Chima Williams (file photo)
By Valentine Amanze
The Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has commended the Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action-Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA-FoEN), Chima Williams, for emerging winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize 2022, while describing the feat as well-deserved.
Williams and six other recipients were named in the 2022 award ceremony which was captured virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic and broadcast online on May 25, 2022
The CAPPA Director of Programmes, Philip Jakpor, in a statement, explained: “The Goldman Environmental Prize is an award that honours the achievements and leadership of grassroots environmental activists from around the world.
“The prize recognizes individuals for their sustained significant efforts in protecting the environment. The award given to recognized individual leaders from different continents seeks to inspire other ordinary people to take extraordinary actions to protect the natural world.”
Williams is the third Nigerian to receive the award after the late Ken Saro-Wiwa and Odigha Odigha, who received it in 1995 and 2003, respectively, according to Jakpor.
“Williams was recognized for his role in the legal quest for environmental justice. He worked with the four fishersfolks from the three communities in the Niger Delta that held Royal Dutch Shell accountable for the oil spills and environmental damage on Oruma, Goi and Ikot Ada Udo communities.
“He was also on the legal team that litigated the action over gas flaring in the Iwherekan community in the case of Jonah Gbemre versus Shell in 2005,” he said.
In his contribution, the CAPPA Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi, said: “The award of the Goldman Environmental Prize to Chima Williams serves as encouragement to individuals, groups, and communities even beyond the Niger Delta that are fighting environmental injustices. The environmental justice community hails this announcement.
“The recognition of Williams is a testament of his doggedness in the quest to hold corporations like Shell accountable for environmental recklessness that they think they can get away with.”
A statement released by the Goldman Environmental Foundation listed other winners to include Niwat Roykaew from Thailand; Marjan Minnessma the Netherlands; Juliet Vincent, Australia; Nalleli Cobo, United States and Alex Luciatante and Alexandra Narvaez, Ecuador.
The Goldman prize was inaugurated in 1989 and awarded annually to environmental heroes from each of the world’s six inhabited continental regions.
To date, 213 winners had been honoured including 95 women from 93 nations.