Niger Delta activist plans ‘special present’ for retiring Shell CEO

Shell Chief Executive Officei, Peter Voser

The activist said he will present the Shell CEO with a polluted water in a champagne bottle.

A Niger Delta activist said on Wednesday that his organisation is planning a ‘special present’ of “polluted oil water champagne” as a parting gift for the Chief Executive Officer of oil giant, Shell, Peter Voser, as he retires from the company, whose Nigerian subsidiary has been accused of several oil pollution incidents in the region.

PREMIUM TIMES gathered that Celestine AkpoBari, an environmental and human rights activist from Ogoniland in the oil-rich Niger Delta region is already in London preparatory to the presentation ceremony expected to take place during the Shell Shareholders presentation ceremony on Thursday at the Mermaid Conference & Events Centre, Puddle Dock, Blackfriars.

It was gathered that Mr. Akpobari, who works for Social Development Integrated Centre (Social Action) Nigeria, and is the National Coordinator, Ogoni Solidarity Forum, has been asked by some other activists in the Niger Delta region to present, on their behalf, polluted oil water from Ogoniland in a champagne bottle and to formally present to Mr. Voser, an invitation letter to attend a retirement party in the Niger Delta.

The activist said the presentation would be “in recognition of Shell’s unprecedented achievement in causing the massive oil pollution that has caused decades of environmental destruction of the Niger Delta region, particularly in Ogoniland.”

“The protest comes almost two years after a damning report by the United Nations concluded that a succession of oil spills by Shell in Ogoniland over half a century will require $1billion start-up finance and 35 years to clean-up,” Mr. Akpobari said. “One of the report’s findings was that communities’ drinking water was contaminated with dangerous concentrations of benzene and other pollutants.”

The activist, an Ogoni, said he had originally planned to travel to the Hague for Shell’s annual general meeting (AGM), where he would have made the presentation to Mr. Voser, but was denied travel visa after he disclosed his mission for his trip.

“I have travelled all the way from the Niger Delta to ask Shell what it has been doing in the past two years since the UN report established its responsibility for the devastating pollution in my homeland,” the activists told reporters outside his hotel.

“We see no evidence of Shell starting the clean up process. The only evidence that we see is the oil in our water; the smoke in our air; the crops that die and our livelihoods and culture that are destroyed every day,” he said.

“All the things that Ken Saro-Wiwa fought and died for, we are still fighting for them. While Peter Voser is retiring to spend more time with his family, the people in Ogoniland, like other parts of the Niger Delta region, are still fighting for a livable environment for their families.”

On Tuesday, the activist, who was at the Parliamentary building to meet with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Nigeria, had useful discussions on the UNEP Report implementation, with a demand for further push for the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) currently pending before the National Assembly.

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