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2002-07-23

U.S. Oil Giant Chevrontexaco Suspends Some of Its Exports After Lightening Strikes and Women Stage An Unprecedented, Peaceful, 10-Day Occupation

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The US oil giant ChevronTexaco has been forced to suspend exports from its main Nigerian terminal following fire and protest.

Lightening struck one of the crude oil storage tanks at the Escravos Oil Terminal in the western Niger Delta over the weekend, sending the terminal up in flames.

And, in an unprecedented protest, women peacefully occupied four ChevronTexaco oil pumping stations in the Niger Delta for ten days. They demanded that Chevron build schools and hospitals in their villages, employ more of their people and pay cash compensation for the pollution they say has destroyed their fishing industry.

The women maintained control of the terminal by threatening to remove their clothes, a powerful traditional shaming method which would have humiliated Chevron in the eyes of the community.

After days of negotiations, company executives agreed to build schools, clinics, town halls, electricity and water systems in villages of rusty tin shacks. The company also agreed to give jobs to at least 25 residents and help build fish and chicken farms.

Guests:

  • Nnimmo Bassey, Environmental Rights Action in Benin city, Nigeria.
  • Emem Okone, with the Niger Delta Women for Justice in Port Harcourt.
  • Sokari Ekine, international coordinator of Niger Delta Women for Justice and author of "Blood and Oil: Testimonies of Violence from Women of the Niger Delta"

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