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13

Women In Nigeria Struggle For Oil Terminals

Women storm more Nigerian oil terminals

Women have stormed four more oil terminals in the Nigerian Delta, demanding jobs and rural development denied them by the government.

The invasions follow a week-long standoff at nearby Esravos terminal, where Itsekiri women stopped hundreds of workers from leaving until yesterday.

A community spokesman said Ijaw women took over the ChevronTexaco pipeline stations, 50 miles east of Escravos.

An unknown number of employees at the sites were "allowed to leave," said Kingsley Kuku. He did not know how many remained.

"Our women are without fear. They are participating actively in our struggle and have embarked on this action without the use of arms, not even brooms," he said.

He warned that Ijaw men would "burn down all Chevron oil facilities" if police or soldiers tried forcibly to remove the women.

The women hoped to force the company to grant jobs and help improve living conditions in nearby villages, he added.

Meanwhile, the several hundred protesters at Escravos trefused to leave despite a verbal agreement to end their siege. Just a few dozen workers are trapped on the terminal.

The women, aged 30 to 90, used a traditional shaming gesture to keep control of the facility - they threatened to strip.

ChevronTexaco has said it is willing to hire more locals, build schools, provide water, electricity and a community centre.