By Henry Uche, Lagos
Seriously perturbed by the perennial damage done by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, the Africa Network for Environmental & Economic Justice (ANEEJ) in collaboration with other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) stormed the corporate headquarters of Shell on Monday in Lagos to register their dissatisfaction over the inhuman activities of the oil giant on the host communities.
With myriads of placards bearing different inscriptions like: “We demand a just Energy Transition, We say No to Carbon Emission, We say No to Global Warning, We say No to Environmental Degradation, We say No to Gas Flaring, We Say No to Shell Transition Strategy, among others, the Groups bemoaned the level of penury and agonies Shell among other oil giants in Nigeria have subjected Nigerians in the host communities to.
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ANEEJ categorically called on the church of England and other financiers to withdraw their financial and moral support to Shell having known that Shell has not respected the global warming agreement to 1.5°C neither had they align its strategy in line with Paris Climate agreement and Glasgow 2021 Commitment for net-zero.
Speaking at the rally, the convener / executive director of ANEEJ, Mr. David Ugolor, said it’s high time people showed empathy, altruism and compassion for the host communities of these oil giants following the level of environmental decay wrought by the exploiting companies.
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“We are calling the church of England and other financiers of Shell to completely withdraw their moral and financial support to Shell, a major fossil fuel extracting company whose operations in Nigeria’s Niger Delta have contributed to carbon emission, environmental degradation, destruction of livelihoods and human rights violations.
“Last year, ANEEJ brought together 40 West African NGOs in a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd. Justin Welby, asking the Church of England Pensions Board (and by extension other investors) to desist from lending its moral and financial authority to Shell, and voting for Shell’s climate and energy plan. The letter was ignored.
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“Few days after Shell’s last AGM, the company faced two strong challenges to its energy transition strategy from official institutions. First, the International Energy Agency concluded that no new oil and gas fields should be approved for development after 2021 if the world is to reach its agreed 2050 net-zero emissions target.
“Lter on, a Dutch court ruled that Shell must cut its carbon emissions by 45% by 2030, with immediate effect. The judgment found that the same Shell policies praised by the Church of England “largely amount to rather intangible, undefined and non-binding plans for the long-term”, concluding that Shell is causing a danger to people’s right to life. Shell’s bosses didn’t feel accountable, didn’t change the company’s strategy, nor appealed the verdict. Unfortunately, in all of these, the Church of England kept quiet,”
Ugolor stressed that only recently the Church alluded to the possibility of not granting its moral authority to Shell via its role in the $68 trillion Climate Action 100+ initiative, saying that the civil society mass action would see to major Civil Society activists’ participation and link up to actions of the Stop Cambo Movement in the UK, the Green Anglicans in Southern Africa, and with several other groups and networks around the world.
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Expressing grief, a citizen from the Niger Delta region, Nwanam Gold, lamented over the negligence of oil giants operating in the region, saying, “We have suffered untold pains, we don’t understand what is happening, the proceeds from the oil and gas are used to develop the capital city and others places while the cash cow remains an eyesore. Anybody in doubt should go and see. If our natural deposits are damaged, our sources of living are destroyed, what else should we live on, our fishes, water, farmlands, pollution are becoming unbecoming and unbearable,” she decried.
Meanwhile, the CSOs held in a session (People’s AGM) under ANEEJ platform just a day before Shell’s annual AGM (Tues 24th May 2022) resolved that Nigerian oil-bearing communities and citizens who are the victims of Shell and other International Oil and Gas Companies have voted an emphatic “NO” to shell’s Energy Transition Strategy.
The resolution signed by Legborsi Saro Pyagbara- Co -Chair of ‘Indigenous Centre for Energy & Sustainable Development’ (ICE-SD) and Taiwo Otitolaye -co- Chair, ‘Publish What You Pay Campaign’, Nigeria, resolved that the Church of England and other financiers should vote against Shell’s energy transition strategy at the 24th May 2022 AGM.
“We call on the investors to immediately embark on a Fact-Finding mission in collaboration with civil society actors to ascertain the true situation of Shell’s operations in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
“Shell should go back to the drawing board and revise the 2021 energy transition strategy to align with Paris Agreement of limiting the increase in the average global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
“Given the inherent dangers of any further investment to the attainment of net zero target poses, Shell should immediately commence a process of winding down the process of further exploration of fossil fuel in Nigeria. Increasing investment in oil and gas as evidenced in its current strategy must cease,”
The added that Shell should cut down emission at source rather than targeting nature based solution, while Key stakeholders driving the cleanup of Ogoni land should do the needful to remove the impediments to actualizing the smooth implementation of the recommendation of the UNEP report. “WeWe call on Shell’s AGM to commit to a comprehensive cleanup of the entire Niger Delta,” they charged.
Other Civil Society organisations in syn with ANEEJ are: Africa Network for Environment & Economic Justice, HEDA Resource Centre, Health of Mother Earth Foundation, Environmental Rights Action, Ogoni Solidarity Forum, Ogoni Peoples Assembly, Youth Advocacy Centre, Peoples Advancement Centre, Indigenous Centre for Energy & Sustainable Development, MAC-JIM Foundation & Green Concern for Development.
As the time of filling this report, no one came out from Shell to speak to the groups.