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Things heating up in the Delta...

  Please note both stories from Nigeria Today - second one mentions raid on
  offices of ND-HERO.  Many of us met ND-HERO President Robert Azibaola when
  he was here in June and July.  I'll pass on more info as we get it...
  Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell said yesterday it hoped for a resolution within
  the next 24 hours of a compensation row that shut down a number of the
  company's wells in Delta state. Thousands of angry members of the Ekakpamre
  community in the state shut down the wells on Wednesday, saying Shell had
  failed to pay compensation for land acquired for the construction of a flow
  station in the region. Shell officials were meeting with Ekakpamre
  representatives yesterday and a company spokesman said the talks had
  already produced "favourable responses." The spokesman confirmed that the
  Ughelli flow station and some wells had been forced to cease operations,
  but said only 6,500 barrels of oil per day had been affected. Ekakpamre
  representatives, who also claim that Shell has failed to follow through on
  pledges to upgrade local infrastructure, said 12 wells producing 19,000
  barrels per day had been closed. More 3,000 Ekakpamre youths and women, who
  belong to the Urhobo ethnic group, felled trees across the roads leading to
  the wells on Wednesday, and drove out Shell workers. Their action followed
  a seven-day ultimatum issued last November 3 for Shell to meet the
  community's demands. Communities in the oil-producing Delta region have in
  recent years protested strongly against their marginalisation and the
  pollution of their communities by the foreign oil firms. While several
  companies operate in the region, Shell is the most criticised by community
  leaders and is responsible for about half of Nigeria's daily total oil
  production of about two million barrels. Oil accounts for more than 90
  percent of Nigeria's foreign exchange earnings. 
  About 20 persons from the Ogoni ethnic community have been arrested by
  security agents, MOSOP crisis management secretary, Wibani Nwako has said.
  ''We believe they were arrested because they were participating in the
  second anniversary of  the hanging of the Ogoni nine'' Nwako said. Security
  agents are also said to be on the trail of  human rights activists in the
  state. ''We have information to show that 50 other Ogonis are in the wanted
  list of the government'' he added. MOSOP said in the week preceding the
  second anniversary of the hanging of the Ogoni nine, armed soldiers raided
  the offices of  Niger Delta Human Environmental Rescue Organisation in Port
  Harcourt and the home of Dr M K Akopo, a former federal commissioner and
  chairman of  the Southern Minorities Movement. The mother and sister of a
  student activist, Sunny Kogbo were also arrested.
  Steve Kretzmann			510-705-8982 - office
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