Hundreds of Nigerians stormed a crude oil facility and gas plant owned by Shell in the Niger Delta on 11 August demanding jobs and infrastructure development, a Reuters witness said.
Echoing a common complaint in the impoverished swampland that produces most of Nigeria’s oil, the protesters said they were not benefiting from the region’s oil wealth and wanted an end to the oil pollution that has ruined much of the land.
Soldiers and security guards did not disperse the crowd as it entered the Belema Flow Station in Rivers State, which feeds oil into Shell’s Bonny export terminal.
The company said it had evacuated staff late on 10 August and shut the facility when it became clear the protesters were on their way there.
However, the army sent in 30 extra soldiers after protesters said they planned to stay at the facility for 2 weeks.
One of the protest leaders, Anthony Bouye, said, “I am a graduate for about 8 years without a job. Shell won’t employ me despite us having so much wealth in our backyard.”
Shell said its “commitment to the welfare of host communities in the Niger Delta remains unshaken” and was working with authorities to resume operations at the facility.