[DEBATE] : (Fwd) More anti-oil struggle in the Niger Delta
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Thu Oct 26 04:55:06 BST 2006
Villagers shut down Shell oil facilities in Nigeria
LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -- Angry villagers seized three Shell oil
platforms in the volatile Niger Delta on Wednesday, forcing production
to be shut down at each, the company said.
Royal Dutch Shell PLC officials declined to say how much oil had been
cut off after the platforms were attacked. Chevron Corp. said it shut
down a platform in the area as a precaution.
Shell said in a statement that members of the Kula community living
near Shell's Ekulama 1, Ekulama 2 and Belema oil pumping stations
invaded the facilities Wednesday, accusing the oil giant of failing to
meet the terms of an agreement to provide them aid.
"We had to shut the facilities," the statement said, giving no other
Femi Odumabo, a spokesman for Chevron in Nigeria, said his company
shut down its Robertkiri platform in the same area after protesters
took over the Shell installations.
"Our action was pre-emptive. We shut down because we didn't want them
to take over our facility," said Odumabo.
He said Rivers state government officials in charge of the area were
holding negotiations with the protesters to address their grievances.
It was not immediately clear what happened to the people who were
working on the Shell platforms at the time.
Despite sitting atop much of Nigeria's oil reserves the inhabitants of
the southern oil region remain among the most impoverished in the
country. With little or no influence on the government they frequently
turn to oil companies who run joint ventures with the Nigerian state
with demands for jobs, schools and electricity.
During the past decade, villagers have often stormed oil facilities to
protest against oil companies they believe are taking wealth from
their land and giving little back. Most such seizures have ended
This year, armed militia groups who claim to be fighting for similar
causes have increased attacks on oil installations and seized foreign
oil workers as hostages either for ransom or to back demands for more
local control of oil wealth.
Attacks by armed militants in Nigeria's oil region have reduced the
country's oil exports since the beginning of this year.
The Brussels, Belgium-based International Crisis Group said in a
report Wednesday that Nigeria was "faltering," citing violent
political, ethnic and religious unrest sweeping the country as
symptoms of "a deeply flawed" federal system.
Lack of a genuine structure for sharing power has fueled what the
group described as "dangerous rivalries" and aided the emergence of
armed, ethnic militia groups especially in the delta.
Nigeria is Africa's biggest oil producer and the fifth-biggest source
of U.S. oil imports, exporting an average of 2.5 million barrels a
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