After more than eight days of protest, 600 unarmed Nigerian women who took over ChevronTexaco’s Escravos oil terminal agreed today to end their siege after the company offered to hire at least 25 villagers and to build schools, electrical and water systems. Early last week, the women occupied the terminal and held 700 workers inside to demand that the corporation provide their oil-rich community with jobs and infrastructure development. The women plan to wait until the verbal agreement is put in writing and signed before they withdraw from the facility in southeastern Nigeria. The protest “organized by women between 30 and 90 years of age” has been peaceful. As a show of “good faith,” the women released 200 workers on Sunday. However, they have threatened nudity, a tribal shaming gesture against ChevronTexaco and its workers, if their demands go unmet.
Operations have halted at the Escravos facility, where typical production is half a million barrels per day. Nigerian Official Chief James Ibori, who is governor of the Delta state, expressed sympathy for the women, stating: “There needs to be a change of policy.” He appears hopeful that a peaceful resolution may be reached soon. Nigeria is the sixth-largest oil producer worldwide and is a critical supplier to the US.