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Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country with an estimated population of more than 200 million people. Previously a british colony, Nigeria conquered its independence in 1960.  Agriculture has been the main activity for centuries, until the vast wealth of oil resources held in deep reservers underneath Nigeria’s soil was discovered in 1956 and became the county’s main product, representing now the 95% of Nigeria’s export. In the last 50 years the control of the vast richness produced by oil and gas brought systematic violence, corruption and mismanagement to the country. An acceptable standard of living is a still a dream for the majority of the people in Nigeria. The life conditions of those populations who live at the borders of civilization, along the nigerian coasts and the shores of the Niger Delta rivers, are under any possible standard of a decent life.  Here is visible the paradox of this country, where the richness produced by the abundance of natural resources does not coincide with a relative economic and social growth for the local population’s benefits, revealing more than anywhere else an uneven distribution in the quality of life. I wanted to address my camera towards those areas where inequalities were more visible, like the fishermen villages in the lagune of Lagos, where people live with less than a dollar a day, hand fishing under the mainland bridge leading  to the city. I photographed the crowed slums of Port Harcourt where scarcity is evident through the high level of poverty, lack of hygiene and the total absence of basic infrastructures. The project took me along the shores of the main rivers of the Niger Delta, where extraction activities and the consequent enormous damages to the local fauna are constantly rising, destroying the basic food resources for a large part of the increasing population. The photographs document the waste along the nigerian ocean coasts, where dozens of huge ships are abandoned every year causing serious pollution damages and obliging local fishermen to stop their basic activities for long periods. An acceptable standard of living is a still a dream for the majority of the people in Nigeria. The richness of the country does not produce any real benefit for the poor communities, increasing instead serious damages in terms of pollution.In these last 50 years civil wars, kleptocracy regimes and an irresponsible lack of distribution of oil wealth, brought the nigerian people to live under a constant twilight, in between the darkness of the present disaster and the light of a clean future.

©2014 by Massimo Sciacca - All rights reserved

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