March 15, 2007

Chevron wins partial dismissal in Nigeria case

The International Herold Tribune reports that a racketeering claim against Chevron Corp. filed by Nigerians who claimed the oil company conspired with the military and police in Nigeria to gun down demonstrators protesting their operations:

Nine Nigerians, represented by lawyers from EarthRights International and other nonprofit groups, sued Chevron in a San Francisco federal court in 1999 after Nigerian soldiers and police shot protesters who opposed drilling by a Chevron subsidiary and destroyed villages where they lived.

The plaintiffs failed ‘to present evidence that defendants gained a competitive advantage in the United States or impacted the U.S. economy, by engaging in the alleged racketeering activity,’ U.S. District Judge Susan Illston wrote in the decision announced Wednesday.

While the racketeering charge did not apply, Illston acknowledged evidence showed that Chevron played a role in the subsidiary’s security policies, approved payments to the military and attempted to cover up the subsidiary’s involvement in the attacks… The Nigerians allege soldiers, supported by Chevron Nigeria Ltd., destroyed homes and killed or injured dozens of people. They also claim Chevron provided helicopters, boats and planes to Nigerian soldiers who fired at demonstrators in 1998 on an offshore oil platform and in 1999 at two villages where protesters lived.

Chevron lawyers have said the protesters were armed youths who demanded money and took more than 200 workers hostage. They were shot during an attempt to rescue the hostages. The company has argued the case belongs in African courts.

Filed under Energy Industry, Legal and Criminal Issues, Nigeria by

February 8, 2007

UC Professors criticize U.S. Nigeria Policy

“In its anxious search for energy security, the United States has embarked on a risky strategy to arm and train the militaries of oil-producing West Africa, all as part of an expansion of the Global War on Terror. Over the past 15 years, amidst a deepening crisis in the Middle East and tightening petroleum markets, the U.S. has quietly institutionalized a West African-based oil supply strategy… In a new International Policy Report published by the Center for International Policy in Washington, D.C., three University of California experts report on the motives, actions and potential consequences of this strategy, and argue that militarization policies are not only short-sighted but also deeply flawed.”

Filed under Nigeria, U.S. Government, University of California by

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