Nige­ri­ang pprotesters storm Chevron fa­cil­ity

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

WARRI — Hundreds of pro­test­ers stormed a Nige­rian fa­cil­ity owned by Chevron on Wed­nes­day de­mand­ing bet­ter jobs and forcing staff to be air­lifted out, com­mu­nity lead­ers said.

Pro­test­ers from Ug­borodo vil­lage, which is close to Chevron’s Escravos ter­mi­nal, want the com­pany to re­lo­cate more of its Nige­rian of­fices to the south­ern Delta state to se­cure work for peo­ple liv­ing in the oil­pro­duc­ing swamp­lands.

“Our peo­ple are ca­sual work­ers in their own land,” Collins Edema, pres­i­dent of the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of It­sekiri Grad­u­ates, a com­mu­nity group said.

Speak­ing from the fa­cil­ity, Ofe Nene said that “400 pro­test­ers” were in­side the Chevron yard while hundreds of oth­ers were out­side.

“We have been here since yes­ter­day and will con­tinue to be here for as long as pos­si­ble un­til Chevron gives in to our de­mands,” said Nene, a youth leader.

Chevron work­ers were evac­u­ated from the fa­cil­ity in he­li­copters and planes, said a se­cu­rity staff mem­ber.

“A plane just landed 40 min­utes back to con­tinue evac­u­a­tion of top staff,” he said.

“This is in ad­di­tion to other staff who were ear­lier evac­u­ated with the use of chop­pers.”

Ug­borodo vil­lagers have a his­tory of stag­ing protests against Chevron. Their com­plaints - fo­cus­ing on jobs, com­mu­nity development and pol­lu­tion - have stayed the same over the years.

In a fa­mous 2002 protest, hundreds of Ug­borodo women de­mand­ing more jobs staged a peace­ful protest at Escravos last­ing days.

To­day protests aren’t the only headache for oil com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing in the re­gion. This year has seen an in­crease in at­tacks on oil in­fra­struc­ture by armed mil­i­tants de­mand­ing greater po­lit­i­cal au­ton­omy for the re­gion and a big­ger cut of oil rev­enues.

A new mil­i­tant group named the Niger Delta Avengers has claimed a series of at­tacks that have stran­gled Nige­rian oil pro­duc­tion at a time when the govern­ment des­per­ately needs the money to re­vamp di­lap­i­dated in­fra­struc­ture and fight Boko Haram Is­lamists in the north­east. — AFP

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