The environmental community beamed with joy yesterday, Monday the 29th of September, 2014 as the Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan decorated renowned activist, Nnimmo Bassey with the title of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR). Nnimmo Bassey, the director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) is a household name who has tirelessly persisted in his international struggle for environmental justice and human rights. The trained architect is also a poet and former Chair of Friends of the Earth International.
The prestigious award is a feather in the cap of Nnimmo Bassey, who has already received international awards including the Right Livelihood Award popularly called the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’ in 2010 and the Rafto Prize in 2012. He was also listed as a Time Magazine Hero of the Environment in 2009. These awards were in recognition of his long-term fight for people’s rights to life, health, food, water, livelihood and a safe environment in a world that is constantly facing threats of climate change and environmental devastation. In addition to his long list of recognitions, Nnimmo Bassey was decorated by the monarch, Oba Erediauwa of Benin City in 2010 with the Oba of Benin Green Award – Policeman of the Environment for his contribution to environmental sustainability and the 2011 Global Appreciation Award by the World Heritage Cultural Council (WHCC) in New York, USA.
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.
We are particularly pleased with the variety of awardees this year, which apart from Bassey, included the President’s cook, a diligent traffic warden, the man who designed the Nigerian flag (Pa Taiwo Akinkunmi) and a taxi driver who returned 18 million Nigeria which was forgotten in his taxi.
We congratulate Nnimmo Bassey on this prestigious honour as we believe that it is a well deserved honour and will inspire other activists to keep up the good work.
See more photos of the recepient: