By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin
The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth (ERA/FoEN), has slide into crises, dragging the image of 27-year Non-General Organization into disrepute.
The Chairman and member of Board of Trustees (BoT), Mr. Nnimo Bassey the Organization, removed by General Assembly of ERA along with another a member Mr. Chima Williams by the General Assembly of ERA on Wednesday in Benin City.
The General Assembly which is a conglomeration of members of ERA in Nigeria, also approved the appointment of Saint Emma Pii as Chairman while Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo as Secretary of Secretary of the Board along with Mike Karipo and Jennifer Ero as members as Nnimo Bassey and Chima Williams.
Recall that Mr. Nnimo Bassey who is Director of Health of mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), had on Tuesday in a statement, announced the appointment of Mr. Chima Williams as acting Executive Chairman of ERA as replacement of the incumbent executive Director of ERA, Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo, citing ERA Board meeting that was held on October 3, 2020.
But, Mr. Christopher Ojekere of the Foundation for Good Governance and social Change who read the resolution of ERA General Assembly, said that the group derived its power from provision of Section 384 (1) of the Companies Allied Matters Act 2020, before vetting and approving the removal and replacement of Mr. Nnimo Bassey and Mr. Chima Williams over ‘conflict of interest’ and lack of trust as the reasons for their removal from ERA Board of Trustees.
He thereafter pronounced every illegal step taken so far by the dissident groups as null and void and ordered that ERA/FoEN offices under the control of Mr. Nnimo Bassey and Mr. Chima Williams be shutdown forthwith.
Briefing the Media on the unfolding development after the General Assembly passed a vote of confidence on his leadership, Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo who claimed to be founding member of ERA/FoEN in 1993, recalled several atteovities of the elwhile Board Chairman of ERA, Mr. Nnimo Bassey and Mr. Chima Williams.
“Nnimo has done 20 years as Executive Director in dual capacity as Chairman BoT of ERA/FoEN”, According to him, “The conflict has being on for many years and I have been trying to manage it.
“Since I started as Executive Director of ERA/FoEN in 2013, I have not seen a proposal, I have not seen finding, I have not seen a work plan.
“We (ERA) have account which I am supposed to be a signatory to, but, since I started, I have not signed one cheque in that account.
“I have high regard for Nnimo, but he has betrayed and violated. Human rights has been thrown to the abyss under his leadership as Chairman of BoT”, he alleged.
According to him, “I have condoned a lot of things, kept quiet. I was just hoping that this things will fizzle out”, he lamented.
He accused Nnimo Bassey of floating a Non-Governmental Organization during his tenure as Chairman, ERA Board of Trustees, Health of mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), an entrenched interest he alleged runs contrary to the goals and objectives of ERA, thereby sabotaging the efforts of the group.
But, Mr. Nnimo Bassey who countered Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo, went down memory lane about how the crisis began after Laura Livoti, a philanthropists Advising and Non-profit firm Report dated September 28, 2020, assessment and Evaluation of ERA activities under Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo watch, recommended to the Board to sack the later.
He alleged that ceased to be Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo to be the Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, which he jointly founded with Toronto Douglas (now deceased) and few other prominent Nigerians, following the termination of appointment letter that was jointly signed by Nnimo Bassey (Chairman), Mr. Ike Okonta and four other members of the Board on October 3, 2020.