24 October 1994
“…The RLA prize [Right Livelihood Award] was most welcome. It encouraged the Ogoni people a great deal, legitimized MOSOP as a non-violent, and environmental and human rights organization, and the prize money will ease things a great deal for me. I don’t see Shell and the government allowing me to travel—they must dread what bombs my presence will drop in Europe as I’m supposed to address the Swedish Parliament, the European Parliament in Strasbourg and another meeting in London. There or not, my words will ring through all the places. If I can’t make it, I intend to ask my son to represent me. But somehow, I’m hopeful that I’ll be there. If I’m not, then it is in Ogoni interest that I should not be. God’s will.
As the days go by, I get the more convinced that the cause will win. I remember your encouraging me in the early days of our meeting, saying how because I had a certain independence of means, I might well be the only activist capable of giving Shell a run for their money. When I think how far we’ve gone on very thin resources, I have cause to be grateful to God. And no matter what Shell does or says, they’ve been in rough waters since July 1992 when I advised the [UN] Working Group on Indigenous Peoples in Geneva. I am grateful to all those of you who have rallied round the Ogoni cause—UNPO, Greenpeace, International Pen, etc. And there must be better news on the way. I should mention the Bodyshop, of course. You probably know that they nominated me and MOSOP for the RLA Award. I have sent an appeal to President Carter asking him to intervene and resolve the conflict. Someone of his reputation would make quite a difference. My cousin in America has been quoted as saying the MOSOP (USA) would sue Shell. Exxon had to pay 5 billion USD for the oil spill from one tanker in Alaska. By the time we’ve created sufficient awareness internationally, it should be possible for us to find assistance should we wish to sue.
… As far as I am concerned, Shell should lose its mining lease in Ogoni. They may be pretending that they do not want to return to Ogoni. The fact is that they have 500 million barrels of oil on secondary drilling at K. Dere [a village in the Gokana district, Ogoniland]; they only last year awarded a 550 million USD contract to some organization to design the gas collection throughout Ogoni and the K. Dere field was to help in the natural gas plant at Bonny. No, Shell are merely hoping that the government will succeed in “pacifying” the Ogoni and then they will move in proudly and calmly to continue to steal. They are in for a fight they will never forget. Luckily, I’m no longer alone. Several Ogoni youth are now learning the ropes, and if only they could get further exposure, they would be able to continue the struggle even in my absence.”