ERA/FoEN Executive Director Williams Gets IEHESE Award

Executive Director, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Barrister Chima Williams has been honoured with the Energy Security Ambassador Award of Excellence in recognition for what the International Energy, Health and Safety Events (IEHESE) described as “his exemplary commitment towards an energy secure Nigeria,” at the IEHESE 2022 Conference and Awards.

The IEHESE is an exclusive platform that facilitates knowledge and experience sharing, innovation in safety management and promotes development and review of initiatives that accelerate improvements in safe work performance for the Nigerian energy, oil, and gas industries.

Williams, who received the 2022 Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s foremost award for grassroots environmental activists, became Executive Director of ERA/FoEN in October 2020 and won the award based on his work with two Niger Delta communities for holding Royal Dutch Shell accountable for environmental damages caused by spills from its facilities into the communities between 2004 and 2007.

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

The Court ruled that not only was Royal Dutch Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary responsible for the oil spills but that 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 was held accountable and responsible for the violations of its subsidiary in another country, a verdict that opened Shell up to litigations from communities across Nigeria devastated by the company’s disregard for environmental safety.

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