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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

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    Location: The mouth of being

    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Tuesday, June 24, 2008

    Nigeria's oil wealth shuns the needy

    The way oil wealth is managed in Nigeria is one of the key issues facing those living there.

    The government and oil companies have profited by hundreds of billions of dollars since oil was first discovered.

    Yet most Nigerians living in the oil producing regions are living in dire poverty.

    The oil region in Nigeria seems to be stuck in a time warp, with little real change since oil was discovered 45 years ago.

    Away from the main towns there is no real development, no roads, no electricity, no running water and no telephones.

    Most people are struggling to survive on less than $1 a day.

    People who live in the Niger Delta blame the oil companies for this shocking state of neglect, particularly Shell Petroleum Development Company, which produces most of the country's oil.

    The heart of Shell's operations is Port Harcourt, a small coastal town which actually smells of oil.

    Donald Boham, Shell's external relations manager, explained why the delta region has been ignored for so long;

    "We've had a good number of years of military rule in this country, where the government - for one reason or another - failed to address the need for development in the Niger Delta and that has put a lot of pressure on the oil companies to try and fill the gap that the government has created.

    "Last year for example, we spent $60m on community development intervention activities, which represented about 3% of the entire joint venture budget."

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