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Nigeria: Shell Workers Held Over Electricity Demands by Community

4 April 2012

ABOUT 1,000 protesters have blocked the waterways in the Niger Delta to prevent oil giant Shell workers from reaching its oilrigs.

The protesters on the boats reportedly held fourteen members of Shell staff. Efforts to reach the oil giant’s spokesman for comments proved abortive.

However, Agency reports quoted Jonathan Omongu, leader of the youths, as saying the protest was a warning to the oil giant that the Nembe Island community wanted electricity, potable water and other basic amenities.

Some workers aboard three seized Shell boats are also being held, but would not be harmed, Omongu said.

Alabo Nengi James, the chairman of Nembe town’s oil and gas Committee told the BBC that the protest follows a meeting between the community and Shell that ended in a deadlock on Monday.

He said despite the area’s oil-wealth, the community has little to show for it and the residents want electricity, water and schools to be built by Shell.

The incident is, however, believed to be one of the misguided attacks against Shell by communities in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.

Shell has four flow stations and two oilrigs in Nembe Island – one of the largest communities in the oil-producing zones of Bayelsa State.

For several years, bombings and kidnappings by militants in the Niger Delta – fighting for more rights and a share of oil wealth for people from the oil-rich region paralysed the oil industry.

The insurgency abated only three years ago when the militants accepted Federal Government amnesty programme. Last month, unidentified gunmen in the creeks around Nembe Island killed four soldiers and four policemen.


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