Over 20,000 Women of Egi (in Rivers State) Protest Against Elf Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria
Over 20,000 women yesterday, 23rd November, 1998 filed out in protest
against the Elf Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria limited
for immediate removal of one of elf contracting company staff, Joseph
Waibi, who has been responsible for several human rights violations
in the area by using armed mobile policemen to arrest, detain and torture
innocent community people and for the non release of an environmental
impact assesment on the gas plant project before building it and for
some social amenities.
The protest stated as early as 5.00 pm and saw the women blocking the
entrance to the gas plant site for better half of the day. No serious
casualties are reported as a result of the protest.
On 21 September, some 5000 of these women had protested against the
company for the same reasons and against high handedness of the security
people againt the Egi people. That protest led to some casualties
in which some persons were shot by mobile policemen. This hangered the
youths of the community who reenforced and resulted in some violence of
the company against the entire community and caused the youths to ransacke
the company. The company later prompted the Nigerian mobile police
force to arrest and detain several persons amongst them 21 youths including
a law student, of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology,
Port Harcourt. Those youths remained in detention for over 2 months
without trial until the ND-HERO filed a suite at the high court before
the police was force to charge them to court were they were granted bail
There has been rising discontent about Elf''s operations in Egi land.
And this has led to serious human rights violations.
The Egi Women sent a letter to Elf on November
23, with 12 demands to improve the operations of Elf and the living conditions
of the Egi. Elf did not respond, but one of it's subcontractors, Ponticelli,
agrees to one of the women's 12 demands. Elf has refused to comment on
other issues raised in the demands of the women. It is necessary to impress
on the Elf company to dialogue with the local community people rather than
using force and prompting the Nigerian mobile police to arrest, detain
and torture innocent villagers.
THE ANGER OF EGI WOMEN
23RD NOVEMBER, 1998
On the 24th of September, 1998, Egi Women in a negotiation
meeting with management of Elf Petroleum (Nig) Ltd and their "CHARTER OF
DEMAND" presented, demand among other's
(1) The immediate removal and deportation of Mr. Josep
Wehaibe and removal of Mrs. B. D. Adele for their high-handedness and mal-treatment
of Egi people at the Obite Gas Project (O.G.P.) These officer's were redepolyed accordingly
by the Company but unfortunately reliable sources confirmed that Mr. Joseph
Wehaibe who Nicodumiously has being snesking into the Obite Gas Project
(O.G.P) premises has now being officially appointed and posted as the Security
Manager of Obite Gas Project (O.G.P) This is un-acceptable and a dis-respect
of Egi people by the management of Ponticelli (Nig.) Ltd and Elf Petroleum
(Nig) Ltd respectively. Egi Women vehemently oppose this development.
(2) Electrification of the whole Egi communities from
the Elf base camp at Obagi must be complied with
(3) Provision of pipe-borne water for the whole
Egi communities and extension of the existing one's must be complied with.
(4) Immediate removal or retirement of Mr. Bakare
- The Security Manager in Port Harcourt District must be complied with
(5) All contracting companies should give way for
an Egi people to participate in the contract processes.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
(6) All already awarded contract's at the O.G.P
must be reverted to Egi indigenes.
(7) The two newly employed Egi Welders and others
must proceed immediately to France for their training.
(8) All other demands as contained in the EGI WOMEN
MOVEMENT "CHARTER OF DEMAND" must be complied with.
(9) The EGI WOMEN MOVEMENT hereby demands the redeployment
of Mr. A. A. abolarin immediately.
(10) The 1993 Agreement between Egi people and Elf should
be implemented immediately.
(11) Termination of the Security contract awarded to
Douglas Veteran Security Nigeria Limited which was brought in by Mr. Joseph
(12) The immediate release of the Environmental Impact
Assessment (E.I.A) Report of the Obite Gas Project, without which the project
cannot continue. The Port Harcourt District of Elf Petroleum has
been very insentive to our plight.
(13) Until these Demands are met Obite Gas Project (O.G.P)
operations should stop functioning till further notice.
(14) On 24th September 1998 Negotiation we stand
FOR THE EGI WOMEN MOVEMENT:
1. Mrs. Ego Sam Elenwa, Co-ordinator
2. Mrs. Gold Igwe, Asst. Sec.
3. Mrs. Dimkpa Akwunjori, Spoke's Person
4. Chief Mrs. V. C. Elenwa, Exe Naanyi Egi
PONTICELLI NIGERIA LTD
O/Ref Date: Monday, November 1998
Attention: Mr. Jacques HERICHER
RE: OML 58 OBITE GAS PROJECT CONTRACT EPNL 065
Further to information received from site and as an answer
to the express request of demonstrators, we PONTICELLI Management have
decided that Mr. Joseph WEHAIBE will not return on site as from now and
for the duration of the project.
Please pass this information, to whom it may concern.
For: PONTICELLI NIGERIA LIMITED
cc: Fedrick RIJENS
THIS HAS BEEN A REPORT OF THE ND-HERO HUMAN RIGHTS MONITORING GROUP
no copy right is reserved except by way of acknowledgment of ND-HERO.