Nnimmo Bassey

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Nnimmo Bassey
Born (1958-06-11) 11 June 1958 (age 65)
Occupation(s)Nigeria architect, environmental activist, author and poet

Nnimmo Bassey (born 11 June 1958) is a Nigerian architect, environmental activist, author and poet, who chaired Friends of the Earth International from 2008 through 2012[1] and was executive director of Environmental Rights Action for two decades.[2] He was one of Time magazine's Heroes of the Environment in 2009.[3] In 2010, Nnimmo Bassey was named a Laureate of the Right Livelihood Award,[4] and in 2012, he was awarded the Rafto Prize.[5] He also received an honorary doctorate from the University of York, England, in 2019. He serves on the advisory board and is Director of the Health of Mother Earth Foundation, an environmental think tank and advocacy organization.[6][7]

Early life and education[edit]

Nnimmo Bassey was born on 11 June 1958. He studied architecture, practiced in the public sector for 10 years and thereafter continued in private practice. He was active on human rights issues in the 1980s when he served on the Board of Directors of Nigeria's Civil Liberties Organization. In 1993, he co-founded a Nigerian (Non-governmental organization) NGO known as Environmental Rights Action (Friends of the Earth Nigeria) in order to advocate, educate and organize around environmental human rights issues in Nigeria.[8] Since 1996, Bassey and Environmental Rights Action led Oil watch Africa and, beginning in 2006, also led the Global South Network, Oil watch International, striving to mobilize communities against the expansion of fossil fuels extraction.[9][10] Bassey has served in the committees of both Oil watch International and the regional arm, Oil watch Africa since inception. Oil watch Africa has membership in Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Congo Democratic Republic, Ghana, Uganda, South Africa, Togo, Kenya, Swaziland, Mozambique, Mali, Sudan, South Sudan and others.[11] Membership of Oil watch International spreads across South America, Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe and North America.[12] The Network works to resist destructive oil, gas and coal extraction activities. It demands an urgent shift from the dominant petroleum-fueled civilization. In 2011, Bassey founded the Ecological think tank, the Health of Mother Earth Foundation promoting environmental climate justice and food sovereignty in Nigeria and Africa.[13] At the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Bassey - despite being accredited - was "physically kept out" of a meeting.[14][citation needed]


He led Friends of the Earth International from 2008 to 2012 and for two decades, was the executive director of Environmental Rights Action. He is the director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation [6]and have served on the

  • To Cook a Continent: Destructive Extraction and the Climate Crisis in Africa[15]

Other books by Bassey include:

  1. Patriots & Cockroaches (Poems) 1992
  2. Beyond Simple Lines: the Architecture of Chief G.Y. Aduku and Archcon (with Okechukwu Nwaeze) 1993
  3. The Management of Construction [1994]
  4. Poems on The Run (Poems) 1994
  5. Oil watching in South America (Environment) [1997]
  6. Intercepted (Poems) 1998
  7. We Thought It Was Oil But It Was Blood (Poems), 2002
  8. Genetically Modified Organisms: the African Challenge (2004)
  9. Living Houses (Architecture), 2005
  10. Knee Deep in Crude, ERA Field Reports, ed (2009)
  11. The Nigerian Environment and the Rule of Law, ed (2009)
  12. I will Not Dance to Your Beat (poems), Kraft Books, Ibadan. 2011
  13. We Thought It Was Oil But It Was Blood- Resistance to Military-Corporate Wedlock in Nigeria and Beyond. (TNI/Pluto Press, 2015)
  14. Oil Politics- Echoes of Ecological Wars- (Daraja Press, 2016).[16][17]

Awards and recognitions[edit]

2009 Times Magazine's Hero Of Environment [18]

2010 Laureate Right Livelihood Award winner [19]

2012 Rafto Prize winner [20]

Honorary Doctorate, University of York, UK[21][22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nnimmo Bassey elected chair of Friends of the Earth International". Archived from the original on 2010-11-22. Retrieved 2009-12-10.
  2. ^ "The Right Livelyhood Award: List of Laureates: Nnimmo Bassey 2010". Right Livelihood Award Foundation. Archived from the original on 22 April 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  3. ^ http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1924149_1924153_1924211,00.html Time - Heroes of the Environment 2009
  4. ^ "Right Livelihood Award: 2010 - Nnimmo Bassey". Archived from the original on 2014-04-22. Retrieved 2010-10-28.
  5. ^ «Raftoprisen til Nnimmo Bassey», Vårt Land, 27. september 2012.
  6. ^ a b "Health of Mother Earth Foundation". Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  7. ^ "We Need to Overturn the System". Health of Mother Earth Foundation. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2023-09-29. Retrieved 2023-03-26.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Environmental Rights Action (ERA) | Devex".
  10. ^ "ERA - Environmental Rights Action | Environmental Justice Organisations, Liabilities and Trade".
  11. ^ "Organisations in Africa | Oilwatch".
  12. ^ "Oilwatch in Africa | Oilwatch". Retrieved 2022-03-12.
  13. ^ "Nnimmo Bassey Biography". Friends of the Earth International. Archived from the original on 13 April 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  14. ^ ""A Naked Form of Blackmail": Naomi Klein on Secretary of State Clinton's Proposal to Set up $100 Billion Climate Aid Fund for Developing Countries". Democracy Now!.
  15. ^ Bassey, Nnimmo (January 2012). To cook a continent. Destructive extraction and the climate crisis in Africa. Pambazuka Press;several African countries.
  16. ^ "Trade and human rights in the Niger Delta | Pambazuka News". www.pambazuka.org. 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2022-03-23.
  17. ^ Bassey, Nnimmo (2016). Oil politics: echoes of ecological wars. Montréal, Québec: Daraja Press. ISBN 978-0-9952223-1-1.
  18. ^ Schjørlien, Publisert 02 10 2009 av Kay Asbjørn Knutsen (2009-10-02). "Nnimmo Bassey - Hero of the Environment 2009". naturvernforbundet.no (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 2020-09-21. Retrieved 2022-03-28.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  19. ^ "Nnimmo Bassey". Right Livelihood. Retrieved 2022-03-28.
  20. ^ "The 2012 Rafto Prize awarded to Nnimmo Bassey". Human Rights House Foundation. 2012-10-02. Retrieved 2022-03-28.
  21. ^ "Nnimmo Bassey bags York varsity honorary degree". Vanguard News. 2019-07-23. Retrieved 2022-03-28.
  22. ^ "Bassey bags University Of York's doctoral award". The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News. 2019-07-28. Retrieved 2023-04-15.

External links[edit]