Letter: Nigeria's ills cannot be healed by Body Shop prescriptions

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The Independent Online
From Mr Nick Wood

Sir: I am one of the Shell workers called upon by Anita Roddick in Another View (28 November) to search their consciences. From where does her sense of moral superiority come? I strive to be a caring citizen in common with most people on this planet, including thousands of my colleagues - and, Ms Roddick, I do not separate my behaviour at work from my values. I would not work for a company whose activities were in any way responsible for the deaths of people, nor would any of the colleagues I have worked with around the world.

I work with Shell in Nigeria. I am closely involved with my Nigerian and expatriate colleagues who run our environmental programmes and work with communities in the Niger Delta to set up clinics and training workshops, build classrooms and supply teachers, build roads, provide water, and negotiate land acquisition and compensation. They work long hours, beyond company expectations, not because they want more profit for Shell but because they want to make a difference. They work in very difficult conditions in communities that are very poor. They probably question the morality of the situation every day. But they are working to make things better and they are making an important contribution.

Shell's philosophy and culture are shaped by people like this. Are protesters with placards outside service stations in Europe making as much of a difference to the people of Nigeria?

Yours faithfully,

Nick Wood

Shell Nigeria

Lagos

29 November

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