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Reuters: Shell evacuates families from Niger Delta


21 Dec 2006 08:08:15 GMT

More  LAGOS, Dec 21 (Reuters) – The largest oil operator in Nigeria, Royal Dutch Shell , began evacuating all staff dependants from the Niger Delta on Thursday after militants planted a car bomb in a residential compound, industry sources said.

The evacuation involves about 400 family members from company compounds in Port Harcourt, Warri and Bonny Island, but staff will stay put and oil and gas production will not be affected, the sources said.

Violence and corruption plague a vast nation

Since military rule ended in Nigeria in 1999, at least 14,000 people have been killed in sporadic outbursts of violence across the country and hundreds of thousands have been displaced.

70 percent of population live on less than $1 a day
World’s eighth-largest oil exporter
High risk of unrest ahead of 2007 elections

Conflict often flares up along religious and ethnic lines, but in many cases the root causes lie in unequal access to power and resources, including land and oil wealth.

Nigeria is the world’s eighth-largest oil exporter. Oil has helped fuelled corruption, and Nigerians continue to suffer from high levels of poverty and inequality.

Economic, political and social tensions, especially among jobless youths, can quickly spill over into violence.

Analysts warn there is a heightened risk of unrest in the run-up to elections in 2007.

key facts

According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), calculating the number of Nigeria’s internally displaced people (IDPs) is “very problematic” due to a lack of systematic registration. Hence estimates vary widely.

Number of IDPs 500,000 (Nigerian Government)
200,000 as of November 2004 (U.N. Humanitarian Appeal for West Africa, 2005)
Undetermined (IDMC, 2006)
Total population 134.4 million (U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2006)
Population under age 15 44.7 percent of total, 2003 (UNDP, Human Development Report 2005)
Number of ethnic groups About 250
Largest ethnic groups (percentage of total population) Hausa/Fulani (29 – mainly in the north)
Yoruba (21 -mainly in the southwest)
Igbo (18 – mainly in the southeast)
Ijaw (10 – mainly in the Niger Delta)
Population living on less than $1 a day 70.2 percent (1990-2003 average)
Share of income/consumption, poorest 10 percent 1.6 percent (2003) 
Share of income/consumption, richest 10 percent 40.8 percent (2003)
(UNDP, Human Development Report 2005)
Transparency International ranking (1=least corrupt, 159=most corrupt) 2005: 152 (joint)
2004: 144 and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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