Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Niger Delta Quest - Part Five

Radio Netherlands Worldwide
18 November 2011

Hélène Michaud

It took me a few days to notice the warning posted on the gate of my hotel, and that all cars entering were being searched. Barbed wire on the wall outside my room.

Security measures everywhere. Not that I was afraid, but it just dawned on me how things were different from home, where I could walk anywhere I wanted, anytime. Well, almost anytime. At night in Nigeria, I was grounded in the hotel. Boy, did I look forward every night to that one, cold Star beer!

I thought that the oil capital of Nigeria was here, in Port Harcourt, known as the Garden City (but where's the garden?). But I soon realised it's in Abuja, where the oil money is said to flow into Big Men's pockets, and disappear.


I wonder what the future will look like here. Will improvements in the lives of ordinary people come gradually, or will a Nigerian version of the Arab spring blow winds of change across the country, as someone suggested this past week?

Drawing more parallels, I've been wondering whether there could be a Nigerian equivalent of the 'Delta works' the Netherlands put in place to protect the population in its own river delta, after floods killed 1850 people and left thousands homeless in 1953.

A concerted Delta plan for a good life for all in the Niger Delta.

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