Civil society leader, Innocent Chukwuma, dies at 55


While the human rights and activists community was just coming to terms with the demise of Yinka Odumakin, Innocent Chukwuma, another pillar of the movement died Saturday night.

A statement, yesterday, by Professor Etannibi Alemika on behalf Board of Trustees, CLEEN Foundation, confirmed the death of its 55 years old founder, Innocent Chukwuma. The statement, said, “We are extremely saddened to announce the death of Mr Innocent Chukwuma on April 3, 2021. He was the founder of and Pioneer Executive Director of CLEEN Foundation. Until February 2021, few weeks ago, Innocent Chukwuma was the West African Head of Ford Foundation.

“Innocent Chukwuma was a patriot, who throughout his adult struggled for a Nigerian nation, where peace justice, development and security are attained and sustained. He was one of the students within the NANS platform that opposed the arbitrary powers of the military rule in the 80s. He continued the struggle as a staff of the Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO, where he led research and advocacy on police reform.

“In 1989, Innocent Chukwuma established the Centre for Law Enforcement of Education in Nigeria registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission as CLEEN Foundation, which is now a leading NGO in the Policing and Public Safety Sector. While we are extremely saddened at his premature transition to eternity, we are consoled by the legacy he left behind.

“Our prayers, thought and condolence go to his family, Josephine, daughters and the extended family. The Trustee, Board of Directors and staff of CLEN Foundation will miss his imagination, compassion and humour. His legacy lives on.” He died of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, diagnosed end-stage sadly. He had no chance by the time the diagnosis came through.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has paid tribute to the civil society leader, Innocent Chukwuma, describing him as a credible voice of transparency who died when the nation needed his services most.

Buhari in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu in Abuja said, “His demise will be badly felt because of his great contributions to our efforts to ensure transparency and good governance under our democratic system. “Chukwuma worked actively with the administration through CLEEN Foundation, to monitor the spending of the last tranche of $311 million repatriated funds recovered from former Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha.