Sunday, February 17, 2008
Yar'Adua begs America to protect oil fields
Nigeria is pressing for a special security force with US help and training to protect oil facilities in Africa's oil-rich Gulf of Guinea.
President Umaru Yar'Adua asked the United States for help with logistics and training of the force during a trip to Washington in December, a Nigerian presidency statement said.
The United States is one of the top customers of oil from the gulf that can be reached from a number of unstable African countries including Nigeria.
Nigeria gave no details of the proposed force's composition but said it would help to address emerging security concerns in the oil-rich region, according to the statement.
The Niger Delta has seen an upsurge in violence in the past two years as militants have renewed their attacks on oil facilities and personnel, slashing Nigeria's daily output by a quarter.
While the attacks have focused on targets in the Niger Delta region, they have occasionally ranged far out into the Gulf of Guinea, where the oil industry is concentrating on developing offshore oil fields.
Fractious groups in the Delta region have a wide range of demands, but all want more oil money to stay in the delta and to bring development and jobs to the remote, impoverished region.