Nigeria: Civil Society Mourns Innocent Chukwuma

Founder of CLEEN Foundation, Innocent Chukwuma, has died at the age of 55, the civil society organisation announced on Sunday, 04 April.

Chukwuma, a leading voice in Nigeria’s civil society, who died on Saturday, 03 April, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, an aggressive cancer of the blood.

‘We are extremely saddened to announce the death of Mr Innocent Chukwuma on [03] April 2021’, a statement from CLEEN Foundation read.

Chukwuma was among the biggest advocates for police reforms and helped champion the amendment of the Police Service Act in 2020.

The revered civil society leader was one of the early encouragers and supporters of Development Diaries – an online advocacy journalism tool that promotes factual analysis and amplifies social good campaigns across the African continent.

Chukwuma interacts with other development practitioners at the Development Hangout in 2013

One of the ways the human rights activist demonstrated his support for Development Diaries was defying all odds to speak at a Development Hangout the platform hosted in Lagos, southwest Nigeria, in 2013.

Meanwhile, the Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) has described the death of Chukwuma as a big blow to Nigeria’s community of activists and the nation at large.

‘Chukwuma’s indelible footprints in the thematic issues of electoral and security sector reforms are evident in his stint at the Civil Liberty organisation (CLO), and the leading roles he played in the Transition of Monitoring Group (TMG) and Centre for Law Enforcement Education (CLEEN Foundation)’, Executive Director of CHRICED, Ibrahim Zikirullahi, said in a statement.

Chukwuma, who rose to prominence as a member of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) that opposed the arbitrary powers of the Nigerian military in the 1980s, served as the West Africa Representative of the Ford Foundation.

After his university days, Chukwuma continued his advocacy for better policies as a staff of the Civil Liberties Organisation where he led research and advocacy policy on reform.

Chukwuma later established the Centre for Law Enforcement Education in Nigeria, registered as CLEEN Foundation, in 1989, where he led the advocacy for public safety, security, and accessible justice across the civil space in Africa.

In 2020, he became a key figure in the advocacy for police reform and helped champion the amendment of the Police Service Act that aims to provide an effective service based on the principles of accountability, transparency, and partnerships.

He served as a member of the boards of 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.

Source: CLEEN Foundation

Photo source: IIF

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