Double, Double, Oil and Trouble
Violence and acts of sabotage against the oil industry are escalating in Nigeria, where poor citizens are protesting environmental destruction caused by oil companies and demanding a fair share of the vast riches being sucked out of the ground. Community activists, fed up with the air and water pollution that harms fishing and farming, stage frequent attacks against petroleum facilities, kidnapping workers and sabotaging pipelines. Last year, 497 cases of vandalism were reported, up from 57 the year before. Police and soldiers have responded with deadly raids, razing a village last November. Human rights groups estimate that hundreds of people have been killed in clashes with the police. The state Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. has threatened to fund a police unit authorized to shoot saboteurs on sight.