The Board of Trustees of the Environmental Rights Development Foundation (ERDF) has announced the appointment of Chima Williams Esq 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 Saturday, October 3, 2020.
The Board took the decision at an emergency meeting held on October 3. Chima William’s appointment takes effect from Monday, October 5.
In a statement by the Board Chairman of ERDF, Nnimmo Bassey, was quoted as saying: “The Board appreciates the work that the former executive director did while in the organisation and wishes him well in his future endeavours. We remain hopeful and excited for the next chapter of ERA/FoEN.”
Until his appointment, Williams was Head of Legal Resources/Democracy Outreach of ERA/FoEN. Williams was described in the statement as “a consummate 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”.
A lawyer, 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.
Williams is said to have utilised campaigns, advocacy, mobilisation, policy and legislative interventions and litigation at both national and trans-national spheres to contribute towards the protection of citizens’ rights, especially against the 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 is suing NAOC-ENI for environmental disaster in his community. The case was settled out of court with the Ikebiri people gaining 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.