Nigerian women block gas pipeline

Lagos - A group of Nigerian women in the country's oil-rich south said on Friday they had blocked access to a Chevron natural gas pipeline to protest poor living conditions in their community.

Women from the Ugborodo community in Delta State want Chevron to provide access to electricity and address damage to the environment, community leader Thomas Ereyitomi said.

"They are not allowing access to the plant and to allow any form of operation to go on," he said of the protesters.

"It is immoral for Chevron not to provide basic amenities in a community in which they operate and generate money."

Chevron officials declined to comment, saying they would issue a statement later.

Ereyitomi did not provide the number of people taking part in the protest, but claimed that it involved all women from the community.

A similar protest last month was abandoned following a promise from the Delta State government to look into the community's grievances.

"That meeting with the government failed and so the protest resumed on Monday," Ereyitomi said.

Demanding jobs


He said government officials have invited representatives of the protesters to a meeting on Tuesday in Abuja, the nation's capital.

"The outcome of that meeting will determine whether the protest will be indefinite or not," he said.

In 2009, Chevron's total daily production in Nigeria averaged 480 000 barrels of crude, 111 million cubic feet of natural gas and 3 000 barrels of liquefied petroleum gas.

Oil and gas operations in Nigeria are often disrupted by communities demanding jobs and a fairer distribution of industry revenue, as well as protests against environmental degradation.

Militants in the oil-rich Niger Delta have carried out dozens of attacks on petroleum installations, but an amnesty deal last year has led to a sharp decline in the unrest.

Nigeria is the world's eighth largest oil exporter and a member of OPEC.

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