Brussels, 16 February 1995
Some 1,000 families displaced because of communal fighting in an oil-rich region of Nigeria will soon get emergency shelter under a project the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) is funding in Ogoni River State.
Trocaire, the Dublin-based Catholic Agency for World Development, is managing the project with a grant of 400,000 Ecu. The money will be spent on providing about 1,000 houses before the rainy season for Ogoni people whose homes have been destroyed in a long-running conflict with the neighbouring Andonis.
The Ogonis are a distinct group among nine ethnic minorities living in Rivers State, on Nigeria's south-eastern coastline. They number about 500,000. Traditionally, they lived off fishing, farming and trading. In the 1960s, their land was found to be oil-rich. The oil industry has attracted a rising population, and has disrupted the pattern of land use, threatening the Ogonis' traditional agriculture in an area that was once the breadbasket of the region.
Today, the Ogonis are struggling to re-establish sustainable development independent of oil, but since 1993, they have been in conflict with the neighbouring Adoni people, who live mainly from fishing and trading. The government has not intervened to resolve the conflict.