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Villagers hold Nigeria oil plants

Posted by By Anna Borzello on 2004/12/05 | Views: 957 |

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Villagers hold Nigeria oil plants


Representatives of a remote community in southern Nigeria's Delta region have taken over three oil installations.

*The Delta region holds the bulk of Nigeria oil reserves

Representatives of a remote community in southern Nigeria's Delta region have taken over three oil installations.

The plants are run by the Nigerian wing of the Anglo-Dutch multi-national, Shell, and the American company, Chevron-Texaco.

A Shell representative said staff had been prevented from leaving, no formal demands had been made.

But a community spokesman said his people were protesting because they felt they had been overlooked for jobs.

Community protests targeting oil companies in this impoverished region are common.

'Peaceful protest'

Early on Sunday morning, men and women from the Kula community in River state stormed at least three oil installations.

They closed down the Shell-operated Ekulama One flow station and then occupied the nearby Ekulama Two.

The Chevron-run Robertkiri flow station was also affected.

A Shell spokesman told the BBC that at Ekulama Two, 75 Shell staff and their contractors had been told by the demonstrators that they could not leave the premises.

He added that oil production had been affected.

The paramount ruler of Kula, chief Dan Opusingi, told the BBC by phone from Ekulama Two that his people had decided to stage the peaceful protest because they have been overlooked for jobs and development by the oil companies.

Last month, over 80 protesters occupied a rig operated by Shell contractors in neighbouring Delta state and 17 people were injured when soldiers opened fire.

Journalists were later shown the graves of seven men who were reportedly shot dead in the incident, but the army denied that anyone was killed.

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