The Niger River Delta — 42,000 square miles of wetland that is home to 7 million Nigerians — has been ravaged by five multinational oil companies extracting 2 million barrels of crude oil per day from the area. From 1986 to 1996, oil spills equal to 10 Exxon Valdez disasters fouled rivers and jungles in the region, according to a study commissioned by the CIA. Even the multinationals admit that spills continue today. Clean-up efforts and compensation have been slow to come from the companies. “The oil companies must and should be subordinate to the people. Right now they are lords and masters,” says Oronto Douglas, who works at the Nigerian advocacy group Environmental Rights Action.