Nigeria under pressure to deliver oilgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread
Under pressure to deliver oil, Nigeria creates deadly police unit
By GLENN McKENZIE The Associated Press 03/22/00 3:29 PM Eastern
ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) -- Faced with mounting sabotage of its strategic oil pipelines, Nigeria's elected government is creating a new police unit authorized to shoot vandals on sight, police and state oil company officials told The Associated Press.
The unit is being drawn from the controversial police intelligence branch Secret Security Service and will be subsidized by the government-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., which oversees the country's oil production, said the company's chief spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu.
"Deliberate action is necessary to send a strong message," Ughamadu said in a recent interview. "We've tried everything else. It is time to get tough. Shoot them on sight is the necessary response."
Nigeria is the world's sixth-largest oil exporter, accounting for about one-twelfth of the oil imported by the United States. Sales of crude oil account for more than 80 percent of the government's revenue.
The disruptions are especially painful to the government at a time when oil prices have tripled from 1998 lows and could be making a more significant impact on the country's economy.
The SSS gained notoriety under the late army dictator Gen. Sani Abacha. Human rights groups have accused it of arresting, torturing and occasionally murdering pro-democracy campaigners, journalists and alleged oil industry saboteurs.
Local and international human rights groups immediately called the move "high-handed," and warned it could escalate tensions with restive communities.
"Both the oil companies and the government are treating the violence as the problem rather than a symptom of the problem -- a deeper frustration with the basic economic problems in the Delta," said Bronwen Manby, a researcher with the New York-based Human Rights Watch.
Police spokesman Young Arebamen confirmed that a new "mobile, well-trained force" was being created to protect oil facilities and personnel in the desperately poor Niger Delta, where most of the wells are drilled.
"If they need to shoot on sight ... then of course you don't expect them to fold their arms," Arebamen said. "They have a job to do and they will do it with all the seriousness it requires."
The new unit replaces existing private security companies using armed officers accompanied by dogs, Ughamadu said.
Since President Olusegun Obasanjo was elected last year, vandal attacks have mounted against the network of pipelines transporting crude oil to export terminals and refined fuel to the cities of Nigeria, Ughamadu said.
At least 497 cases of vandalism were recorded last year compared to 57 cases in 1998, Aghamadu said. Each incident forced costly shutdowns and repairs.
In many cases, the saboteurs pierce the pipes with simple tools and scoop up the fuel to use in homemade pumps and generators. Other attacks are aimed at forcing oil companies to give compensation for land use and alleged environmental degradation.
Many of the activists' attacks are directed against foreign companies -- including Shell, Chevron, Exxon Mobil and Texaco -- that use the pipelines. The activists accuse the companies of colluding with the government to deny oil revenues to the Delta. Under Nigerian law, the companies operate as minority partners in joint ventures with the state company.
The oil unit would not be Nigeria's first special police force. It already has airport and port protection units, funded by private enterprise.
But in London, Shell International spokesman James Herbert said his company was not aware of the new police unit and had "no plans or intention" to fund one.
-- - (email@example.com), March 22, 2000
I am Mr. Felix Ughamadu, a member of the Federal Government of Nigeria >contract review panel of the National Gas Company (NGC). > >Some-time ago, a contract was awarded to a conglomerate of foreign firms >in the NGC by my committee. This contract was over invoiced to the tune >of 24.5 million US dollars. This over invoicing was done deliberately. >The over-invoicing was a deal by my committee to benefit from the >project. We now desire to transfer this money which is presently in a >suspense account of the NGC in the Debt Reconciliation Committee (DRC) >into an account which we expect you to kindly provide for us, this we believe >will not be so much of a burden to you. > > >Benefits: >For providing the account where we shall remit the money, you will be entitled >to 25% of themoney, 70% will be for me and my partners while 5% has been >mapped out from the total sum to cover any expenses that may be incurred >by us during the course of this transaction, both local and international expenses, >these also include taxes that may arise. > >The money will be yours for providing the account where we shall remit the money. >5% has been mapped out from the total sum to cover any expenses that may be >incurred by us during the course of this transfer, both local and international expenses. >It may interest you to know that similar transaction was carried out with one Mr. Partrice >Miller, president of Crane International Trading Corp. of 153 east 57th St, 28th floor, >NY 10022, telephone: 212-3087788 and telex: 6731689. The deal was concluded and >all covering documents were forwarded to Mr. Miller to authenticate the claim. Once >the funds were transfered,Mr. Miller presented his bank with all the legal documents and >remitted the whole funds to another bank account and disappeared completely. My >colleagues were shattered, since such opportunities are not easy to come by. > >I would require: >A. Name and address of company/beneficiary >B. Your bank account number, bank address and other information relevant to >the project at hand. >C. It is not necessary that the account you are providing should have money in it, >what matters is that it should had been in existence for a while (accounts dynamics) >and you should have a 100% control over it. > >Hoping to hear from you soon. > >Best regards, > >Mr. Felix Ughamdu
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 15, 2002.