DELTA NIGERIA - THE RAPE OF PARADISE by George Osodi
For more than five centuries the fortunes of the Niger Delta have been closely tied to that of the global economy. For its slave ports, then palm oil industry, and most recently, through the discovery of crude oil in the 1950s. Oil multinationals soon came to the fore, working in alliance with a local elite to strip the region of its wealth and despoil it. At the receiving end are the region's impoverished inhabitants: left with a poisoned environment, faced with a government that never cares and victims of rival armed militant groups laying claim to territories.
George Osodi is an internationally acclaimed Nigerian photographer, who has spent over six years documenting his country, hoping to bring attention to not only the rest of the world, but the people of Nigeria, what is happening. A country still so rich in natural resources and beauty, but where many of its people have been left with nothing.
Oil was first discovered in the Niger Delta in the 1950s, and soon after a powerful international oil industry developed in the region. Nigeria today is the world’s 5th largest exporter of oil to the US. However, the people that live in this oil-rich land are poor, and the environment that surrounds them is deadly: oil leaks and explosions abound, whilst the water supply is heavily contaminated.
In recent years, local guerrillas in balaclavas and speed boats, armed with enormous rounds of ammunition, have taken on the oil companies. They demand the right to live in their own clean and unpolluted land, and that the delta is restored to it’s former environmental richness.
These dramatic images document for the first time the extent of environmental damage and the daily conditions the people living there are forced to endure, revealing not only to the world, but also to Nigeria itself, what exactly is happening in their country... a nation where riches are being taken from the land and very little given back to the people.