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CAPPA, TMG mourn Innocent Chukwuma, say death too sudden, devastating

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Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has described the death of renowned civil society leader and former head of Ford Foundation, West Africa, Innocent Chukwuma as a big blow to the civil society community in Nigeria and Africa.

A statement issued by Philip Jakpor, Director of Programmes at CAPPA, revealed that Chukwuma, 55, died on Saturday, April 3, 2021 from Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, an aggressive cancer of the blood.

Chukwuma, who was an active member of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) that opposed the military in the 1980s, continued the struggle as member of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) where he led research and advocacy on police reform and at the Centre for Law Enforcement of Education in Nigeria (CLEEN Foundation), which he founded in 1998. He joined Ford Foundation in 2013 as its head for West Africa.

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CAPPA said that Chukwuma’s passing would leave a huge gap that will be difficult to fill for a long time in view of his contributions to the growth of civil society movement in West Africa and Nigeria in particular, and his campaigns against the Nigerian military when it was suicidal to do so.

Executive Director of CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi said: “Chukwuma’s death is not only shocking, but also comes at a time when the civic space has shrunk badly due to civilian mis-governance and in need of critical voices like his again.

“He will be particularly remembered for his extensive work and active roles as a political activist and community organiser against Nigeria’s military dictatorships of the 1980s and 1990s.”

Oluwafemi said the late activist, along with others at the CLO, inspired many young Nigerians to continue the struggles against injustice and ensure the rights of citizens were not unduly violated.

“We use this opportunity to extend our condolences to his immediate family and pray that God will strengthen them at this time of grief. As we mourn with them, we also want to use this time to reflect and interrogate those issues that Chukwuma stood for, lived for and died for,” the statement reads.

ALSO, the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) has described the death of Chukwuma as “sad, shocking and devastating.”Chairman of TMG, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, said: “The late Chukwuma also steered the affairs of TMG as its chairman between 2006 and 2008 where he brought his capacity for hard work, brilliance and commitment to bear on his cherished pedigree.

“Chukwuma’s death is not only a rude shock, but also an emotive dagger that pierced through the heart of the pro-democracy, civil society community and former NANS revolutionary leadership with a devastating blow too painful to bear.

“TMG joins millions of Nigerians in commiserating with his family, particularly his wife, Josephine Effah-Chukwuma and the children. May God comfort and console them and give them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”

MEANWHILE, the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation has expressed sadness over the death of Chukwuma, who was a member of its board. In a statement signed issued by its Executive Director, Ms. Ann Iyonu, it noted that Chukwuma’s demise is a great loss to the Foundation, civil society community and promoters of democracy in West Africa. She described the late Chukwuma as “a sincere activist, social crusader, champion of human rights and democracy in Nigeria and the sub-region.”

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