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Thursday, 18 July, 2002, 15:37 GMT 16:37 UK
Nigerian women leave oil plant
Women protestors occupying the Chevron oil terminal at Escravos
Protesters are demanding a fairer share of oil revenues
A United States oil company says Nigerian women who have been occupying some of its oil sites have handed back control of one major oil terminal.


We have enough workers for the moment, and work is gradually returning to normal.

Wole Agunbiade, Chevron spokesman
It follows a deal to end the takeover by unarmed village women who were demanding jobs, schools and investment from the Nigerian subsidiary of ChevronTexaco.

The firm say the plant's 1,100 workers - including Americans and other expatriates - returned to the company's main terminal in Nigeria's coastal Delta State on Thursday.

However, four other pumping stations supplying the main terminal still remained occupied by more women.

New talks

"Some staff have left and others are arriving in the normal way," Chevron spokesman Wole Agunbiade told reporters.

"We have enough workers for the moment, and work is gradually returning to normal."

Home in the Delta
The Delta region is poor despite oil wealth

He said operations were quickly returning to normal at the company's Escravos export terminal, which accounts for close to half a million barrels a day, the bulk of the company's Nigeria exports.

Mr Agunbiade said officials would soon begin talks with hundreds of ethnic Ijaw women who took over four pipeline flow stations earlier this week.

Copycat protests

The stand-off began last week when more than 200 protesters, mainly middle-aged mothers, hijacked the Escravos terminal and blockaded offices, docks and the landing strip.

A week of tense negotiations between Chevron and the community then followed and finally brought the protest at Escravos to an end.

But not before it had inspired women from a nearby area to launch their own hijacking.

On Tuesday, women from the Gbaramatu community seized control of four flow stations designed to pump up to 110,000 barrels of crude to Escravos every day, around a quarter of its capacity.

Police have been deployed in the area, but both Chevron and the authorities have promised that the second stand-off will also be solved through negotiations.

A spokesman for the Delta State government told reporters that the local Nigerian authorities did not support the use of force by the women but was in complete agreement with their demands.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Martha Dixon
"The women have threatened to strip naked"
Sola Omole, ChevronTexaco
"Responsibility for development belongs to the government"

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16 Jul 02 | Africa
11 Jul 02 | Africa
09 Jul 02 | Africa
23 Apr 02 | Africa
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