Chairman of the board of the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Nnimmo Bassey is one of the 15 leading figures who received honorary degrees on Friday, July 19, 2019 at the University of York, United Kingdom.
Bassey was honoured along with Game of Thrones star, Mark Addy; photojournalist,
Lynsey Addario; video game designer, Charles Cecil; paediatrician, Professor Diana Gibb; historian, Professor Catherine Hall; and biologist and Nobel Prize winner, Richard Henderson at the institution’s Central Hall.
Others are engineer and entrepreneur, Professor Irwin Jacobs; Professor of linguistics at Stanford University, Dr Ronald Kaplan; survival expert and TV presenter, Ray Mears; children’s author, Sir Michael Morpurgo; Professor of Physics at Michigan State University, Witold Nazarewicz; CEO of Smith & Nephew, Sir Christopher O’Donnell; economist, Professor Dani Rodrik; and President of Xiamen University, China, Professor Rong Zhang.
In a statement issued in Lagos, by ERA/FoEN Head of Media & Campaigns, Philip Jakpor, the group said the recognition of Nnimmo Bassey by York University is well deserved in view of his contributions to environmental human rights causes in Nigeria and in the global sphere.
The honorary degree adds to a list of other reconitions Bassey has received in the last decade. In 2009 he was named “Hero of the Environment” by Time Magazine for his advocacy that made inhabitants of the Niger Delta know their rights, the infringements of the oil companies and the Nigerian authorities and why they should be held responsible. In 2010 he was conferred the Rights Livelihood Award “for revealing the full and ecological human horrors of oil production”.
Bassey led the ERA/FoEN from 1993 to 2013 and has served as chair of Friends of the Earth International, the world’s largest grassroots environmental network. He is currently the executive director of the ecological think-tank, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF).