Blood and Oil: Chevron, Clinton, and Crimes Against Humanity in Nigeria

by The Africa Fund
New York, New York, United States
February 2000
2 pages
Type: Report
Coverage in Africa: Nigeria
Coverage outside Africa: United States
Language: English
The report says after less than nine months in office, Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo has resorted to wholesale repression in an effort to crush continuing resistance to corporate and government abuses in the impoverished and polluted Niger Delta oil fields. The report says on October 28, Nigerian troops attacked unarmed demonstrators in the village of Choba who were protesting discriminatory hiring practices by the Oklahoma-based Wilbros pipeline company; over two days of terror the soldiers reportedly killed four people and raped over 60 women; the Obasanjo government denied the rape charges even after photographs of the assaults were published in a leading Nigerian newspaper, but Nigerian and international human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, confirm that the killings and gang rapes took place. The report says three weeks later, following the murders of a dozen policemen in and near the Bayelsa state capitol of Yenagoa, a heavily armed contingent of troops entered the town of Odi, indiscriminately killing between 50 and 100 of the community's 15,000 residents and sending the survivors fleeing into the bush. The report says the atrocities in Choba and Odi are the most recent incidents in an escalating conflict between the oil producing communities and Chevron, Shell, Mobil and their Nigerian government business partners; in May 1998 Chevron flew in Nigerian troops to end a peaceful occupation of an oil platform by local residents seeking negotiations with the company over local grievances. The report says in the face of mounting, and sometimes violent, opposition from the oil producing communities, the oil companies have demanded an expanded security presence in and around their production facilities. The report says for decades the oil companies have operated behind the bayonets of successive Nigerian military dictatorships-returning nothing to the communities in which they operate except pollution, repression and desperate poverty; there is an urgent need to address the legitimate demands of the peoples of the Delta for environmental protection, economic justice and political inclusion; the Obasanjo government, however, dependent on oil exports for 95 percent of its hard currency earnings and 80 percent of its budget, has failed to open a dialogue with the oil producing communities. The report says earlier this week Defense Secretary William Cohen returned from a weeklong trip to Africa designed to expand and strengthen US military programs in Nigeria and other countries. The report asks people to contact their Congressional Representative and Senators today and urge them to oppose US military ties to Nigeria until those responsible for the atrocities in Odi and Choba are arrested and charged, and the Obasanjo government opens a good faith dialogue with the oil producing communities on a new and just dispensation; ask your Representative to join Reps. Dennis Kucinich, Maxine Waters, Donald Payne and others in demanding a Congressional investigation into Chevron's human rights and environmental practices in Nigeria. The report discusses the Corporate Council on Africa, Ambassador David Miller, the Clinton Administration, counterinsurgency training by U.S. Green Berets, General Sani Abacha, and human rights. • Chevron Complicit in Killings • Washington Ignores Abuses • You Can Help Stop the Killing in Nigeria!
Used by permission of Africa Action (successor to The Africa Fund).
Collection: Private collection of David Wiley and Christine Root