mend1They are two moments in history, intricately linked, although poles apart. Today Peter Voser,  the chief executive of Shell, outlines the company’s financial and production strategy for the coming year.

Once again Nigeria was mentioned as a key country where the company had added strategic reserves.

“These are exciting times for Shell”, said Voser. “We are poised to deliver a new wave of financial and production growth.”

Quite how much of this growth will come from Nigeria remains to be seen. For the last fifty years, Shell’s and Nigeria’s futures have been intertwined.

However as the violence spreads in the Delta and elsewhere in Nigeria and the country limps along in a political vacuum, influential voices are warning that the country is on the brink of collapse.

Thousands of miles away from Voser’s polished presentation, Wole Soyinka, the Nigerian Nobel peace prize novelist warned that Nigeria is close to breaking up and had become a failed state.  He said the leadership of the country has descended into a “theatre of the absurd”.

Soyinka’s warnings came soon after ther Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) – the leading militant group in the delta region – set off two car bombs, in the government building in the southern oil city of Warri, where talks were being held about implementing an amnesty programme.

Mend said the explosions were meant to “announce our continued presence”. The group warned that it plans renewed attacks against the oil industry in coming days. Officials from the Delta states had been meeting in Warri to discuss implementing the terms of an amnesty programme launched last year.

Soyinka defended the “real militants”, whom he said had a right to take on the government over decades of neglect, rights abuses, environmental crimes and theft of resources.

Mr Soyinka said Nigeria had a failing “neocolonial constitution”: one that has historically supported the oil industry and not the people.

But don’t expert Peter Voser to admit that in his presentation today.


  • Mend has been threatening to resume terrorist activities against Shell and other oil companies. They were promised amnesty and improvements in the way oil is produced and shipped. More oil is spilled in Nigeria each year than has been released to the ocean from the BP oil platform. Something needs to be done and the contracts need to be negotiated to spell out what Shell will do for the envirnment and jobs in the area in exchange for the right to drill.

  • Well he sounds like a communist to me and sounds like he is condoning destruction and terrorism to me. I believe they are wrong by expressing their issue by bombs and riots.

  • Mend was given amnesty on condition of surrendering the weapons and stop the attacks. Having bomb making ability does not really comply with that amnesty provision. I hope that shell and other oil companies do take more environmental care and responsibility and encourage jobs in the area.

  • It sounds like the same story militants dissatisfied because they do not have jobs so they blow up the means of production and money so no one has jobs? What a ridiculous way to protest. Other countries like India have no oil but produce educated people as a resource and are doing better than Nigeria with all its resources.

Comments are closed.