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Indians flee Nigeria due to abductions

Indian company Indorama, which bought Nigeria's Eleme Petrochemical, says the plant has been shut because 120 of its expatriate workers have left the region.

india Updated: Jun 11, 2007 19:06 IST

Expatriate workers including Indians are fleeing the Niger Delta in Nigeria because of unending abductions by militants.

Indian company Indorama, which bought Nigeria's Eleme Petrochemical plant in Rivers State, has said the plant has been shut because 120 of its expatriate workers, mostly Indians, had relocated from the region.

The chairman of the Indorama workers union, Kriss Natty, said about 3,000 people of the Niger Delta employed by the company might also lose their jobs, unless the company got government backing to provide security.

Niger Delta militants abducted 11 Indians - seven workers, two of their wives and two children - from the living quarters of the company early this month.

Natty said that before the complete shutdown, the company's production activities had dropped by 80 percent.

"The fleeing expatriates," he said, "promised to be back when the security situation in the state and in the Niger Delta improved."

Rivers State governor Celestine Omehia said the abducted Indians had been traced to a neighbouring state.

He expressed regret that the impression was given that the state was unsafe for expatriate workers since more than 16 of them were kidnapped in June alone.

Meanwhile, Oronto Douglas, chairman of a Niger-Delta-based NGO Community Defence Law Foundation, has delivered a manifesto of the Niger Delta people to the Nigerian government.

The manifesto, he said, would serve as a useful tool for the government of President Umaru Yar'Adua in its quest for an enduring solution to the Niger Delta crisis.

Part of the manifesto demanded the creation of a peaceful mechanism for the restructuring of Nigeria to guarantee self-determination and true fiscal federalism.

It also demanded the abrogation of laws that robbed the Niger Delta people of their land and resources and an end to environmentally damaging extractive activities, including gas flaring.

Douglas said the manifesto also demanded the provision of a social security scheme for the people of the Niger Delta and community shareholding in the extractive sector.

Myriad groups of militant youths from the Niger Delta have been abducting expatriate workers in the region to back their demand for a greater say in the exploitation of oil and gas endowments.

First Published: Jun 11, 2007 13:09 IST