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2 The Spatialization of Human and Environmental Rights Practices

Omolade Adunbi Indiana University Press ePub

THIS CHAPTER FOCUSES on NGOs’ culture of engaging in practices that create human and environmental rights awareness both within and outside resource-rich communities. NGOs devise programs intended to provide relief for communities whose human and environmental rights have been violated by the state. They present themselves as able to “rescue” the communities from the marauding state. In creating awareness of and promoting human and environmental rights, they not only rely on the language of international human rights declarations, but also use local narratives. In many oil-rich communities, there are narratives that emphasize that oil is a source of wealth promised by the ancestors. In an attempt to gain access to such communities, NGOs have devised ways of inserting this belief into the practice of human and environmental rights. They thus connect local communities to national NGOs, who are in turn connected to the transnational network of NGOs promoting human and environmental rights.

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5 The State’s Two Bodies: Creeks of Violence and the City of Sin

Omolade Adunbi Indiana University Press ePub

THE EAGLE SQUARE, located among Abuja’s major landmarks—the national cenotaph,1 the National Assembly, the Supreme Court, and the Federal Secretariat, the seat of Nigeria’s bureaucracy—was constructed in 1999 to serve as a platform for the inauguration of President Olusegun Obasanjo in Nigeria’s fourth attempt at democracy since independence in 1960. A small stadium with a state box to host important personalities and a popular site for invited guests, it features a view of the Aso Rock Hills, which serve as the backdrop for the presidential villa, known as Aso Rock. The square serves not only as the venue for presidential inaugurations but also as the site of other important national events and celebrations, such as political party conventions, national parades, and anniversaries of independence. Nigeria celebrated the fiftieth of these on October 1, 2010.

The weeklong golden jubilee celebration had been marred by accusations and counteraccusations by government and civil society organizations; many civil society leaders called it a colossal waste of money. Initially, the government had budgeted 16.9 billion ($106.7 million), but President Goodluck Jonathan later reduced this amount to 9.5 billion ($60 million). On the morning of October 1, many Nigerians from different parts of the country, representing various local governments, ethnicities, and cultural groups, gathered at the Eagle Square to await the arrival of the chief celebrant, President Jonathan. His motorcade, comprising more than twenty-five exotic cars, was preceded by fifteen men on horseback dressed as Buckingham Palace guards, and by a police van with its siren blaring. Barricades lined both sides of the road to prevent the crowd from obstructing the president’s entrance into the Eagle Square. Inside, the National Troupe and representatives of the country’s many diverse ethnic groups performed cultural displays to entertain Nigerians and representatives of various countries.

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4 Contesting Landscapes of Wealth: Oil Platforms of Possibilities and Pipelines of Conflict

Omolade Adunbi Indiana University Press ePub

IN OCTOBER 2010, Chevron launched a new global campaign titled “We Agree,” aimed at highlighting what the corporation considers to be “the common ground Chevron shares with people around the world on key energy issues” and “the actions the company takes in producing energy responsibly and in supporting the communities where it operates.” The campaign focused on Chevron’s commitment and leadership in five key areas: growth and jobs, renewable energy, technology, small business, and community development.1As part of the campaign, thirty-second advertisements were shown on major television and cable networks in the United States, in Europe, and around the world. One of them focuses on Chevron’s community development initiatives in Angola. The advertisement, featuring an Angolan student and a Chevron engineer also from Angola, claims that oil corporations are making a difference in Angola by providing jobs, schools, and health-related programs in communities where the corporation operates. It concludes with the student and the engineer agreeing that with Chevron, they are hopeful about their country’s future. This advertisement aired often on the ABC and NBC national networks and their local affiliates, CNN and CNN International, MSNBC, Fox News, and other television stations in the United States.2 Clips are also posted on YouTube and are sometimes returned by an online search for “oil.”

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Conclusion: Beyond the Struggle for Oil Resources

Omolade Adunbi Indiana University Press ePub

AT A COLORFUL ceremony on February 4, 2013, in Abuja, the federal capital of Nigeria, the secretary to the government of the federation, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, nicknamed Mr. Centennial by the Nigerian press, inaugurated the centenary celebration of the amalgamation by the British, on January 1, 1914, of the Northern and Southern Protectorates of Nigeria. The celebration is expected to begin on January 1, 2014, and, with a variety of activities planned, to last the whole year. At the inauguration, the former military head of state, General Abdusalam Abubakar, presented the theme song of the centenary celebration to the public. Composed and performed by Onyeka Onwenu, a popular musician, in collaboration with other famous Nollywood artists, the song, titled “This Land: Celebrating 100 Years of Nigeria,” honors “this land of mine, Nigeria on my mind, born in diversity, standing tall, 100 years of unity, one nation, strong, indivisible and here to stay.”1 The video of the song, posted to YouTube with more than a hundred thousand views,2 features key figures in Nigeria’s fight for independence, such as Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, and Ahmadu Bello; cultural artifacts; rich agricultural produce; Abuja and Lagos skyscrapers; and oil rigs, platforms, and wells.

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7 Proclaiming Amnesty, Constructing Peace: Oil and the Silencing of Violence

Omolade Adunbi Indiana University Press ePub

Militant—75k/month,
Boko Haram—100k/month,
NYSC—19,800/month,
Minimum wage (civil service)—18,900/month.
Choose your career wisely

REMARK COMMON ON THE INTERNET
AMONG NIGERIANS, SUMMER
2013

ON A HOT Sunday afternoon in June 2011 at an elementary school in the Rumuola area of Port Harcourt, many youths had gathered for a soccer game between two opposing teams. The elementary school, like many in the region, is decrepit. There are no windows in the classrooms, the science laboratory exists in name only, and the soccer field is dilapidated. The game was organized by a group of youths, and I had been recruited as a coach for one of the teams. Soccer is my favorite pastime, and I played with many of the good friends I made while doing fieldwork in the Niger Delta. It is extremely popular throughout Nigeria, and often renders ethnic alliances irrelevant. It is only during soccer games that many Nigerians rally around the national flag. Politicians and militants both use soccer games to promote their causes, and games serve as organizing platforms. At the end of every game in the Delta, youths will gather to discuss the conflict in the region.

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