Shell Shuts Office As Ogonis Protest Pollution
By Bashiru Abdullahi, 30 April 2012
Port Harcourt — The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) shut down its office in Rumoumasi area of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, as hundreds of Ogonis and environmental activists staged a protest at the weekend.
The protesters, who carried placards with various inscriptions such as, “Shell clean up Niger Delta”, “Implement UNEP report”, “Ogoni say no to Shell”, among others, marched to the entrance of the Shell office, calling on it to clean up pollution in the Niger Delta region.
Movement of vehicles in and out of the company was interrupted as the demonstrators queued up in front of the gate.
Our correspondent reports that following the refusal of officials of the company to attend to the protesters, they dropped their protest letter in front of the gate. National Coordinator of the Ogoni Solidarity Forum, Celestine AkpoBari, who addressed journalists during the protest, said the demonstration was in solidarity with similar ones which were held on the same day in 14 different countries around the world to task Shell to clean up pollution in the Niger Delta.
“We are on the street again to draw attention of the world to the devastation in the Niger Delta. We will continue to protest until we do something stupid. We are trying to be very peaceful for now, but I assure you that we are going to do something very stupid very soon,” he said.
In its protest letter, jointly signed by Amnesty International and Centre for Environment, the protesters called on the oil company and the Federal Government to clean up the Niger Delta and make public all information about the impact of oil operations on the environment and people of the area.
“We, the undersigned organizations and residents of Nigeria’s oil affected communities are staging a peaceful demonstration outside Shell’s offices in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to highlight the devastating effects of exploration on our environment and lives.
The government of Nigeria has failed to enforce existing laws and regulations to prevent pollution and hold the oil industry to account, meaning they are freely flouted by companies like Shell without any concern for the consequences,” the protesters said.