Eyes on Nigeria

Satellite image of gas flaring in Nigeria, courtesy of The American Association for the Advancement of Science
June 1, 2011

Eyes on Nigeria

*CORRECTION: The Spring/Summer 2011 print edition of Amnesty International magazine omitted the credit for the satellite image shown on page 19: the American Association for the Advancement of Science. We apologize for the error.

Amnesty International focuses on a number of urgent human rights concerns in Nigeria, including extractive industry waste in the Niger Delta, forced evictions in Port Harcourt and Lagos, and communal violence and armed conflict across the country.

These pressing issues, coupled with widespread police abuse and a penal system that each year executes scores of people—including children—offer no shortage of challenges to monitoring human rights violations in Nigeria. By incorporating satellite images, data from other remote sensing technologies, eyewitness testimonies, and photos and videos, Amnesty International’s interactive Eyes on Nigeria website vividly conveys the threats Nigerians face in their daily lives. Although no website can replicate the destruction of a home, the trauma of police brutality, or the corrosive effects of industrial pollution, Eyes on Nigeria seeks to help the rest of the world bear witness to the human rights crises in Africa’s most populous country—home to 2 percent of the world’s population.

Eyes on Nigeria is playing an especially significant role helping AI call on multinational oil companies and the Nigerian government to clean up the Niger Delta, where pollution generated by oil extraction is poisoning hundreds of thousands of people. One major source of the pollution is gas flaring—the burning of excess extraction waste— and affected communities and organizations working to combat oil industry pollution have raised serious questions about its risks to human health. The poorest communities are among the hardest hit, and so far, the Nigerian government has been unwilling to hold oil companies accountable. The website documents the practice’s destructive impact by integrating data collected over ten years to map gas flaring and extractive activity, and it shows the scope of the devastation by overlaying maps with photos taken from on-the-ground locations across the region.

In addition to interactive maps and other materials, Eyes on Nigeria provides in-depth background information on the human rights violations it exposes and allows visitors to take action on a number of issues. AIUSA will soon be accepting photo and video contributions from other AI chapters and activists around the world, to add to the site, creating an even more complete picture of the human rights abuses in the country.

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