At least 52 people, including women and children, have been killed in clashes over a land conflict between the Ezza and Ezilo ethnic groups in southeastern Nigeria’s Ebonyi state over the weekend. The fighting came just a state of emergency was declared by President Jonathan in the north-central states of Plateau, Niger, Yobe and parts of Borno, in response to a wave of attacks by Islamist group Boko Haram. (PTI, The Telegraph, Jan. 1) The country’s worst oil spill in a decade has meanwhile struck southern Delta state, with over a million gallons of crude washing up on local beaches. Villagers and fishermen say the oil is coming from a loading accident at Royal Dutch Shell’s offshore Bonga facility last month—a claim the company denies. Shell says five ships were used to disperse and contain the spill, preventing the crude from washing ashore. (Reuters, Jan. 1; FSRN, Dec. 30) Ironically, the spill comes as the Nigerian government has dropped fuel subsidies as an austerity measure—prompting trade unions to call for a repeat of the strikes and street protests that thwarted previous attempts to end the subsidy program. (Reuters, Jan. 1)
See our last post on the struggle in Nigeria.