Friday, 2nd December 2022
<To guardian.ng
Search
Breaking News:

Chima Williams, others win Goldman Environmental Prize

By Damilola Aliu
28 May 2022   |   2:36 am
The Executive Director of the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Chima Williams, has been named among seven winners of this year’s Goldman Environmental Prize.

The Executive Director of the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Chima Williams, has been named among seven winners of this year’s Goldman Environmental Prize.

A statement issued by the Goldman Environmental Foundation, listed other winners as Niwat Roykaew from Thailand; Marjan Minnessma, The Netherlands; Juliet Vincent, Australia; Nalleli Cobo, United States, as well as Alex Luciatante and Alexandra Narvaez, Ecuador.

“The Goldman Prize is awarded yearly to environmental heroes from each of the world’s six inhabited continental regions. The Goldman Environmental Prize honours the achievements and leadership of grassroots, environmental activists, from around the world, inspiring everyone to take action to protect our planet,” the statement said.

Philanthropists and civic leaders, Rhoda and Richard Goldman founded the prize in 1989 in San Francisco.

In 33 years, the prize has had an immeasurable impact on the planet. To date, 213 winners have been honoured including 95 women from 93 countries.

Vice President of the Goldman Environmental Foundation, Jennifer Goldman Wallis, said: “While the many challenges before us can feel daunting, and at times, make us lose faith, these seven leaders give us a reason for hope and remind us of what can be accomplished in the face of adversity.

The Prize winners showed that nature has the amazing capability to regenerate if given the opportunity. Let us all feel inspired to channel their victories into regenerating our own spirit and act to protect our planet for future generations.”

Williams, who became ERA/FoEN Executive Director in October 2020, won the award based on his work in Niger Delta communities to hold Royal Dutch Shell accountable for environmental damages caused by spills from its facilities into the communities between 2004 and 2007.

On January 29, 2021, after 13 years of litigation, the Court of Appeal in The Hague, Netherlands, the home country of Shell, ruled in favour of three Nigerian farmers from two communities in the Niger Delta-Eric Barizaa Dooh of Goi Community of Rivers State; Fidelis Oguru and Alali Efanga from Oruma community, Bayelsa State.

The court ruled that not only was Royal Dutch Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary responsible for the oil spills but, as the parent company, Royal Dutch Shell also had an obligation to prevent the spills.

The ruling was the first time a Dutch transnational corporation has been held accountable for the violations of its subsidiary in another country, opening Shell to legal action from communities across Nigeria devastated by the company’s disregard for environmental safety.

Previous Nigerian winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize include the late playwright and environmentalist, Ken Saro-Wiwa and Cross River-based environmentalist, Odiga Odigha.

Normally, the Prize award is conducted in person at a ceremony at the San Francisco Opera House, United States, but this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was awarded virtually and broadcast online on May 25, 2022.