LAGOS, NIGERIA. August 25, 2022… Leaders of the Lagos Peoples Movement, a grassroots environmental activist behind the Shadow Shell Annual General Meeting in Lagos have called on the Chair of the Church of England Pensions Board, Clive Mather to resign for being a shareholder in Shell and, hence being a stumbling block for divestment of the Church’s £3.5bn fund from fossil fuels.
Convener of the group, and Executive Director, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), the Rev David Ugolor said “it is immoral for Mather to be a Shareholder in Shell and remain as Chair of the Pensions Board of the Church of England (C of E) as he takes something away from the office. He should take the path of honour and step down,” Rev Ugolor demanded
Over time, the Church of England (C of E) has rejected pressure from Civil Society and its congregants to sell off its fossil fuel holdings. “But now that the anus of the cock is open and the world now know what Mather is been doing behind the scene, it reinforces our stance that the £3.5bn Church of England Pensions Board investment in Shell were unethical investments that were fuelling the climate crisis and Mather should resign at this point, “adds Comrade Taiwo Otitiloye, National Coordinator, Publish What You Pay (PWYP), Nigeria Campaign.
Mr. Legborsi Saro Pyagbara of the Indigenous Centre for Energy & Sustainable Development (ICE-SD) said “it is incumbent on the leader of the C of E, Archbishop Justin Welby, to ensure the divestments of the Church’s resources from further public opprobrium with the kind of story around Clive Mather and the Church of England. The Church of England should know better now and do the needful. They should stop fueling the climate crisis and the environmental destruction of Ogoni land in Nigeria through the unethical oil extraction practices of Shell in Nigeria”
It will be recalled that the Baptist church and United Reformed Church in Britain have divested from fossil fuels. Around the world, 17 Anglican dioceses are among more than 500 churches and faith-based organisations that have divested, but the Church of England Pensions Board has remained defiant to calls to divest from Shell’s fossil fuel business.
The group in an Open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in May last year called on the Cof E to divest from Shell. They had earlier at the Civil Society Shadow Annual General Meeting of Shell in Lagos, Nigeria noted that “the operations of Shell in Nigeria, rather than enrich the people of Niger Delta, has become a nightmare for the people as pollution from spills and gas flaring has led to the complete degradation of the environment, destroyed the source of livelihood and inflicted untold pain and hardship on the people.”
They equally hinged their calls on the premise that “Shell’s climate and energy strategy falls short of what is required to achieve the Paris Agreement, of limiting the increase in the average global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
“Shell’s emission reduction targets are intensity-based rather than absolute and, despite the need to wind down oil and gas production, the company plans to continue to invest billions of dollars in upstream oil and gas. It targets an increase in its gas production significantly, to reach over half of its business by 2030,’’ they pointed.
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