Footnotes for “Philanthropic violence in Nigeria”

These are the footnotes for an excerpt from the second-half of chapter 10 of The Givers That Take (2021).

[1] Dave Prentis soon received a knighthood from the government for his role in selling out workers and enjoyed serving on the board of directors of the Bank of England between 2012 and 2019, and until his recent replacement Prentis remained in charge of Unison despite the best organizing efforts of rank-and-file trade unionists. Likewise, Prentis’ retrograde politics were tragically exported globally when he was elected as the President of Public Services International in 2010, and he served in this position for the next ten years.

[2] Frances Perraudin and Daniel Boffey, “Unison head faces leadership challenge from the left,” The Guardian, December 16, 2015; Tom Barker, “Another round of suspensions in Labour: we need a party of the working class to take on the Tories,” Socialist Alternative, December 21, 2020.

[3] In mid-2002 the Democratic Socialist Movement observed: “Nothing functions or is functioning as it is supposed to, despite Nigeria’s super-abundant natural and human resources. At the same time, you have opposition parties that are completely indistinguishable in all essential features from the PDP, which they all, individually and collectively, wish to remove from power. And most unfortunately, you have a labour movement led, at best, by elements who generally make a correct analysis/critique about the inherent failure of the capitalist system, but permanently shy away from adopting the necessary political and economic strategy that can bring an end to the system which has turned life into a permanent nightmare for most ordinary people.” DSM, Nigeria: Civil Rule in Danger (DSM, August 2002).

In spite of the many barriers including vote rigging, Lanre Arogundada, the Marxist senatorial candidate for the NCP in Lagos West, still managed to get a commendable 77,000 or 9.4% of the votes counted during the April 2003 elections. A DSM member who did well in these elections was Ayodele Akele who stood in the Agege constituency gaining 15% of the votes.

[4] Gani Fawehinmi, “The role of the election tribunals,” The Guardian (Nigeria), May 2, 2007. On July 24, 2006, Segun Sango, Lagos Chair of the NCP and General Secretary of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) received an expulsion letter issued “by the Dr. Osagie Obayuwana led national leadership of the NCP.” The takeover of the NCP leadership by right-wing careerists “was based upon the legal requirement for any party wishing to stand in Nigerian elections to have offices in two-thirds of the country’s 36 states and its national headquarters in the federal capital, Abuja. As all these state units had to have representation on a party’s National Executive it meant, in the NCP’s case, that Lagos, the largest and most active state party, was nationally outvoted by people who in reality represented no-one but themselves.” DSM and the Struggle for a Working Peoples’ Political Alternative, p.23.

[5] The Lagos State chapter of the NCP fought back against the undemocratic manoeuvrings of the right-wing leaders, who had also undemocratically imposed a candidate upon their region. The chapter did this by announcing (on March 27, 2007) that they were collectively refusing to participate in the forthcoming general election. With the battle for democracy within the NCP lost, later that year the NCP chapter then decided the time was right to quit the party in order to work towards building a “genuine pan-Nigeria working masses’ political party, committed to the struggle for the betterment of the poor in or out of political power.” After attempts to launch a mass party, in 2012 members of the Democratic Socialist Movement launched the Socialist Party of Nigeria.

[6] Omolade Adunbi, “Embodying the modern: neoliberalism, NGOs, and the culture of human rights practices in Nigeria,” Anthropological Quarterly, 89(2), 2016, p.432.

[7] For a detailed critique of Transparency International, see Julie Bajolle, “The origins and motivations of the current emphasis on corruption: the case of Transparency International,” presented at the International Anti-Corruption Movement’s European Consortium for Political Research Joint Sessions of Workshops, April 25–30, 2006.

[8] General Obasanjo had been imprisoned in 1995 using “concocted evidence heard at a secret trial alleging an offence being committed in Nigeria at a time when he was shown to be in New York attending a board meeting of the trustees of the Ford Foundation” (as Transparency International put it at the time). In later years Transparency International would obtain most of their funding from development agencies, USAID, corrupt corporations like Shell, and billionaires like George Soros.

[9] With the 1999 transition to civilian rule, President Obasanjo’s new regime famously served the needs of international financial institutions like the World Bank: “Hence the dominance of anti-people reform policies that formed the bed rock of [his] administration from 1999 to 2007.” Nigerians were thus compelled to organize their first general strike within a year of Obasanjo’s assumption of power — a militant response by workers which had the desired effect of forcing his government to backtrack on their initial neoliberal ‘reforms’. But with powerful capitalist allies salivating at Nigeria’s plentiful oil reserves — Tony Blair and Bill Clinton being two notable examples – Obasanjo’s administration is best remembered for its unswerving dedication to deregulation, privatization and cronyism. Nkolika Obianyo, “Globalization and democracy in Africa – the Nigerian experience 1999-2007,” Nnamdi Azikiwe Journal of Political Science (NAJOPS), 3(1) August 2012, p.3.

Lucy Baker, “Facilitating whose power? WB and IMF policy influence in Nigeria’s energy sector,” Bretton Woods Project, April 2, 2008. “Deregulation of the downstream petroleum market (refining, supply and distribution) has been a key ingredient of World Bank and IMF policy advice since 1999. The most contentious of the IMF’s structural benchmarks was the sale of the Kaduna and Port Harcourt oil refineries. The process turned into a mockery. The sale was first put on hold due to the difficulty in attracting high quality international investors. Then having been valued at $800 billion, the refineries were sold off during Obasanjo’s last days in office in May 2007 for a paltry $500 million to a consortium close to the president called Bluestar Oil Service Limited. The ensuing protests which contributed to a June national strike saw Bluestar withdraw from the deal and its money refunded.” Although not mentioned in this article one of the key members of this controversial consortium was Dangote Industries.

[10] Omolade Adunbi, “Extractive practices, oil corporations and contested spaces in Nigeria,” The Extractive Industries and Society, 7(3), 2020, p.6. Former Shell vice president Alan Detheridge is presently a board member of Publish What You Pay – a global organization that has includes more than 700 member groups.

[11] Demba Moussa Dembele, “Toronto, Naples, Lyon, Cologne and London: G7 leaders and the debt trip to nowhere,” Pambazuka News, March 10, 2005.

[12] Damien Millet and Eric Toussaint, Who Owes Who: 50 Questions about World Debt (Zed Books, 2013 [2004), p.96

[13] Mike Hall, “The international debt crisis: recent developments,” Capital and Class, 35, 1988, pp.14-5. Although not acted up at the time, the early proposals made in April 1987 by Nigel Lawson, the Tory British Chancellor were, “to a great extent, an acceptance of the inevitable. As Lawson himself recognised `there is no realistic prospect of actually securing anything like full repayment if rates are not reduced’ (The Financial Times, 23rd July 1987).” “While the Lawson plan affects official debt only, it is not, on this count, without potential benefit to Africa’s private creditors. In reducing the burden of servicing the continent’s $200bn. of external debt, the majority of which is official, the plan makes default and interest payment moratoriums less likely on the minority private component of that debt.” (p.14)

[14] Shola Omotola and Hassan Saliu, “Foreign aid, debt relief and Africa’s development: problems and prospects,” South African Journal of International Affairs, 16(1), 2009, p.92. “Available statistics indicate that between 1970 and 2002, Africa received a total of $540 billion in loans and paid back $550 billion — $10 billion more than the original loans — over the same period. Yet, Africa owed $293 billion at the end of 2002.” (p.87)

[15] Iraq was the other country that like Nigeria received huge levels of debt assistance, obtaining an “80% reduction of the Paris Club debt” which had reached a massive $42.5 billion. Victor Okafor, “The Paris Club deal: reason to celebrate?,” Africa Update, XIII (1), Spring 2006.

[16] Aliko Dangote made the bulk of his fortune through Dangote Cement and the active financial aid he received from President Olusegun’s Backward Integration Policy (BIP) in Nigeria which led to the “transformation of Dangote Cement from a trading entity to the dominant cement manufacturing company in Nigeria.” Akinyinka Akinyoade and Chibuike Uche, “Dangote Cement: an African success story?”, African Studies Centre Leiden, ASC Working Paper No.131, 2016, p.6. Other multinational cement manufacturers like Lafarge were able to profit from Nigeria’s privatization of state-run cement industries deregulatory but owing to their foreign ownership were more sensitive to public outrage than Dangote when it came to engaging in corrupt activities in Nigeria. All the same Dangote and Lafarge continue to work closely together. For example, Gbenga Oyebode, who previously served as in-house counsel at Gulf Oil, joined Lafarge Africa’s boardroom last year, and is currently a trustee of the New York based Africa Center that was established as a project between Halima Aliko Dangote (Aliko’s daughter) and Chelsea Clinton (Bill’s daughter). (Since 2019 Oyebode has also served on the board of trustees of the Ford Foundation.)

[17] Omolade Adunbi, “(Re)inventing development: China, infrastructure, sustainability and special economic zones in Nigeria,” Africa, 89(4), 2019, p.666. The Lekki Free Zone is majority owned by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (which owns 60%) of the Lekki Free Zone Development Corporation. The famous human rights lawyer Felix Morka played an important role in overcoming public resistance to the creation of the Lekki Free Zone, and subsequently Morka “joined the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC)–the party in power in Lagos.” (p.669) For more background, see Jeremiah Ikongio,” The cultural protocols of free trade,” e-flux Architecture, “New Silk Roads,” February 2020. A report from August 2019 noted: “Chinese investment in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry has reached $16 billion, according to Nigeria’s state-run oil company.” This investment came via the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). Note that the former CEO of CNOOC from 2003 to 2011 was Fu Chengyu, who then went on to become the chair of Sinopec (from 2011 to 2015) and is presently a board member of a global investment company headquartered in Singapore known as Temasek where he serves alongside the former CEO of Shell (Peter Voser) and the former president of the World Bank, 2007 to 2012 (Robert Zoellick).

[18] “Addax’s man in Nigeria until 2000, Richard Granier-Deferre,” was “fined approximately $200,000 in 2007 by a Paris court as an accessory to Mr. [Dan] Etete’s money laundering.” Eric Reguly, “Off the map in Africa,” The Globe and Mail, January 11, 2008; Will Fitzgibbon, “Secret documents expose Nigerian oil mogul’s offshore hideaways,” Premium Times, July 25, 2016.

Another notable individual who served alongside Oladele on Addax Petroleum’s board room was Brian Anderson, who had been the head of Shell’s Nigeria operations between 1994 and 1997. Anderson is presently the chairman and Managing Director of Anderson Energy (Hong Kong) Limited, a consulting firm for the energy sector, mostly in Africa and China; and he is a board member of Kaisun Holdings Limited.

[19]In the first three days of 2021, China launched its first free trade agreement (FTA) with an African nation,” that country being Mauritius. Wang Cong and Xie Jun, “With first FTA, diplomatic trip, China to boost cooperation with Africa in 2021,” Global Times, January 3, 2021.

[20] Oil companies spent decades opposing the science of climate change and are still acting to slow action to this day. For example, between 1979 and 1998 Shell “supported a campaign to sabotage climate policy” by funding the research of Professor Frits Böttcher who “was a high ranking Dutch scientist, co-founder of the Club of Rome and member of the Scientific Council for Government Policy.” “Smoking gun found hidden in an archive,” Code Rood, February 20, 2020.

[21] Prior to become the new CEO of SEforALL at the start of 2020, Nigerian national Damilola Ogunbiyi obtained $350 million from the World Bank to help launch the Nigerian Electrification Project, an initiative promoting the construction of solar mini-grids and the deployment of solar home systems to meet the needs of Nigeria’s energy deprived.

In 2019 the Rockefeller Foundation launched the Global Commission to End Energy Poverty to contribute towards capitalism new humanitarian mission. Tony Blair joins Damilola Ogunbiyi among the group’s many commissioners, as does Akin Adesina, a central Nigerian intellectual who previously helped push forward an earlier philanthropic ‘aid’ project known as the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. For detailed criticisms of this Alliance, see Timothy Wise, “False Promises: the ‘Green Revolution in Africa’ is failing on its own terms,” Climate and Capitalism, July 14, 2020; also see Wise’s useful book Eating Tomorrow: Agribusiness. Family Farmers and the Battle for the Future of Food (New Press, 2019) which showshow in country after country agribusiness and its well-heeled philanthropic promoters have hijacked food policies to feed corporate interests.”

[22] Overseeing Shell’s contribution to helping the poor access green energy is Nigerian management guru Dr. Wiebe Boer, who in 2010 became the inaugural CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (established by the Nigerian banking giant of the same name) after serving his philanthropic apprenticeship as an Associate Director for the Rockefeller Foundation in Kenya. More generally in recent years oil companies like Shell have begun investing more of their profits in purchasing renewable energy companies, but this still remains a small overall investment. For example, “Shell’s investment target for green energy projects was set between $4bn and $6bn for the period from 2016 until the end of 2020 – but with less than a year to go, The Guardian says the sum is “well below” those figures.” James Murray, “How the six major oil companies have invested in renewable energy projects,” NS Energy, January 16, 2020. During those same four years Shell “more than $120bn developing fossil fuel projects and set out plans to increase its total spending to $30bn a year in the early 2020s.” The lack of urgency in moving away from fossil fuels recently led to the resignations of a number of Shell’s senior executives whose jobs entailed promoting renewables. (Note: in 2019 one of the most ambitious schemes that has backed by the Shell Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation is the CrossBoundary Energy Access, “Africa’s first project financing facility for mini-grids,” which aims to “unlock” more than US$11 billion for mini-grids.)

[23] Lumos Global has been a key partner of international finance institutions keen to invest in the solar field; indeed two years prior to receiving support from “All On” Lumos had obtained a $50 million investment from the US government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation. Since early 2020 Adepeju Adebajo has been employed as the CEO for Lumos Nigeria. She had previously served as the Commissioner of Agriculture in Ogun State and as the CEO-Cement for Lafarge in Nigeria.

Lumos’ cheapest product, Lumos ECO, comes with a 80 watt solar panel and a 200Wh battery set, they offer full ownership “after 48 continuous monthly instalments”. The initial down payment is N22,000 (£42), and 48 months of hiring costs N178,500 (£340). In Nigeria a worker earning minimum wage takes home around N30,000 a month (£57) which is not actually not even paid by most states and private sector employers. In the UK a worker earning minimum wage earns approximately £1,500 a month, and (on average) the cost of providing for an entire household’s gas and electric for a year is around £800 (for a small house/flat that uses 11,000kWh).  Contrast this to Nigeria where to get a tiny fraction of the energy (perhaps around 200kWh) workers must pay N50,000 a year, which is the equivalent of nearly two months pay (on minimum wage).

[24] Ethan Chorin, “Electron rush: why U.S. renewable energy is converging on Africa,” Forbes, May 1, 2017. One UK-based company to benefit from All On’s investments is iKabin, whose Managing Director is a senior executive at PwC UK. However, it is true that homegrown companies have also benefited from Shell’s All On funding, with another up-and-coming outfit being Arnergy Solar, which recently raised $9 million in a round of funding led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures (a funded with more than $1 billion in green investments which is chaired by Bill Gates). Launched in 2014, Arnergy’s current COO (and early advisor) is Stephen Ozoigbo, the founder of African Technology Foundation (a corporation based in Silicon Valley). For some years he has been overseeing the management of the US State Department’s Lions@frica program which had been launched at the 2012 World Economic Forum on Africa. In 2015 Arnergy received earlier backing from the Bank of Industry and the United Nations Development Programme.

[25] Nigeria’s power companies generate only about 4,000MW daily. This means that “Power sector specialists are placing their hopes in mini-grids, independent solar panel systems of up to 1MW capacity — the threshold at which a developer must apply for a full-scale power generation licence — that can power up to a few thousand households.” Emily Feng, “Off-the-grid thinking to end Nigeria’s blackouts,” Financial Times, November 21, 2018.

[26] Julius Alexander McGee and Patrick Trent Greiner, “Renewable energy injustice: The socio-environmental implications of renewable energy consumption,” Energy Research & Social Science, 56, October 2019, p.8.

[27] Hilman Fathonia, Abidah Setyowati, James Prest, “Is community renewable energy always just? Examining energy injustices and inequalities in rural Indonesia,” Energy Research & Social Science, 71, January 2020; Festus Boamah and Eberhard Rothfuß, “From technical innovations towards social practices and socio-technical transition? Re-thinking the transition to decentralised solar PV electrification in Africa,” Energy Research & Social Science, 42, August 2018. In South Africa for instance: “Many poor Africans who were off the grid now have access to electricity, but do not have the money to pay for its use.” Akhil Gupta, “An anthropology of electricity from the Global South,” Cultural Anthropology, 30(4), 2015; C.G. Monyei, A.O. Adewumi & K.E.H. Jenkins, “Energy (in)justice in off-grid rural electrification policy: South Africa in focus,” Energy Research & Social Science, 44, 2018.

One early investigation into emerging energy transitions to cater to the needs of the energy poor in sub-Saharan Africa demonstrated how investment across the whole of Africa “had grown six-fold between 2003 and 2013, respectively from USD$750 million to over USD $4.7 billion.” Most of this investment (around 79%) had been focused on sub-Saharan Africa, “but even that figure was well below the estimated USD $55 billion annual spend required to meet the target of universal access by 2030.” Yet as “most initiatives focus on how to facilitate the creation of energy markets and attract private sector investment” little is being done to address the deeper capitalist explanations of why such systemic poverty and exploitation continue to exist. This led the authors of this study to state that “the number of people without access [to energy] seems to be rising–not decreasing–due to a combination of natural population growth, increase in energy exports, as well as an intensification in demand through urbanization.” Idalina Baptista, “Space and energy transitions in sub-Saharan Africa: understated historical connections,” Energy Research & Social Science, 36, February 2018.

[28] The research found that “51 per cent of Lumos customers live below the World Bank international poverty line of $3.20 per person per day (2011 PPP). In relation to the national rate – 73 per cent of the population of Nigeria live below the $3.20 poverty line – Lumos is reaching a slightly wealthier group. Twelve per cent of Lumos customers are estimated to live below the extreme poverty line of $1.90 per person per day compared to 43 per cent of the Nigerian population…They are generally well educated, with 85 per cent of customers having someone in the household who had attained tertiary level education (polytechnic or university), consistent with the earlier finding that Lumos customers tend to be better off than average.” Insight, “What is the impact of solar home systems in Nigeria?,” CDC Investment Works, March 25, 2020.

[29]Power Africa: A U.S. government-led partnership,” Updated November 30, 2020. For a discussion of the problems inherent in neoliberal approaches to large-scale solar production, see Hamza Hamouchene, “The Ouarzazate solar plant in Morocco: triumphal ‘green’ capitalism and the privatization of nature,” Jadaliyya, May 23, 2016; and Julius Alexander McGee and Patrick Trent Greiner, “How long can neoliberalism withstand climate crisis?,” Monthly Review, April 1, 2020. For a critical review of the privatization of Nigeria’s energy sector, see Sandra van Niekerk, Yuliya Yurchenko and Jane Lethbridge, “Nigeria energy sector transformation, DFID, USAID, and the World Bank,” Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU), 2016. The report notes that the only part of energy provision that remains is public hands are the transmission networks, which are of course in the process of creeping privatization.

[30] Steffen Haag, “Finance for renewable energy in Africa follows colonial roots,” OpenDemocracy, February 10, 2020.

[31] Alagoa Morris en Akpotu Ziworitin and Hilde Brontsema, “Traces of Shell in Nigeria’s oil spills,” Friends of the Earth Netherlands and Environmental Rights Activists, Amsterdam, December 2020, p.7. “Those who perpetrate the spills (often young people) first inform their Shell Nigeria contact by telephone that they are interested in sabotaging some pipelines. They are then given the green light or are requested to wait until a later time. Once the sabotage has been completed, the same Shell Nigeria employees will call these same Ikarama youths and clean-up contractors to arrange a meeting in a Yenagoa hotel.” (p.13)

[32] Neil Munshi, “Why Nigeria struggles to win its security battle,” Financial Times, October 27, 2020. “Extortion is a potent symbol for a state whose modus operandi is the extraction of oil revenue from central coffers to pay for a bloated, ruinously inefficient, political elite. Security is not the only area where the state is failing. Nigeria has more poor people, defined as those living on less than $1.90 a day, than any other country, including India.”

[33] For recent background on the struggles against corporate looters in the energy sector, see Wole Olubanji, “Kick out the profiteers… for a socialist alternative!,” Movement for a Socialist Alternative,  September 21, 2020. On December 8, the same national trade union leaders agreed to a tiny reduction in fuel prices which still put pump prices above before they called off the General Strike. Important to note is that in early September the “cost of fuel at the pump has risen by around 15% in recent days, hitting a record high of 162 naira per litre”. Then after the strike was called off the government further increased the pump price to 168 naira per litre, which then led to a meeting with the union leaders who walked out the meeting happy that the government would reduce the price to 162.44 naira. In the run-up to the December 8 meeting it was reported that “The Nigeria Labour Congress has asked the Nigerian government to revert to the old pump price of N158 petrol or face indefinite strike from workers.” The prices never came down, and yet the NLC failed to initiative any form of stike action.

[34] Dagga Tolar, “Workers must reject the endorsement of deregulation and fuel price hike by Labour’s official leadership: for a 48hrs general strike now!”, Movement for a Socialist Alternative, October 5, 2020. The Labour leaders who called off the general strike were led by Ayuba Wabba (who has been President of the NLC since 2015) and Olaleye Quadri (who has been the President of the TUC since 2017). Notably, for the past two years Wabba has also served as the President of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), a successor organization to the imperialist International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU).

[35] Frankmoore Ike and Ronke Idowu, “Edo organised labour rejects strike suspension by national labour leadership,” ChannelsTV, September 28, 2020.

[36]Unions not consulted on Chevron Nigeria plans to lay-off 1,000 workers,” IndustriALL Global Union, October 15, 2020; “Shell workers determined to overcome Covid-19 challenges,” IndustriALL Global Union, November 6, 2020. Issa Aremu is the vice president of IndustriALL, and he is a member of the executive council of the Nigerian Labour Congress and served as the vice president of the congress during the tenure of Adams Oshiomole. On November 30 Aremu was a member of a IndustriALL delegation (including representatives from NUPENG and PENGASSAN) that visited the site of the new Dangote Refinery to “deepen harmonious industrial relations” with the billionaire. “President of NUPENG, Comrade Williams Akporeha whose Union is seen as a critical stakeholder in the downstream sector of the Petroleum industry on his part extolled the virtues of the President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote… He added that the company should have it behind their back that they have a Labour movement that is ready to collaborate with them to achieve greater and fruitful results in the industry.” Emmanuel Ajibulu, “IndustriALL Global Union pays courtesy visit to Dangote refinery,” NUPENG, November 30, 2020. In keeping with the pro-capitalist orientation of such right-wing trade union leaders it is worth recalling that Mele Kolo Kyari, the current head of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation once served as the NNPC Group Chairman of PENGASSAN from 1997 to 1999.

[37] In other related strike news, in December the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria “declared an indefinite strike over the sacking of 500 workers” by INTELS and one of their subcontractors with the state then intervening to outlaw the strike. INTELS provides logistics services for the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry, and until recently was most famous for counting the former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, among its major shareholders. INTELS most famous owner is the billionaire profiteer Gabriele Volpi, who until recently served on the advisory board of Dangote’s Gateway Partners.

[38] Neil Munshi, “Nigeria’s Buhari overhauls military as security crisis worsens,” Financial Times, January 26, 2021; Editorial Board, “Nigeria is at risk of becoming a failed state,” Financial Times, December 22, 2020.


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