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Nigerian Heros

by DuWayne Charles

JULY 19, 2002. Fed up with having to live in abject poverty in the midst of oil riches, hundreds of Nigerian women today stormed four more ChevronTexaco oil producing installations in the Niger Delta, demanding jobs and development aid from the transnational giant. A fifth facility was reportedly under siege.

The new wave of protests is apparently inspired by the 10-day occupation of the Escravos oil terminal by hundreds of other women, which ended today after the company promised to build schools, provide water, electricity and a community center, and help the women set poultry and fish farms to supply the terminal's cafeteria.

The odds that ChevronTexaco will renege or weasel out of the agreement are pretty high, judging from the crumbling concrete shells of unfinished "oil development projects" that litter many impoverished villages in the Niger Delta.

On the other hand, if betrayed, the women could storm again, and siege, and reoccupy — with a vengeance. And the company, which reportedly may be losing $2.9 million a day now due to the protests, could stand to lose even more.

Related link:

For the Human Rights Watch 1999 report, The Price of Oil: Corporate Responsibility and Human Rights Violations in Nigeria's Oil Producing Communities.

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