Essence du Bénin

PhotographerJavier Corso
PrizeBronze in Press / Feature Story
Entry Description

In Benin, a country bordering Nigeria, a vast network of illegal trafficking of Nigerian petrol exists. Benin does not have enough petrol stations to cover the population. It also cannot compete with Nigerian petrol prices, as Nigeria is the leading producer of petrol in Africa. From this need emerged a lucrative business opportunity. Four decades ago, Beninese traffickers started to buy petrol in Nigeria to sell it in roadside stalls around the country, at a price lower than it is in the stations. The trafficking bosses have reached a lot of power in Benin. Politicians and police have surrendered to them. Many women, people with disabilities, university students and even children depend on this activity. The streets of Porto Novo, the capital, are full of traffickers who transport drums of petrol by motorbike. They are known as “human bombs”, because they often have accidents when the petrol they transport explodes.

About Photographer

Javier Corso is a photographer, founder and director at OAK stories (documentary agency). His photographic work originates from the need to communicate about aspects of the human condition through means of local, smaller-scale stories. Corso began working as a documentary photographer in 2011. His projects have been published, awarded and exhibited worldwide. Among the cultural centers that have hosted and exhibited his projects, the following stand out; The Cervantes Institute in New York, the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts and the International PHOTON Festival in Valencia (Spain).