By guest author Daphne Wysham
Oronto Douglas in the Niger Delta he worked to defend. Photo- Steve Kretzmann
If they knew him at all, the world knew Nigerian Oronto Douglas as the former attorney for the writer, playwright and Ogoni human rights activist Ken Saro Wiwa. Despite Oronto's and even President Bill Clinton's best effort, Ken was framed and hanged in 1995 together with 8 other Ogoni men who dared resist Shell Oil's drilling in their homeland under former dictator Sani Abacha. Or perhaps the world knew Oronto as a top advisor to the former president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan.
To his friends, Oronto was so much more. He was a man of profound sacrifice, service, love, integrity, and faith. He was a true Christian, taking to heart the message of the rebel Jesus. Like Jesus, he was at his most fierce in taking on the money-lenders in the temple. Oronto's "temple" was the natural world, and in particular, the lush and verdant landscape of the Niger Delta. In speeches and interviews, he took on the oil companies and their backers, repeatedly proclaiming, "They drill and they kill!" He urged people of conscience to divest from fossil fuel companies.