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Oil, in today’s world is a blessing in disguise, our insatiable desire for oil has given birth to global warming, wars, and corruption of the highest order. Those who need it most do anything legal and illegal to obtain it, while the countries that produce it benefit little to nothing from it. A walk to the oil producing states will amaze you, while a few get rich, the rest of the masses surfer abject poverty. The next time you drive to the nearest gas station in your neighborhood to refill your tank, stop and think of the number of children on the streets of Niger Delta that are out of school for the gas you need to get to work. Think deeper about the war in Iraq and others wars that have been fought.
Countries without oil think the poverty on their streets is as a result of lack of oil. Those with the oil are blaming it for the poverty, wars and corruption on their streets. Thinking life would have been better, if they had no oil. Running through the pages of the violent twilight of oil, my bones were gripped with pains of constriction. As the author continued his narration it downed on me, that of all the prices people are paying for the oil we are enjoying, none is as demanding as corruption.
Corruption is a very broad term that encompasses fraud, which has to do with stealing through deception, embezzlement, and payments in order to evade justice. Reading carefully in between the lines of the chapter on Nigeria, there is a display of all of the above in the system. Corruption in Nigeria is responsible for the poverty, the kidnappings of the expatriates by the militants, and the war between the militants and the government forces.
The Cost of Corruption
Every individual has a right to fair treatment, and all citizens of a country are to be treated equally. In a situation where government officials in some oil producing countries collect bribes at the expense of development in their communities is an infringement on the rights of the people. On the other hand, those who give the bribes to obtain preferential treatment also infringe on the rights of others, and in this case obtaining oil deals.
Secondly, where corruption is prevalent decision making is biased. A company that is not qualified might secure a contract, simply by the willingness of the company to pay. What this entails is that the poor masses will be the ones to pay for this cost through his prices of goods and services.
Thirdly, when corruption exists within government circles, the political rights of the people are trampled upon. The leaders of such countries will want to stay in government as long as they can in an attempt to conceal their shady deals. This leads to dictatorship as referenced in Equatorial Guinea (Peter 31). And in some cases when the people get tired of their authoritarian states and revolt, the poor are still the ones that pay the ultimate price. Even at that point some western countries still play roles in such crises that are questionable, the recent crisis in Libya is a case worth of note.
A few countries have used oil to their advantage, while other tends to regret its presence. The greed of the largest consumers of this “black gold” is the cause of it all. In a bid to meet their oil demands and develop their own countries, they have rendered millions homeless, toppled governments, pitched the people against non co-operating leaders. The most heart aching of all they’ve rendered our world corrupt.
Peter, Maass.Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil. United Kingdom: Penguin Books Ltd, 2009.