Nigeria Oil Workers Hostage Taking & Political Points

Nigeria is one of the countries that are making a mess of their oil resources. There is lack of good management to make them a motor for progress benefiting all the Nigerians, especially those living in production areas. Its oil has had human disasters. Hundreds of people died in oil explosions from pipes as it has been the case this year. There are recurrent kidnapping of oil workers, which are in most cases freed unharmed.

But the latest kidnapping of oil workers turned out in disaster. It ended in the death of a British kidnapped oil worker during a rescue operation by the military. This shows that Nigerian military isn’t trained to deal with such a situation or the kidnappers have strong tactics, which has enabled them to resist the military raid, although they, too, suffered casualties.

Hostage taking shouldn’t be used as a tool for pressure, especially foreigners who have nothing to do with the political situation of the countries where they work. In Nigeria, hostage taking is a form blackmail to put pressure on the central government to comply with the kidnappers’ political demands.

Such kidnapping is a form of economic sanctions on the government as it is sure to scare existing oil workers into fleeing the country and it discourages new ones from coming as a replacement. This can affect production in the same way as a strike, the start of popular unrest or political crises threatening the stability of the country.

But Nigeria’s regional political problems can’t be solved by hostage taking. This can draw attention to the problem. But it is unlikely to bully the government to yield to kidnappers demands as in its views their actions will look as legitimate, encouraging them to carry out more kidnapping. Foreign workers just do the job for which they are paid. The government, whose some officials are accused of oil revenue embezzlement, should be transparent about its deals. It should work for equal wealthy distribution. Oil companies should step up security measures for its personnel.

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