After years of reaping billions in profits in the Niger Delta, multinational oil companies Chevron, Shell and Eni are deserting the rich ecosystem that is now bubbling with dirty oil, dead fish and polluted air, abandoning hundreds of women Nigerian fishing boats who once made a living. the.
Over the years, the boiling of oil from leaking oil pipes has transformed this paradise that once fed families and communities into one of the most polluted places on the planet, according to government observers and environmental organizations. and defense of human rights. The oil giants, they say, are leaving utter ruin in their wake.
News reports indicate that the departure of the “oil majors” is due to declining profits, a switch to renewable fuels and “the current environment of chaos … no company can survive under such circumstances”.
Decades of exposure to gas flaring by foreign oil refineries have adversely affected the health of people in the Niger Delta. Thick plumes of black smoke are a constant reminder of an industry that gives them nothing in return. At the same time, the total compensation of Chevron CEO MK Wirth in 2020 exceeded $ 29.02 million, according to MarketWatch, April 2021.
Chevron denies that oil was spilling from its pipes. But local women leaders say the opposite and have decided to take their demands to a new level. On March 26, hundreds of women from 18 communities arrived at three Chevron facilities to demand a proper investigation into the cause of the oil spill.
The protest brought together new mothers with babies on their backs and great-grandmothers in their 80s shaking palm leaves and beating plastic bottles while singing protest songs, according to the New York Times.
For years, women felt cheated by Chevron, the dominant oil company in their region. Their villages were poor. The zinc and timber houses barely protected from the elements. The bathrooms were fragile shacks above the water.
In contrast, Chevron’s facilities produced electricity without sharing it. “From here to Chevron, it’s less than two miles. If they hadn’t been mean, they would have brought electricity here, ”said Akasaere Mila, an 82-year-old community elder. “Chevron is a very rich company, but they are very mean to us,” she told reporter Ruth Maclean.
“They move out and leave all the mess behind,” environmentalist Celestine Akkpo-Bari told Maclean. “They are happy to sell the responsibility to whoever wants to buy and get away.”