Nigerian government officials are welcoming a wider U.S. role in the oil-rich Niger Delta where members of an insurgent group have attacked oil flow stations and staged kidnappings in an effort to redistribute enormous profits generated from the region’s natural wealth.
Vice Pres. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan blamed “outsiders” for instigating the youths of the region. “Therefore it will be welcomed if the US government will assist Nigeria in curbing the criminalities within the area, since the US government has its security installations in the Gulf of Guinea, protecting its investment situated there.
“It is hoped that Nigeria will also be assisted considerably, especially in the area of power and rail transport networks,” he said.
On June 28, Vice President Jonathan received a delegation of six US Congressmen led by Representative Howard Berman, Chairman, US House Committee on Foreign Relations.
Unrest in the oil-rich region has pushed some companies to close down operations. Nigeria’s oil production has slipped to 1.8 million barrels per day -far below its production capacity of about 2.8 million barrels.
Meanwhile, plans for a sell-off of shared by oil giant Chevron Corporation of California are meeting stiff opposition from workers who are worried what will happen to their compensation packages.
“Any attempt to seal up the deal and sneak away through the back door with their portfolio without settling the workers will meet disastrous consequences,” the oil workers warned.