Bronze / 2016 / Press / Feature Story
Essence du Bénin
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.
Javier Corso is a photographer, founder and director at OAK stories. His photographic work originates from the need to communicate about human condition through means of local, smaller-scale stories.
Corso began working as a storyteller in 2011, publishing in media like National Geographic, AlJazeera, TIME Lightbox or GEO. Among the cultural centers that have exhibited his projects, the following stand out; The Cervantes Institute in New York and the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts. His work has been recognized by the International PHOTON Festival, Prix de la Photographie Paris, Moscow International Foto Awards and the World Reporter Award, among others.