THE RESPITE

Port Harcourt, Niger river Delta, Nigeria

December 2010

The community of Niger River Delta is living these months a period of cease-fire and respite. After the latest attack held by the Mend guerriglia, on the 23th november, where it was distroyed a trunk of pipeline in Obidi, the Nigerian government answered with a big military operation in the area. 150 people were killed, and among them also civilians.

During the latest months of 2010, anyway, despite several efforts from both the sides, nor the Mend got any further on its declared goals, that is to redistribute part of the incomes from oil estraction among local population, nor the government step forward. Its military operations did not accomplish any cease-fire in the guerriglia nor prevented Niger river delta to loose its supremacy among African area in crude petroleum exports.

The latest efforts to stop the war seemed to be arrived to a dead end.

On the front of the big oil companies working in the area, main respondents and absentees in the dispute, news came from the Hague where on 26th January the Royal Dutch Shell was called by the Economic Affairs Committee of the lower house of Parliament after the advocacy groups Friends of the Earth and Amnesty International lodged a complaint with Dutch officials of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development over the responsibility of Shell on the environmental damage of Niger River Delta area.

On 9th April 2011, Goodluck Jonathan, who assumed the interim presidency after the death of Umaru Yar’Adua, will run for the 2011 Presidential elections in Nigeria, and he could become the first President coming from the Delta area.