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Thursday, March 11, 1999 Published at 23:18 GMT


World: Africa

US challenges oil companies in Nigeria


The American special envoy to Africa, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, has called on oil companies working in Nigeria to do more to help the people living in the country's oil-producing Niger Delta region.

Mr Jackson, speaking in Lagos at the end of a five-day visit to Nigeria, called for a policy of inclusion, to allow local people to gain greater benefits from the lucrative oil industry.

He also challenged the largest oil company in Nigeria -- Royal Dutch Shell -- to solve environmental problems in the Nile Delta region. A BBC correspondent in Lagos says Mr Jackson's comments will not be well-received by the oil companies who say that they pay high taxes to the Nigerian government, which has the ultimate responsibility to the people of the Niger Delta .

There have been increasing tensions between the Niger Delta communities and the oil companies; kidnappings of oil workers and sabotage attacks on oil installations are a regular occurence.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service



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