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Note: This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

Nigeria: Niger Delta Updates Nigeria: Niger Delta Updates
Date distributed (ymd): 021029
Document reposted by Africa Action

Africa Policy Electronic Distribution List: an information service provided by AFRICA ACTION (incorporating the Africa Policy Information Center, The Africa Fund, and the American Committee on Africa). Find more information for action for Africa at

+++++++++++++++++++++Document Profile+++++++++++++++++++++

Region: West Africa
Issue Areas: +security/peace+ +economy/development+ +gender/women+


This posting contains a press release from Human Rights Watch announcing their latest report on Nigeria, "No Democratic Dividend for Oil Delta." This report, as well as earlier reports on other human rights issues in Nigeria, are available from the Human Rights Watch web site at It also contains several other relevant background documents, including an August 28 advertisement in Nigeria's Guardian newspaper, and excerpts from recent news reports on the passage of legislation eliminating the onshore/offshore distinction, which is expected to result in greater revenues for the oil-producing states.

+++++++++++++++++end profile++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Human Rights Watch
Nigeria: No Democratic Dividend for Oil Delta

For more information, please contact:

In London, Bronwen Manby: +44-20-7713-2789
In New York, Peter Takirambudde: +1-212-216-1834
In Brussels, Jean-Paul Marthoz: 322-732-2009

Africa Division, Human Rights Watch
Phone (direct): +1-202-612-4347; Fax: +1-202-612-4333

(New York, October 22, 2002) - The end of military rule in Nigeria has brought little benefit to the people living in the oil producing communities of the Niger Delta, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today.

Despite the change from military to civilian government in 1999, there is still widespread deployment of army, navy and paramilitary Mobile Police at oil facilities across the delta. Much greater sums of money are flowing from the federal government to the delta region, but ordinary people living in the delta see little if any benefit from these funds, Human Rights Watch said.

Discontent among the people of the delta remains high, with both the government and the oil companies. Occupations of oil facilities and other protests directed at the oil companies continue unabated.

The 40-page report, "The Niger Delta: No Democratic Dividend," considers several recent violent incidents around oil facilities, and concludes that both the government and the oil company have failed to fulfill their responsibilities. Security forces continue to commit human rights violations with impunity in response to protests and acts of violence at oil facilities. The oil companies remain complicit in many such abuses despite their stated commitment to respect human rights.

"The Nigerian government still seems to support oil production at any cost," said Bronwen Manby, deputy director of the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch and author of the report. "And the oil companies too often go along with whatever the government does - or even make things worse."

In one case examined in the report, naval personnel carried out a reprisal raid on a village where oil company employees were taken hostage, destroying several dozen houses and killing several people. In another, money paid by an oil company to a community representative has apparently been used by that person to "hire" police to harass and arrest members of an opposing faction in the village.

The international oil companies have in recent years also greatly increased the amount of money they spend on community development projects and compensation. But in most cases they have taken insufficient care to monitor the use made of their money. In particular, they have failed to ensure that it does not reinforce factional violence between those who benefit and those who do not. The oil companies also continue to fail to monitor closely security force activity at or near their facilities or where work is being carried out on their behalf, or, in many cases, to intervene with the authorities when abuses are committed.

Among the recommendations of Human Rights Watch:

  • The government should fully investigate and prosecute members of the security forces and the responsible civilian authorities who are implicated in human rights violations in the oil producing areas. These include those responsible for abuses in Ogoniland from 1993 to 1998, including the 1995 execution of author Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other minority rights activists, and at Odi in November 1999, when soldiers destroyed the town, in Bayelsa State, killing hundreds of people
  • Members of the Group of 8 (G8) industrialized countries should take steps towards the creation of a binding code of conduct for multinational oil companies headquartered in the G8 countries or member states of the European Union. It should be based on initiatives to develop such codes within the United Nations, the U.S./U.K. Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights and appropriate human rights standards. The G8 should require transnational corporations to publish all net taxes, fees, royalties and other payments made to the Nigerian state
  • Oil companies should monitor the behavior of both public law enforcement agencies and private security deployed at or near to oil facilities, and raise concerns privately and publicly with the appropriate authorities. They should also ensure credible third-party audits of payments of any kind given to community representatives.

"This week is the anniversary of an army massacre of more than two hundred civilians in Benue State, in central eastern Nigeria," said Manby. "Just as in the case of the destruction of Odi and the abuses in Ogoniland, there has been no accountability for these killings, and President Obasanjo has refused to take action against those alleged to be responsible."

Advertisement in support of women of the Niger Delta
published in the Guardian (, August 28, 2002

Text available at:

Note: This August 28 advertisement in Nigeria's Guardian newspaper was initiated by groups in the Niger Delta and overseas supporters, and signed by Africa Action among other groups, supporting women protesters against oil companies in the Delta. Additional background on these issues can be found on the web site of the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network
(, and in documents posted earlier this year at:> and>

The advertisement and other messages sent to the oil companies and the Nigerian government were in response to an appeal from Environmental Rights Action / Friends of the Earth (FoE, Nigeria) + Oilwatch Africa. International Secretariat: #214, Uselu-Lagos Road, P. O. Box 10577, Benin City, Nigeria. Tel/Fax: + 234 52 600165 Email:; Port Harcourt: # 13 Agudama Street, D-Line, Port Harcourt Tel: + 234 84 236365 email:; Lagos:# 1 Balogun Street, Ikeja E-mail:

We the undersigned want to express our solidarity with the women of the Niger Delta who, at great personal risk, have stood in peaceful protest, calling on the oil companies to clean up their actions. The women and their families have suffered grave social, environmental, and economic costs as a consequence of decades of oil extraction by Shell, Chevron, and others. Some estimate the oil spilled in the Niger Delta to be 10 times greater than the ExxonValdez oil spill in the U. S. that cost $10 billion to clean up. We are alarmed to learn that the women's peaceful protest is being answered with violence. We urge the oil companies to: meet peacefully with all the protestors; ensure that their legitimate concerns regarding compensation for lost livelihoods are adequately addressed; clean up the oil spills and other toxic activity that has spoiled the abundant environment of the Niger Delta; stop all gas flaring; and stop using the Nigerian military as security guards for oil production facilities and in response to nonviolent protests. We further urge the Nigerian Government to peacefully exercise their responsibilities as leaders and not allow the situation to degenerate any further.

In solidarity,


Owens Wiwa, African Environmental and Human Development Agency, Canada
Dimieari Von Kemedi, Our Niger Delta, Canada
Isaac Rojas, Coecoceiba- Friends of the Earth, Costa Rica
Jorge Cortes, Colectivo de Estudios Aplicados al Desarrollo Social, Bolivia West Africa Rainforest Network
Regine Richter, Urgewald e. V, Germany
Arup Rahee, Lokoj-Bangladesh, Bangladesh Institute for Environment and Development Studies, Bangladesh
Rebecca Gaddi, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement, Philippines
Patricia Granda, OilWatch International Secretariat, Ecuador
Tari Ebimo Dadiowei Gbarain, Oil Fields Landlords Association, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Nigeria
Sokari Ekine, Cherynne Carayan & Oshezia Baye, Niger Delta Women for Justice, UK
Felix Tuodolo, Ijaw Youth Council, UK Odoni Development Association of Great Britain and Ireland
Agbere Community Association of Great Britain and Ireland
Ijaw People's Association of Great Britain and Ireland.
Paul Horsman, Greenpeace International, UK
Nicholas Hildyard, The Corner House, UK
Gopal Dayaneni, Project Underground, USA
Paul de Clerck, MilieudefensieFriends of the Earth, Netherlands
Dele Olawole, Global Peace Agenda, Africa Peace Initiatives, Norway
Ijaw National Congress. USA
Ijaw American Caucus, USA
Niger Delta Congress, USA
Delta State Peoples Forum, USA
Niger Delta Peoples Action, USA
Urhobo National Forum, USA
Peter Ekeh, Urhobo Historical Society
Ijaw United Fund, USA
Anslem John-Miller, President, NUOS International, USA Bayelsa Center, USA
U. S.-Niger Delta Sister Cities, USA
Bishop Imagene B. Stewart, National President, African American Women's Clergy Association, USA
Marsha Atkind, National President, National Council of Jewish Women, USA
Jessica Neuwirth, President, Equality Now, USA/ International
Salih Booker, Executive Director, Africa Action, USA
Terisa Turner, International Oil Working Group, USA
Daniel Magraw, Executive Director, Center for International Environmental Law, USA
Carol Richards, Co- Founder, Burma Forum, USA
Cindy Cohn, Rick Herz, Barbara Hadsell & Dan Stromer, Attorneys for plaintiff, Bowoto vs ChevronTexaco, USA
Patrick McCully, International Rivers Network, USA
Njoki Njehu, 50 Years is Enough: US Network for Global Economic Justice, USA
Raj Patel, Food First/ Institute for Food and Development Policy, USA.
Cath Wallace, Chairperson, Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ Inc. New Zealand
Lawyers' Environmental Action Team, Tanzania
Tari Ebimo Dadiowei, Gbarain Oil Fields Landlords Association, Nigeria
Sam N. Udofia, President, Nigerian Democratic Action Committee, Nigeria
Ricardo Navarro, Board Chair, Friends of the Earth International
Nnimmo Bassey, Environmental Rights Action, Nigeria
World Rainforest Movement, International Secretariat, Uruguay
Wiert Wiertsema & Martien Hoogland, Both ENDS, The Netherlands
Helene Connor, Helio International, France
Deborah Robinson, International Possibilities Unlimited. USA
Gloria T. Johnson, National President, Coalition of Labor Union Women, USA
Pacific Environment, USA
Ilyse Hogue, Rainforest Action Network, USA
Leslie G. Fields, Friends of the Earth- US, USA
Walter Turner, Board Chair, Global Exchange, USA
John Hocevar, Students for a Free Tibet, USA
Marcus Raskin, Co-founder, Institute for Policy Studies, USA
Petr Hlobil, Director, CEE Bankwatch Network
Rob Weissman, Essential Action, USA
Theresa Amato, Director, Citizen Works, USA
Kevin Koenig, Amazon Watch, USA
Wenonah Hauter, Public Citizen, USA
Daphne Wysham & Stephen Kretzmann, Sustainable Energy & Economy Network, USA
Anslem John-Miller, President, NUOS International, USA
Alfredo Quarto, Exec. Dir., Mangrove Action Project, USA
Terisa Turner, Leigh Brownhill, International Oil Working Group, USA
Hedy Ratner, Women's Business Developmentn Center, USA
Marilyn Clement, Executive Secty., Economic Justice, Women's Division, United Methodist Church, USA

Individuals: ...
[see full version on web site of]

Rights Group Happy With New Resource Bill

This Day (Lagos)

September 12, 2002

By Omon-Julius Onabu, Benin

[excerpts: full article available at]

The presentation to the National Assembly of a bill for the abolition of the controversial onshore-offshore dichotomy in petroleum resource exploitation in Nigeria has been described as a welcome development that should be supported to become law through the legislative process.

The Environmental Rights Action (ERA), also known as "Friends of the Earth Nigeria", made the commendation in a statement by its programmes director, Mr. Godwin Uyi Ojo.

ERA criticised the Federal Government for introducing the onshore/offshore distinction, saying the game of "hide-and-seek" have only succeeded in limiting "the capacity of the affected state governments and placed them in a very awkward situation politically and economically.

"Indeed, widespread public uproar over the Supreme Court judgement on the onshore/offshore dichotomy shows that victory resides on the part of the people standing up for justice.


The group called on the National Assembly "to expedite action on the proposed bill so as to ensure its quick passage into law and urgent resolution of the financial crisis being experienced by the affected states" in the Niger-Delta.

ERA Chief executive officer, Bassey, said: "the proposed abolition of the obnoxious onshore/offshore dichotomy is a welcome development, the will of the people as demonstrated in their firm agitation for resource control must be respected to stem resource conflicts and allow justice to prevail." ...

Revenue Commission: New Formula to Incorporate Derivation Principle

This Day (Lagos)

October 28, 2002

By Ayodele Aminu, Lagos

[Excerpts only, full article at:]

The Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) has said that the new revenue allocation formula that would allocate statutory fund to the three tiers of government would incorporate the application of derivation principle as passed by the two arms of the National Assembly.

The Senate and House of Representatives last week passed a presidential bill abrogating the onshore/offshore dichotomy in the application of derivation principle.

Speaking after the plenary session of the RMAFC over the weekend, the commission's chairman of Public Relations Committee, Chief Jaypeekay Ajaelu said the commission has deliberated extensively on the new revenue sharing formula before the successful passage of the bill on the derivation principle.

The bill is entitled "Allocation of Revenue (Abolition of Dichotomy in the Application of the Principle of Derivation) Act 2002."

"With the successful passage of the bill on derivation principle by the National Assembly and the recent Federal Govern-ment representation and submission on the formula, it became imperative for the nation to have an acceptable and just sharing formula which would be legally and constitutionally binding," Ajaelu said in a press statement signed by the RMAFC's Head of Public Relations, Mr Yushau Shuaib.

Noting that the derivation principle is part of the constitutional provision on revenue allocation, the RMAFC boss disclosed that the commission is studying the bill with a view to merging it with its general recommendation that would address all the related fiscal issues in totality. ...

This material is being reposted for wider distribution by Africa Action (incorporating the Africa Policy Information Center, The Africa Fund, and the American Committee on Africa). Africa Action's information services provide accessible information and analysis in order to promote U.S. and international policies toward Africa that advance economic, political and social justice and the full spectrum of human rights.

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