The Board of Trustees of the Environmental Rights Development Foundation (ERDF) has announced the appointment of Chima Williams as Acting Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) following the disengagement of Godwin Uyi Ojo’s executive directorship effective from October 3, 2020.
The Board took the decision at an emergency meeting held on October 3, 2020. Mr William’s appointment takes effect from October 5, 2020.
In a statement by the Board Chairman of ERDF, Nnimmo Bassey, the Board said it “appreciates the work that the former executive director did while in the organization and wishes him well in his future endeavors. We remain hopeful and excited for the next chapter of ERA/FoEN”.
Until his appointment, Mr Williams was Head of Legal Resources/Democracy Outreach of ERA/FoEN. He is a legislative and policy change advocate who believes in globally enforceable environmental and human rights standards by all business operators to ensure respect for the environmental and human rights of local communities, the statement said.
A lawyer, Mr Williams is President, Green Alliance Nigeria and is in his second term as an Editorial Board Member of Business and Human Rights Journal published by Cambridge University Press, London. He is Country Focal Person and Regional Chairman, Publicity Committee of Public Interest Lawyering Initiative for West Africa, among other positions he holds.
Mr Williams has utilized campaigns, advocacy, mobilization, policy and legislative interventions and litigation at both national and trans-national spheres to contribute towards the protection of citizens’ rights, especially against the destructive practices of the extractive industry.
He was the Nigerian Lawyer to the Ikebiri Kingdom in their case against the Multi-National Oil Company ENI/NAOC in Milan, Italy, where the King of Ikebiri Community sued NAOC-ENI for environmental disaster in his community. The case was settled out of court with the Ikebiri people gaining enormous benefits from the company.
He is currently involved in monitoring the implementation of an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Complaint Process following the successful outcome in the complaint of Egbema Voice of Freedom & 2 Others Vs. ENI/NAOC in Aggah Community of Rivers State. This process involves the removal of perennial flooding occurrences that have ravaged the community for over 40 years.
He is the Principal Partner of Chima Williams & Associates – a Nigerian Law Firm. He is a Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria with over 19 years of litigation experience in the areas of human/environmental rights, livelihoods protection/defence, land rights, property rights, criminal and civil litigations.