“the writer cannot be a mere storyteller; he cannot be a mere teacher; he cannot merely X-ray society’s weaknesses, its ills, its perils. He or she must be actively involved shaping its present and its future.”
Ken Saro-Wiwa (1941-1995)
The Next Gulf – London, Washington and Oil Conflict in Nigeria.
Written By: Andy Rowell, James Marriott & Lorne Stockman
Published by Constable & Robinson
As America and Europe diversify oil and gas supplies away from the volatile Persian Gulf, West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea is set to become its counterweight: “The Next Gulf”.
It is ten years ago that the Nigerian government executed activist and author Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight of his Ogoni compatriots. Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni were campaigning against the oil giant Shell and for a greater share of the country’s vast oil wealth. Their deaths brought the plight of the Niger Delta and the role of the oil companies, such as Shell, to the attention of the world.
Ten years on the region could ignite once more. Post 9/11, the Gulf of Guinea is seen as strategically important to the US and its allies. Washington wants their oil and gas resources, to be protected by US military might. Pitted against them are the people of the Delta, who have received little benefit from oil. They continue to suffer from dire environmental pollution and human rights abuses. Exploiting the oil are Western oil companies – many of whom are now embroiled in corruption or tax evasion scandals.
Andy Rowell, James Marriott and Lorne Stockman set out how a new Atlantic Triangle is being created that ties Britain, America and the Niger Delta together. The first Atlantic Triangle was built on the exploitation of slaves; the second is the exploitation of oil and gas. The authors put forward a set of radical proposals based on voices from the Delta that could break the triangle and ensure that a different development path is followed.
Andy Rowell is a journalist and author, whose previous books include Don`t Worry – its Safe to Eat and Green Backlash. Writers James Marriott and Lorne Stockman are part of the award winning environmental and social justice group PLATFORM