In Nigeria kidnappings of oil workers is on the rise

Jul 12, 1999 02:00 AM

Youths in Nigeria's delta region are holding 6 expatriate staff in a stepped-up campaign of kidnappings of oil workers, a newspaper reported. In an interview in the Lagos Punch, congressman Emmanuel Aguarivawodo, said that youths were holding the workers who employed by Shell and Bristow Helicopters in Okoloba in Delta State. He gave no details on their nationalities. Twenty-five workers had been seized from various locations in one day alone this week, he told.
In all, 32 oil workers including 9 expatriate and 16 Nigerians had been kidnapped in recent times, the Lagos ThisDay newspaper reported.
Youths in the oil-rich southern delta regularly take hostages from oil companies to protest the lack of development and abject living conditions in the areas where most of the country's oil wealth is produced. The youths often ask for prohibitive ransoms before they let their hostages free and frequently sabotage pipeline installations.
Aguarivawodo told the Lagos ThisDay that his attempts to plead for the release of some of the oil workers in the past week had failed. "We went to where the 6 expatriate staff are being held, to try to persuade the youths to release them, but we could not do so," he said. He said he urged the youths to be patient and wait for promised development programs for the region initiated by newly-elected president Olusegun Obasanjo who took up office in May. Obasanjo has proposed a bill requiring oil firms to fight poverty in the volatile Niger Delta region.
Under the bill before lawmakers in the National Assembly, oil companies will be required to pay 0.5 % of their annual budgets to the planned Niger Delta Development Commission aimed at rehabilitating the impoverished region.

Source: AP via Newspage
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