The Niger Delta crisis is coming to an audience of millions as BBC 2 screen the long anticipated and award-winning drama, ‘Blood and Oil’ on prime time television.
Guy Hibbert’s tense thriller (starring Naomi Harris (28 Days Later), Johdi May (Defiance) Patterson Joseph and David Oyelowo) follows two women as they investigate the circumstances that led to the deaths of four hostage oil workers and their militant captors in the oil-rich Niger Delta.
A fictitious oil company, ‘Krielson International’, stands in as a thinly veiled corporate giant, whose corrupt deals and failed development projects infuriate local communities.
Without giving too much away, the oil company, Krielson, and the Nigerian military are profiting hugely from illegal practice of oil bunkering, at the expense of local communities and ultimately risking the lives of their own workers.
It may sound like a thriller plotline, but it bears a striking resemblance to real life events in the Delta, and in particular one of the darker chapters of former President Obasanjo’s repressive rule of Nigeria.
As scholar and author Ike Okonta writes:
Okonta interviewed Oboko Bello, an Ijaw civil-society leader who traced a clear chain of command between Shell and the soldiers who murdered the boatful of MEND insurgents and Shell workers:
Then, as now, the Delta is betrayed by broken promises and military violence. With no end in sight to the devastation of the ecosystem and the ongoing exploitation of Nigeria’s oil, it is unlikely that the wider drama of the Delta’s will end as upliftingly as Hibbert’s movie.