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Saturday, 17 August, 2002, 12:58 GMT 13:58 UK
Oil firm angry at Nigerian protest
The women display their list of demands
Little oil wealth is passed down to local communities

The oil company Chevron has reacted angrily to the invasion of one of its oil platforms in Nigeria by a group of around 30 members of a local community, many of them women.

During a series of similar incidents in the area in recent weeks, protesters have been demanding jobs and development assistance for the surrounding villages.

But a statement issued by Chevron has made it clear that a generous deal was struck just last week with other nearby communities.

It says Chevron is not responsible for the livelihoods of these latest protesters as well.

Potential hostages

The protesters arrived in boats and took over this latest platform in the swamps of the Niger Delta without resistance.

Chevron had already evacuated its staff and shut down production so as to prevent what it described as a potential hostage situation.

Protesters at Abiteye station
This is the fourth such protest in a month
It is the latest in a series of protests over the past few weeks, largely by women, which have severely disrupted the company's output.

Chevron's reaction to this latest incident is a clear measure of their deep frustration.

It says these protesters are not entitled to support as they are not from a recognised host community.

Only last week, Chevron says, it signed a generous deal with its long-standing community partners in the area, addressing employment and development concerns.

Impossible situation

Oil companies such as Chevron operating in the Niger Delta find themselves in an impossible situation, largely of their own making.

In selecting one community to assist in this way, they create frustrations and jealousies in the others not receiving benefits.

This part of Nigeria is extremely underdeveloped.

And increasingly, the aim of the more effective aid organisations has been to get away from this divisive form of assistance and towards more sustainable, even-handed forms of development.


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