Protesters Briefly Occupy Chevron's Office in Southern Nigeria

Want jobs and social amenities

Demanding jobs and social amenities for their oil-rich part of Nigeria, protesting youths briefly occupied Chevron's office in the city of Warri, a company spokesman said Oct. 3. "It was a brief occupation. The issue has been resolved and the boys have left," Tope Idowu said.

Local media said around 300 unemployed Itsekiri youths on Oct. 2 stormed the company's main office in Warri, one of the oil cities in the south, and barricaded the entrance to prevent workers from entering. The papers said the youths were demanding jobs and provision of facilities for the under-developed Niger Delta, where several foreign oil majors operate amid deep poverty for local people.

The delta, a swathe of swamps and creeks and the size of Scotland, is home to Nigeria's multi-billion-dollar oil and gas industry, but the majority of its inhabitants live on less than one dollar per day. The situation has fanned regional agitation and unrest by various militant groups seeking a higher share of the country's oil wealth, while some attack facilities and kidnap hostages for ransoms.

More than 200 foreign and local workers have been kidnapped in the past two years in the region, but were released unhurt after days or weeks in captivity, while dozens of Nigerian security officers have been killed.

Chevron is Nigeria's third largest operator, but the west African country has lost a quarter of its daily output of some 2.6 million barrels at peak production level to the unrest.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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