…Passes vote of Confidence on Executive Director, Ojo.
By Lucky Isibor
Crisis is rocking the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (FoEN), as the general assembly of the environmental rights body passed a resolution removing Rev. Nnimmo Bassey as the chairman of its Board of Trustees.
The resolution removing Nnimmo Bassey as the chairman of the board was taken at general meeting of the General Assembly of ERA/FoEN held Wednesday, 7th September at Precious Palm Royal Hotel in Benin City.
The General Assembly at the general meeting also passed a vote of confidence on Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo as the Executive Director of ERA and reaffirmed his position as the Executive Director while appointing three other persons as trustees.
In a six point communique at the end of the general assembly read to news men by the Executive Director, Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo states, “that Nnimmo Bassey has been removed as Trustee and Chairman of the Board and is hereby removed and every step of illegality taken by him to undermine the interest of Environmental Rights Development Foundation (ERA/FoEN) is declared null and void.
“That ERA/ FoEN offices in Lagos and and Abuja under the control of Nnimmo Bassey be shut down with immediate effect until further directive from Dr Uyi Ojo, the Executive Director.
“The General Assembly passed a vote of confidence on the Executive Director, Godwin Ojo, a leading environmental and human rights advocate, community and grassroots mobiliser, and urged him not to be distracted by anyone in the discharge of his duties. The General Assembly in this general meeting reaffirmed his position as Executive Director.
“That going by the provisions of section 834 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020, the general assembly in this general meeting has vetted and approved the nomination and appointment of the following persons as trustees of Environmental Rights Development Foundation: Chief Saint Emma Pii (Chairman), Godwin Uyi Ojo, (Secretary), Mike Karikpo (Member), and Jennifer Ero (Member).
“That Chima Williams who is parading himself as Acting Executive Director of ERA, be subjected to disciplinary actions within the ambit of the law. That the public should take note that Chima Williams is not the Executive Director of ERA and as such, no one should transact business with him.”
Part of the observations by members of ERA at the general meeting was that, “the main cause of the crisis is the conflict of interest by Nnimmo Bassey’s leadership style, remaining in control and direct involvement in the day to day management of the organization which is primarily the role of the executive council headed by the current Executive Director, Dr. Godwin Ojo. Nnimmo Bassey occupied the dual position as ERA/ FoEN Executive Director and ‘Chairman of the Board’ since inception in 1993 to 2013, and remained as ‘Chairman of the Board’ for over 27 years. He combines these as the Executive Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation, HOMEF; an organization which he established for the purpose of sabotaging the progress of Environmental Rights Development Foundation (also known as ERA/FoEN). The conflict of interest has caused rivalry and enthreached conflicts that is inimical to the smooth running of the Environmental Rights Development Foundation (also known as ERA/FoEN).”
Reacting to his removal, Nnimmo Bassey said, Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo has ceased to be the Executive Director of ERA/FoEN and thus has no right to call for any general assembly meeting.
“Recall that on March 18, 2013, the Board of Trustees and the Governing Board of Environmental Rights Development Foundation (ERDF) appointed you as the Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) with effect from April 1, 2013.
“However, at its Emergency Board Meeting held on October 3, 2020 to discuss the report of the independent Evaluation of ERA/FoEN, the Board resolved that your services are no longer required and your appointment as the Executive Director is terminated with effect from October 3, 2020”, he said.