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Shell Rushing To Sell Assets To Avoid Accountability In Nigeria’s Niger Delta – Activist, Mikaela Loach

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Mikaela Loach, a UK-based activist, has slammed Shell’s Chief Executive Officer at the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) over alleged oil spillage and gas flaring in the Niger Delta.

Delivering a powerful critique of the company’s environmental and human rights record in the Niger Delta, Loach accused Shell of profiting from severe pollution that has drastically impacted the health and livelihood of the people, shortened life expectancy, and devastated local communities in the region.

She highlighted the grim reality for the people of the Niger Delta, stating that, on account of the company’s fossil fuel production in the region, life expectancy is now only between 41 and 46 years.

Loach questioned the company’s morality of profiting from such devastation, saying, “How can you be comfortable profiting from limiting the lives of millions of people?

“The money that lines your pockets and allows you to comfortably grow old prevents that same dignity for people in the Niger Delta.

“In the 70 years where you made stupendous profits for your shareholders, you transform the Niger Delta into the most polluted place on earth and its people among the poorest and most poisoned,” Loach pointed.

She further detailed how gas flaring at 178 sites has continuously emitted millions of tons of Carbon Monoxide (CO), Methane, and other chemicals, causing cancer, birth defects, skin diseases, and respiratory illnesses among over 40 million people.

Loach accused Shell of refusing to accept responsibility for a ruptured pipe that contaminated the drinking water of an entire community.

She also accused the company of evading accountability by selling off onshore oil assets to newly formed consortiums.

In her words “Up until now, Shell has refused to accept that its ruptured pipe is the source of the pollution that has contaminated the drinking water of the entire community.

“Who will fix the health of millions of people you have poisoned, who will restore their livelihood?” She questioned.

Speaking further, Loach said, “For years, you have pushed back against the legal case from the Ogale and Bille communities against you for your decades and decades of pollution.

“Now that the case can be heard in the UK courts, we know that you are rushing to sell off your assets to avoid accountability.

“You’re attempting to walk away from seven decades of reckless oil extraction and its attendant ecological health and livelihood impacts. As you always have, you’re attempting to avoid justice.

“I just want you to know that your days of profiting off our lives are numbered. And we will end your profits. We will end your company,” she warned.

Loach gave this speech amid security trying to usher her out.

Taking to X, Loach wrote, “I got removed from Shell’s AGM for simply telling their shareholders the truth about Shell’s destruction of the health and lives of people in the Niger Delta in Nigeria.

“I went there to share a message on behalf of @wtpnigeria comrades. My hands shook, tears fell from my eyes as security surrounded me, but nothing there was even close to what our siblings in the Niger Delta are forced to experience as a result of Shell’s extraction.

“Shell knows that the cases coming for them in the UK courts this year could financially ruin them. As the Niger Delta rises up to demand justice, Shell is trying to sell off its assets and run. They don’t want people to know this: so let’s make sure everyone does.”

Read: Nigerian Police Abduct Another Journalist, Madu Onuorah in Abuja

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