Less than one month after an agreement was reached between ChevronTexaco and Nigerian women protesting at the Escravos oil terminal in Nigeria’s Delta state, the multinational oil companies of ChevronTexaco and Shell continue to face opposition from native communities, who charge that they exploit environmental resources and neglect the region’s widespread poverty. Late last week, 3,000 Nigerian women from the tribes of Itsekiri, Ijaw, and Ilaje stormed the offices of ChevronTexaco and Shell in the port city of Warri, demanding employment opportunities, infrastructural development, and microcredit lending programs. “All will not be well for the oil companies in our areas until they start treating us as human beings that deserve a good life,” pledged protester B.I. Ugbasanin of the Ilaje tribe.
Protesters vacated the premises after an agreement was reached last week. Meanwhile, several newspapers reported that security forces released tear gas and 10 women were injured and one remains comatose after being beaten. However, both ChevronTexaco and Shell insist the protest concluded without violence.
Multinational oil companies such as ChevronTexaco and Shell handle roughly 90 percent of Nigeria’s 2 million barrel daily production. ChevronTexaco, which exports 500,000 barrels of crude oil from Nigeria each day, is the third largest oil company in the Delta region and the largest in California (its home state). Nigeria, a critical supplier to the US, is the sixth-largest oil producer worldwide.