This week sees the publication of our latest briefing Polluted Promises, How Shell failed to clean up in Ogoniland, based on research done on the ground in the Niger Delta in October 2013 by our campaigner Sarah Shoraka, with allies from the Delta. The new report and research was covered in the Daily Mail yesterday.
Shell is responsible for a toxic legacy in the Niger Delta lasting over 50 years. In the build up to 2015 – the 20th anniversary of Ken Saro-Wiwa’s execution – protests and mobilisations by communities and social movements in the Niger Delta are escalating. The appointment a few months ago of a new CEO, Ben van Beurden, provides an opportunity for Shell to change direction and deal with its oil pollution.
Polluted Promises exposes how:
- People are dying, sick, can’t feed themselves and have no clean water because Shell destroyed their environment by drilling for oil.
- UN’s Environment Programme (UNEP) researched the destruction, publishing a report in 2011. The report concluded that Shell had not taken sufficient action to clean up and set out initial steps to rectify the damage.
- Platform’s research in Ogoniland shows that Shell has still not cleaned up, almost 3 years after the UNEP report was published.
- Platform witnessed polluted creeks and soil reeking of oil, in areas Shell claims to have remediated. Communities report oil crusts on their land, rotten crops and poisoned fish. Emergency water supplies have not been delivered, forcing local residents to drink oil-polluted water
- This remains the case, because the company is ignoring the UNEP recommendations, saving money at the expense of Nigerian lives.
Platform and communities are demanding that Shell act on the UNEP report right away and provide the necessary funding. Platform is also calling for Shell to make its progress public and audited by a third party. Last week a Platform colleague asked questions at Shell’s AGM in The Hague, and again at the London Shareholder meeting on 22nd May.
To push this forward, and marking the anniversary of the 20th anniversary of the executions of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the other 8 Ogoni, Platform is launching Action Saro-Wiwa, a campaign combining arts and activism. Last Thursday 22nd May was also the 20th anniversary of the final arrest of Saro-Wiwa, – the arrest that ended 18 months later with his death – and we marked this date with a creative intervention outside the London Shareholder meeting in the morning. In the evening, we launched Action Saro-Wiwa with speakers David Lammy MP, Lazarus Tamana of MOSOP Europe, and poet Selina Nwulu, at the current site of The Bus, our Living Memorial to Ken Saro-Wiwa, in Tottenham.
Action Saro-Wiwa will use a whole range of creative and campaign strategies to ensure that pressure is put on Shell from now and throughout 2015 to finally face up to its responsibilities and restore Ogoniland so that people can once again live there in a healthy productive environment. Join our mailing list to get involved in making this change happen.