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by luna moth
Thursday, May. 05, 2005 at 8:28 PM
The Ogoni and Ilaje people's lives in the Niger River delta were taken too soon by the corporate thugs hired by Chevron-Texaco/Shell..
Several decades of crude oil drilling in Nigeria's Niger River delta has turned the previously healthy ecosystem into a cesspool of pollution. The Ogoni and Ilaje people thrived in the delta for thousands of years and to this day are attempting to maintain their traditional diet of wild rice, fish and other riverlife..
The effect of petroleum drilling and gas flaring is a toxic stew that makes the river's bountiful food inedible. Both Shell and Chevron-Texaco are responsible for this covert toxic attack on the Ogoni people. Ogoni activists like Ken-Saro-wiwa (founder of MOSOP, see linx below) spoke out against the Shell's illegal drilling activities and the pay off of officials in the Nigerian government. In 1995 Ken Saro and eight other Ogoni activists were falsely accused, framed and executed by the Nigerian government..
Chevron-Texaco also participated in the environmental racism against the Ogoni and Ilaje. After a series of severe oil spills and explosions, indigenous activists decided they had enough of the pollution and begun a non-violent protest on a drilling platform. Organizer Bola Oyinbo got the attention of Chevron's execs and a meeting was scheduled. Later Bola was kidnapped by Nigeria's Mobile Police and later was reported dead of a heart attack though he was only 36 and in perfect health..
Chevron Bans Pacifica from Press Conference;
Drilling and Killing;
"The Incident: On May 25, 1998, after repeated unanswered requests for meetings with Chevron
officials to discuss their concerns, approximately 120 youths from the Ilaje community went to a
Chevron offshore drilling facility known as the Parabe platform, where they peacefully assembled,
unarmed, and requested to meet with Chevron officials. For the next two days, they occupied the
platform awaiting the meeting with Chevron officials, a meeting which they were told was being
arranged. During the waiting period, Bola Oyinbo, the leader of the youths, asserts Chevron workers
continued their operations until management instructed otherwise on May 27.15 While Chevron
maintains that their 200 employees were held hostage by the “armed” protesters, evidence and
testimony by Chevron employees suggest that the Chevron employees were in fact free to come and
go from the platform. James Neku, Chevron’s acting head of security in Nigeria who accompanied
the security forces, acknowledged that the youths on the platform were unarmed and that armed
security guards and Nigerian military personnel working for Chevron remained on the platform
throughout the incident.16 In addition, one Chevron employee who fell ill was escorted away by
helicopter without interference from the demonstrators.17
On May 27, 1998, an agreement was reached between the representatives of Chevron and the
representatives of the protesters that there would be another meeting in the village on May 29, 1998,
if the protesters would agree to leave the platform the following day. However, the next day at
dawn, despite the clear agreement by the leaders of the platform protesters to the conditions,
Chevron requested the assistance of Nigerian security forces to stop the protest. In Chevron
helicopters, the Nigerian Navy and Mobile Police—known as the “Kill ‘n’ Go”—accompanied by
Chevron personnel, fired upon the demonstrators, killing two people, Jolly Ogungbeje and Arolika
Irowarinun, and seriously injuring two others. Parrere, one of the demonstrators shot by the military,
believed that when the helicopters came that the “…people inside might be Chevron’s reps who were
actually coming to dialogue.” But instead, “[when] they were about to land we heard shooting of
tear gas and guns.”18 While Chevron maintains that the youths were killed after trying to disarm the
troops, there is circumstantial evidence to suggest the opposite is true—namely, that the military shot
the youths from behind.
Eleven youths were taken to the Chevron facility and later to Akure, the capitol of Ondo State, where
the State Intelligence and Investigation Bureau questioned and detained them. They were released
on June 22, 1998, without charge. Bola Oyinbo, the leader of the group, reported torture while in
detention, including being hung by his handcuffed hands from a ceiling fan hook. Oyinbo asserts
that he was tortured by the Nigerian military and/or police at the “urging, request or suggestion of
Chevron, both in writing and verbally” in order to confess to crimes that he had not committed
during the protest.19 In an interview with a US non-governmental delegation in September 1999,
Oyinbo said that while in custody soldiers told him that, “Chevron promised them each 10 thousand
Naira (0) to come and do the shooting.”20 Mr. Oyimbo also said that after he had spoken to
lawyers from the US, Chevron offered money (700 thousand Naira—or 00) to members of his
community so that they would not speak to his lawyers.21
Chevron acknowledges that its pilots operated the company’s helicopters and its chief of security
accompanied the troops in the helicopters. Nevertheless, Chevron claims its only action against the
occupation was to call the federal authorities to inform them of the incident, which it asserts it was
obligated to do by law. However, in an interview with Pacifica Radio’s Amy Goodman, a
spokesman for Chevron Nigeria, Sola Omole, confirmed that Chevron had authorized Nigerian
troops and hired armed security forces to fly by helicopter to Chevron’s offshore platform where the
protesters were assembled."
above in quotes from;
Beginning in 1991 Condoleeza Rice sat on Chevron's board of directors and influenced the process of extraction in Nigeria's delta. In 1993 Chevron named an oil tanker after her, no small feat. Ms. Rice certainly played her part in covering up the murder and ecocide of the Ogoni/Ilaje people and their riparian homeland. Her powerful position of US Secretary of State and financial sucess is mirrored by her lack of ethics in the treatment of the Ogoni/Ilaje people. Her current seat alongside the other wealthy oiligarchs of the Bush regime shows her heart lies with money, not compassion for Africa's indigenous peoples. Whether or not she is found guilty of war crimes along with her cohorts, Condoleeza will fall from her position of deception and drown in the toxic memories of her crimes against the indigenous Africans. Condoleeza is no role model for the youth, only a heartless financial wizard recorded by history as a tyrant's enabler..
The Ogoni, Ilaje and other indigenous African people await the end of the oil drilling and restoration of the delta ecosystem. When the fish and wild rice returns, friendly people may be welcome to visit the lush rainforest delta and learn the lifestyle of the Ogoni and Ilaje people..
Info on Ilaje and Chevron-Texaco;
Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People;
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