Deal reached in Nigeria

The Beeb is reporting that a deal has been reached between the women hostage-takers and Chevron, ending a more than week-long standoff.

Some 150 women took over the terminal eight days ago, demanding employment for their families and investment in the local community.

The occupation of the terminal has halted the production of an estimated 500,000 barrels of oil a day.

This type of local action, while drastic, is heartening to hear about. It would be great to see workers (or workers’ families) stand up against the foreign companies demanding a much higher rate of local investment. While this may not improve work conditions, it should improve local social conditions, which is a first step on a long road up to greater equality.

The women have now threatened to strip naked in a traditional gesture of shaming men if any of the remaining captive workers try to leave.

Quotes like this are a common thread across every report on this I’ve read. It doesn’t sit quite right – each one feels like the agency is saying ‘look, aren’t they quaint little Africans? feeling trapped because they think seeing a woman naked is a shame’. It is an interesting fact about the situation, but there’s something in the tone of how it is being reported that seems a little, well, colonial.

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