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Popular Nigerian civil society leader, Innocent Chukwuma, is dead

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Nigeria’s popular civil society leaders, Innocent Chukwuma, died Saturday evening in Lagos, aged 55, according to sources who prefers to appear anonymous he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, an aggressive cancer of the blood.

“With profound shock & sadness, I regret to inform you that Innocent Chukwuma passed away a few hours ago, in the evening of April 3. May his soul rest in peace,” announced Edetaen Ojo, a frontline freedom of expression advocate and executive director of the Media Rights Agenda, who was a friend of Mr Chukwuma.

Mr Chukwuma, 55, came to public attention first as a student union activist at the University of Nigeria, where he read religious studies in the early eighties when Nigerian students led relentless campaigns against military autocracy.

Upon graduation, he joined a cluster of young activists who came to bloom at the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Nigeria’s first human rights organisation led for most of the nineties by Olisa Agbakoba, now a member of the velvet rank of the legal profession called Senior Advocates of Nigeria.

At CLO, Mr Chukwuma, a father of three daughters, one who graduated in law and was called to the bar last year, met people like Chidi Odinkalu, a lawyer, academic and former chairman of the Nigeria Human Rights Commission.

Mr Odinkalu remembered the departed civil society leader, Sunday morning, in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES, as a treasured companion and faithful friend. “I knew him for nearly 35 [and] I am grateful for the privilege,” Mr Odinkalu said, recalling that “In all things, as my late mum always said, we must learn to give thanks … he was a man of decency.”

He said Mr Chukwuma’s diagnosis only came through Friday night, and though he was booked to begin chemotherapy sessions Saturday night, Mr. Odinkalu remarked that his friend “passed before the needle could be inserted.”

Both of Mr Chukwuma’s parents died young. Friends say he was fastidious with matters of his health, going to great lengths to take care of a cardio-vascular degeneration and High Blood Pressure situation he managed with courage and seriousness. Both his parents were killed by cardio-vascular degeneration.

Mr Chukwuma, who holds a master’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Leicester in the UK, served from January 2013 until recently, as the Ford Foundation’s representative for West Africa.

He also served as member of the boards of many global nonprofits and initiatives against crime and violence including the International Centre for the Prevention of Crime (ICPC), African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF), Open Society Global Criminal Justice Fund and the Africa Advisory Council of Human Rights Watch.

Before joining Ford Foundation in 2013, Mr Chukwuma founded and led the CLEEN Foundation to promote public safety, security, and accessible justice in West Africa.

CLEEN was the first African nongovernmental organisation to receive the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.

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Oyetola To Aregbesola: We’re Proud Of You, You Performed Well As Gov, You’re Doing Well As Minister; Those Calling For Nigeria Break-up Ignorant, Says Aregbe 

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The Governor of Osun State, Adegboyega Oyetola has stated that the state is proud of its former Governor and Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. 

 

Oyetola spoke in Ilesa on Saturday, 5 June, 2021 at an event marking the 64th birthday celebration of the Minister.

 

He noted that the former Governor of the state performed very well while ruling the state and still performing as the Minister Of Interior.

 

Oyetola who was represented at the event by the state Commissioner for Political Affairs and Inter-governmental Relations, Mr Taiwo Akeju, said: “You performed very well in the State of Osun and you are performing well as the Minister of Interior. We are very proud of you.”

 

The events celebrating the 64th birthday of the Minister included the presentation of a book titled “The Rauf I Know “, written by a journalist, Mr Dayo Olanipekun. Mr Olanipekun covered him as state house correspondent for the Broadcasting Corporation of Osun State (OSBC) in his two terms as governor.

 

Speaking later, Ogbeni Aregbesola warned that it would take 50 years for Nigeria to recover from another civil war.

 

He therfore warned Nigerians to desist from any act capable of threatening Nigeria’s unity, describing those calling for the separation of the country as ignorant.

 

Ogbeni Aregbesola said: “Those calling for Nigeria’s break-up are ignorant. Every Nigerian should work for Nigeria’s unity and development.

 

“It will take Nigeria 50 years to recover from civil war. Whoever likes women and children should not support, but rather condemn any call of separation and conduct capable of threatening Nigeria’s unity.

 

“Nigeria is a country created by God for us and for the black race.

 

“I am not saying everything that is happening in Nigeria is good. We should treat the problems and challenges facing Nigerians, not calling for her break-up. Decapitation is not the antidote for headache”.

 

Aregbesola also declared support for a new caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC), The Osun Progressives (TOP), saying that he is in support of any move to consolidate progressives legacies in the State of Osun, strengthen the party from the polling units, wards and local government levels and strengthen internal democracy in the party, which are clearly stated in the objectives and mission of TOP.

 

In his address, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, said that Aregbesola’s legacy in the development of the State will forever linger in the sands of time.

 

The Ooni of Ife who spoke via Zoom noted that the State of Osun and its people cannot forget Aregbesola as his achievements are beyond what anyone can rubbish.

 

“We will forever remember him. Your work will never cease to reflect in the sands of time. It is during his tenure that landmark achievements occurred in Osun which we cannot forget.

 

“We can never forget you. Your achievements are beyond what anyone can rubbish. We are proud of you and what you represent.”

 

The Registrar of the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof Ishaq Oloyede, who delivered a lecture titled “Power is responsibility” at the event, urged Nigerian political leaders to be responsible with power.

 

Oloyede who was represented by Dr Wahab Oyedokun, tasked politicians to operate with ideology that address people’s yearnings.

 

Speaking at the event, Chief Mrs Tokunbo-Awolowo Dosumu, daughter of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, said Aregbesola is among the few Nigerian politicians that identify with and promote Awolowo’s legacy.

According to Dosumu, Aregbesola has always been committed to all the activities of Awolowo Foundation, describing him as an exemplary leader.

 

Politicians, traditional rulers, trade union groups and people from all walks of life from the state and across the country graced the occasion, while others spoke via zoom.

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UPDATED: NECO Registrar died of heart failure, not assassinated – says Official

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The Registrar of National Examinations Council (NECO), Prof. Godswill Obioma has been confirmed dead.

The late NECO Registrar reportedly died on Monday night in his sleep in his Minna residence.

The Director, Human resources of the examination body, Abdul Mustapha confirmed the death of the NECO boss, he dismissed viral media reports that Prof. Godswill Obioma was assassinated, says he died in his sleep as a result of heart failure.

Mr. Mustapha disclosed communication from Obioma’s second son, Prince Godswill Obioma, informing him of the death of his father thus:

“Mustapha K. Abdul (Director Human Resource Management, NECO),

“Dear Sir, this is to formally inform you that my father, Prof. Godswill Obioma, the Registrar/Chief Executive of NECO passed to eternal glory yesterday 31/5/2021 after a brief illness.

“We request that you kindly notify the Board, Management and the entire staff of the Council of this development.

“We shall keep you duly informed.

“Prince Godswill Obioma the 2nd, for the family.”

The release of the conversation between the deceased son and Mustapha contradicted some reports in some online and social media platforms alleging that the NECO boss was assassinated in his Minna residence by some unknown gunmen.

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INSECURITY: Arewa Consultative Forum directs Northerners to boycott Southeast

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The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has directed Northerners to boycott traveling to Southeast as a result of the level of insecurity in the region.

The warning under the guise of a statement was issued by the National Chairman of ACF, Audu Ogbe, on Monday, May 31. He expressed concern over increasing attacks and killings of northern residents in the southeast or those visiting the zone. He said the travel advisory was issued while taking into cognizance the killings of northern leaders in 1966, which he said triggered the events that led to the civil war.

“ACF issues a very strong advisory to all northerners who may wish to travel to the southeast. Northerners should weigh the importance and necessity of such travels. Unless such trips are absolutely necessary and of compelling nature, like matters of life and death, they should not be made.”the statement in part read

The travel advisory comes barely 24 hours after former presidential aide, Ahmed Gulak, was murdered by IPOB members in Imo state.

 

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