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Dutch and Belgian Unions Call Boycott of Nigerian Oil

  The following is a press release by the International Federation of
  Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM):
  The Dutch and Belgian unions today called on their members to boycott
  Nigerian oil arriving in their ports of Rotterdam/Europort and Antwerp.
  And American oil workers have been put on alert to block the offloading of
  Nigerian oil reaching the USA.
  The calls are part of a worldwide campaign by the 20-million-strong
  International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers'
  Union (ICEM) to secure the release of Nigerian oil workers' leaders Milton
  Dabibi and Frank Kokori.  Both are being held without charge or trial by the
  Nigerian military regime.
  Most Nigerian oil exports go to the USA, where ICEM-affiliated oil, chemical
  and atomic workers' union OCAW has alerted its members to the boycott campaign.
  Europe is a further major destination for the oil exports, which are the
  Nigerian regimes' biggest source of income.  More than 90 percent of
  Nigeria's export earnings come from oil.
  Rotterdam/Europort is the main Northern Europe port of entry for Nigerian
  oil, and Antwerp would be a likely port of diversion for shipments that
  could not be offloaded in Rotterdam.
  The Dutch boycott call was decided last night in Dordrecht, at a meeting of
  the oil, chemical and allied workers' Industriebond FNV and the transport
  workers' Vervoersbond FNV.  Addressing the meeting were, among others, Ben
  Roodhuizen, who is the Industriebond's National Secretary for the oil
  industry and is a member of the ICEM Executive; and ICEM General Secretary
  Vic Thorpe.  THe Industriebond is affiliated to the ICEM and the
  Vervoersbond is an affiliate of ICEM's sister organisation the International
  Transport Workers Federation (ITF).
  To secure implementation of the boycott, the Dutch unions have called for
  further meeting on Nigeria for 11 November.  Attending the meeting will be
  shop stewards in the sectors directly concerned.  Speakers will include
  Lodewijk de Waal, President of the Dutch national trade union confederation FNV.
  The boycott in Antwerp has been launched by a number of unions including
  ICEM Belgian affiliate the Algemene Centrale ABVV/Centrale Generale FGTB.
  The worldwide boycott is directed at Nigerian regime and its Nigerian
  National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and not against the oil
  multinationals.  However, oil belonging to major companies will inevitably
  be affected by the measures.  The unions involved will be contacting the
  companies to explain the reason for the action and to seek their help in
  securing Dabibi's and Kokori's release.
  The NNPC pumps some 2 million barrels of crude oil per day in joint ventures
  with the leading oil multinationals.  A large proportion of Nigeria's share
  of the oil earnings is unaccounted for.  The equivalent of some 200,000
  barrels per day is reportedly diverted into accounts controlled by the
  military.  Capital reinvestment in Nigerian refineries has sunk to a level
  where oil-rich Nigeria is forced to import petroleum products in order to
  keep the economy ticking over.
  Meanwhile, according to Nigerian newspaper reports yesterday, the NNPC is
  preparing to sack 4,000 more workers.
  Frank Kokori has been detained without trial since 1994, and Milton Dabibi
  since January 1996.  Both are in poor health and are being denied proper
  access to medical treatment.  They have also been denied access to lawyers
  and to their unions.  Visits by families are severely restricted.  Dabibi
  and Kokori are both recognised by Amnesty International as prisoners of
  conscience.  Nigeria's own National Human Rights Commission is understood to
  have recommended this September that Dabibi, Kokori and a number of other
  detainees be released on humanitarian grounds.
  PENGASSAN and NUPENG have been subjected to severe repression ever since the
  Nigerian oil workers' strike of 1994.  Police and troops occupied the union
  offices.  Many union leaders were arrested or driven into hiding.
  Government-imposed "sole administrators" were sent in to run the unions
  instead.  Union bank accounts were frozen and the check-off of union dues
  was banned.  Many of the oil workers dismissed for taking part in the strike
  were never reinstated.
  "Now is the time to release Milton Dabibi and Frank Kokori, and now is the
  time for the oil companies and governments to insist on their release,"
  commented ICEM General Secretary Vic Thorpe today.  "Now as always, the ICEM
  is ready to discuss this matter with the Nigerian authorities at the
  appropriate level."