnappers barged into a saloon with
guns blazing, looking for hostages.
26, 2007: In another part of the Niger Delta, villagers clashed over who
should get jobs offered by the oil companies. Over a dozen people died in these
25, 2007: A dispute over land ownership in the Niger Delta, led to clans of the
Ogoni tribe to mobilize and battle each other. At least ten people are dead,
and over 200 homes burned down.