By Taiwo Okanlawon
Nigerian civil society leader and CLEEN Foundation founder, Mr. Innocent Chukwuemeka Chukwuma was buried today in his hometown, Mbaise, Imo State.
The foremost rights activist was laid to rest after a Christian wake keep was conducted on Wednesday, 12th May 2021 at Umuodia.
The ceremony was attended by many dignitaries including former Governor of Imo State, Dr Emeka Ihediora, Comrade Emma Edigheji representing Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, members of the State Cabinet.
Various Leaders of the Civil Society Organisations among whom are Eze Dr Amb Goodluck Obi, Comrades Lanre Arogundade, Edeatan – Ojo of Media Rights, AWA Bamiji, Solomon Sobade, Prof Etanbi Alemika, Board Chairman, Cleen Foundation and others were also present.
Innocent Chukwuma, died Saturday, 4th of April in Lagos after he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, an aggressive cancer of the blood.
He was 55.
Mr Chukwuma 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 Nigeria Human Rights Commission.
Ironically, it was Comrade Chukwuma, who painfully announced the death of his good Comrade of decades in the Nigerian democratic Struggles, Comrade Yinka Odumakin, to his wife, Josephine, telling her how he read the post which he got from a friend living in America around 12pm on his sick bed at the Hospital, in Lagos State.
The two Comrades were age mate, their wives are named Joe and they met their wives on the field of Nigerian democratic struggles with these two industrious women being the Civil Society leaders in their different spheres.