Protesters blocked the entrance to a Chevron oil facility in Nigeria’s restive Niger Delta on Wednesday, demanding jobs and housing, a protest leader said.
“Chevron has not fulfilled many of its promises,” said Collins Edema, a youth and protest leader in the Ugborodo Itsekiri community in Delta state, home to Chevron’s Escravos oil depot.
Edema said the facility had been blocked and that more than 300 people, mostly local unemployed youths, had joined the protest, but Reuters could not confirm that figure.
He said the U.S. oil major had previously promised to create jobs for young people from the impoverished area and also provide new accommodation after housing next to the depot had been “destroyed” due to Chevron’s activities. He gave no further details.
Communities in Nigeria’s southern swampland often complain about oil pollution and houses being moved so oil drilling can take place.
“Our protest will continue until Chevron listens to our demands. We at Ugborodo are urging other Itsekiri communities to follow suit and shut down Chevron activities in our communities,” Edema said.
Chevron confirmed a protest had taken place but did not say whether oil production had been affected.
“Some members of the Ugborodo community gathered at one of the gates of our Escravos facility,” the U.S. company said in a statement. “We continue to engage with the protesters and other key community leaders and stakeholders, including the Delta State Government, and hope for a resolution of the situation shortly.”
The Niger Delta region has been hit by a wave of militant attacks on oil and gas pipelines, reducing the country’s crude output by 700,000 barrels a day, according to state oil company NNPC.
The militants say they want a greater share of Nigeria’s oil wealth – which accounts for around 70 percent of national income – to be passed on to communities in the impoverished region and for areas blighted by oil spills to be cleaned up.