Friday, 29 May 2009

"State of Nigerian Nation" Summit, Holloway

The sun is shining, and we've finally arrived in Holloway, having taken a slow route past Heathrow airport and through Chiswick, Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush.

We're receiving lots of encouraging smiles and thumbs up as we go! This beautiful original 1968 Routemaster is causing quite a stir.

Past Euston and a very busy Kings Cross station, we've been along some of the most congested routes in London and the worst affected by poor air quality; a real issue in London and one that causes severe problem serious health problems for many Londoners. Jean has been fighting both here and at the EU level for tough action to reduce emissions and traffic.

Jean is now giving a speech to the Nigeria Liberty Forum on democracy and human rights in Nigeria. As a Green, she has long been concerned about the role of oil companies in the Ogoni region. 90% of Nigeria's population live on less than $2 per day. The detrimental impact of some western oil companies, Shell in particular, on the environment and local communities, is devastating the region.

In 2007, elections in Nigeria broke down. Violence, corruption and criminality have become all too common in the society, and have come to characterise Nigeria's politics.

Jean has written to the European Commission to press for EU action to tackle corruption in Nigeria. She will continue to demand that oil companies be forced to operate at the same high environmental standards that would be expected if they were here in the EU.

Before leaving home this morning, Jean spoke to Colourful Radio about the meeting today, which marks 10 years since the return of democracy to the African state - an anniversary whose sentiment is rather hollow given the current failings of the political system.

Some leafletting, a snadwich, then we'll be on our way to Westminster for 3pm!

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