• Fri. Sep 29th, 2023

NEITI hails Chima Williams, winner of 2022 Goldman environment prize for Africa

ByBassey Udo

May 29, 2022


The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) on Sunday congratulated renowned environmental activist, Chima Williams, for emerging one of six winners of this year’s Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa.

The Executive Secretary of the transparency agency, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, in a congratulatory message to the environmental activist, said he welcomed with excitement his declaration as one of the winners.

Orji described William’s win as “Victory for environmental justice to oil, gas and mining host communities in Nigeria.”

“It is an encouraging development to NEITI’s commitment to push the boundaries of civic space in tackling environmental degradation in Nigeria in line with global EITI standards,” he added.

Williams, a lawyer and founding member of the Civil Society Steering Committee of NEITI, won the Prize for Africa as a result of his leadership in championing environmental justice in the Niger Delta through his legal fight for the clean-up of the Ogoni land, especially helping three communities in the Niger Delta – Oruma, Goi and Ikot Ada Udo communities in Ogoni land of Bayelsa State to win the 13-year-old case for the oil spills and environmental damages against Shell Petroleum Development Company at The Hague.

He was also part of the legal team involved in the litigation against gas flaring in the Iwherekan community in Delta State in 2005.

The NEITI Executive Secretary noted that Williams, through the years, has been committed and dogged in his advocacy for justice and equity for vulnerable citizens, especially those who reside in the Niger Delta region.

Winners from other continents include Niwat Roykaew of Thailand who won the prize for Asia, Marjan Minnessma of the Netherlands who won the prize for Europe, and Juliet Vincent who picked the prize for Australia.

Others are Nalleli Cobo of the United States, who collected the prize for North America as well as Alex Luciatante and Alexandra Narvaez from Ecuador, who jointly won the prize for South America.

The global award, known as Nobel Prize for grassroots advocacy to protect the environment” was announced in a virtual ceremony held on May 25 2022 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“We hope that as Nigeria moves into environmental reporting, Barrister Williams, a valuable resource person on environmental issues, will bring his wealth of experience, skills, and expertise to guide and complement our efforts as we engage the sector”, Orji said.

The award was announced at the time Williams was in Abuja as a lead discussant at a seminar organised by NEITI on addressing environment challenges in Nigeria.

The Goldman Environmental Prize started in 1989 and is awarded annually to honour the achievements and leadership of grassroots environmental activists from each of the world’s six inhabited continental regions.

The Prize recognizes individuals for their sustained significant efforts in protecting the environment and seeks to inspire other ordinary people to take extraordinary actions to protect the natural world.

Williams is the third Nigerian to receive the Prize after the late environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa won it in 1995.

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