Chevron implicated in Nigerian killings

Calling for an immediate suspension of Chevron’s Nigerian operations, a Bay area coalition of environmental, human rights and student organizations held a spirited demonstration in front of Chevron’s San Francisco headquarters on Jan. 28.
The coalition and communities in Nigeria are targeting Chevron because of its ongoing support for Nigeria’s military dictatorship and its complicity in human rights abuses. The demonstrators are calling for the suspension of Chevron’s activities in Nigeria pending a peaceful resolution to the ongoing dispute.
On May 28, 1998, Nigerian troops shot dead two men and wounded many others who had conducted a nonviolent occupation of Chevron’s offshore drilling facilities. Chevron officials have admitted that they transported the troops in company helicopters, and that they called in the Nigerian military.
On Jan. 4, 1999, the Ijaw villages of Opia and Ikiyan were attacked and set on fire. At least three people were killed. According to Environmental Rights Action of Nigeria, “One thing is certain: The soldiers came with Chevron helicopters and Chevron boats.”
Members of the Ijaw, Nigeria’s fourth largest ethnicity, have called for a suspension of oil company activity in their territory and the commencement of dialogue with oil companies and the Nigerian government. Oil accounts for 80 percent of the Nigerian gross domestic product and two-thirds of Nigerian oil emanates from Ijaw territory. As many as 250 peaceful protesters have been killed in the last month as the military is stepping up their attempts to end the Ijaw campaign for environmental justice, human rights and democracy.
The demonstration continues what has been a week of pressure on Chevron in San Francisco. On Monday, more than 50 students from Acalanes High School demanded justice from the corporation that employs many of their parents. Throughout the week, the coalition has organized an informational picket in front of the Chevron building to inform Chevron workers of the activities of their corporation in Nigeria.
“It must be difficult for Chevron management to deal with these demonstrations,” said coalition organizer Anne Rolfes. “They can’t just kill us like they would in Nigeria.”
The coalition includes: the Acalanes High School chapter of Amnesty International, Center for African and African American Art and Culture, Communities for a Better Environment, Global Exchange, International Forum on Globalization, People’s Rights Organization, Project Underground, Rainforest Action Network and the Transnational Resource Action Center.
Shannon Wright,Rainforest Action Network