Renowned Nigerian activist and poet, and long term Gaia ally, Nnimmo Bassey, has been honoured as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) in Nigeria. The recognition comes for his long-term commitment to environmental justice.
One of Africa’s leading advocates and campaigners for environment and human rights, Nnimmo has tirelessly stood up against the practices of multinational corporations, particularly the impact of oil in Nigeria. Most recently, Nnimmo is one of the founding partners of the global Yes to Life, No to Mining movement, which will be launched alongside The Gaia Foundation this October. The movement seeks to connect mining affected communities around the world, elevating their voices and seeking greater justice against the destructive and indiscriminate impacts of the extractives sector.
Nnimmo is the Founding Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), and Chairman of both the Board of Environmental Rights Action and Friends of the Earth Nigeria. He is also the former Chair of Friends of the Earth International.
Nnimmo Bassey has already won several awards, including being named as Time magazine’s Heroes of the Environment Award in 2009; being specially honoured by the Benin Monarch, Oba Erediauwa for his contribution to environmental sustainability in Nigeria among others in 2010. In 2010 he went on to receive the Right Livelihood Award, popularly referred to as the “Alternative Nobel Prize”, “…for revealing the full ecological and human horrors of oil production and for his inspired work to strengthen the environmental movement in Nigeria and globally.”
In 2012 Nnimmo was awarded the Rafto Prize – a human rights award – in recognition of his long-term fight for people’s right to life, health, food and water in a world affected by complex and threatening climate change and mass environmental destruction.
Every year, the Nigerian president confers national honours on Nigerians and friends of the country who have displayed exceptional service in their areas of expertise, for the benefit of the nation. This year, 305 Nigerians were selected to receive the awards in a befitting ceremony in the nation’s capital, Abuja.
Much like the British honors system, Nigerian National Honours are a set of orders and decorations conferred upon Nigerians and friends of Nigeria every year. They were instituted by the National Honours Act No. 5 of 1964, during the Nigerian First Republic, to honour Nigerians who have rendered outstanding service to the benefit of the nation.