Take it from ExxonMobil. Over the past week in Nigeria, an industry source tells Reuters, fully 100,000 barrels of oil have been leaked from an Exxon pipeline — an amount that easily outstrips the (estimated) 94,000 barrels that have so far inundated the Gulf. The pipeline's reportedly now been mended, but in the meantime, Exxon's faced virtually no pressure to give any details about the damage involved, or the nature of any clean-up work it intends to pursue.
What bothers me most about this is not some throwing up of hands in helpless despair and complaining about double standards. I'm most concerned with how this affects Nigeria's ability to fight injustices and be for civil liberties as a people. In order to get angry about violations to one's rights, it must feel relatively new to us. You cannot be outraged about the loss of your civil liberties and human rights if it happens to you on a daily basis. For far too many people on the African continent, violations that will not be tolerated elsewhere have lost their element of surprise.