Oronto Douglas, a top presidential aide and confidant of President Goodluck Jonathan, is dead.
Douglas died early Thursday morning at the State House Clinic, from cancer-related complications.
Douglas came to national and international prominence as an environmental activist on behalf of the oil-producing communities of the Niger Delta.
A lawyer by profession, the deceased was born in 1966 and had been sick for several years but associates of President Jonathan said he continued to work over the last few weeks for Jonathan’s reelection, with one source saying he was devastated when his principal lost the presidential polls.
Douglas is Nigeria’s leading environmental human rights lawyer and was deputy director of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria, and has been a visiting lecturer and speaker at community-organized events, international conferences, and universities all over the world.
Douglas was a member of the legal team that represented Ken Saro-Wiwa before he was executed by the Nigerian military junta in November 1995.
He received degrees in law from the University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and De Montford, Leicester, England.
His articles and speeches have been published in books, journals, and magazines in Nigeria, Europe and the United States.
His recent book: “Where Vultures Feast, Shell, Human Rights, and Oil in the Niger Delta” has been published by Random House. He is now the Commissioner for Information, Culture, Tourism and Strategy for Bayelsa state in Nigeria.
He remains the first Niger Delta activist to have been hosted at the White House by a serving American President in the heydays of President Bill Clinton.
Douglas is a Fellow of the George Bell Institute, England, and the International Forum on Globalization, USA.
He has presented papers in over 200 international conferences and has visited over 50 countries to speak on human rights and the environment.
With his friend, Ike Okonta, he co-authored Where Vultures Feast, the ground-breaking study on Shell and human rights violation in the Niger Delta.
Oronto Douglas is the Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Research & Documentation.
He is survived by wife and children.