10 things we know about late former Ford Foundation director Innocent Chukwuma

Innocent Chukwuma activist and Ford Foundation director is dead

Former West Africa director, Ford Foundation Innocent Chukwuma died on Saturday after he was diagnosed with a form of blood cancer.

He was 55 years old.

Below are 10 things we know about him.

1. Mr Chukwuma came to public attention first as a student union activist at the University of Nigeria where he studied religious studies.

2. 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 once led by Olisa Agbakoba.

3. Chukwuma set up the NGO CLEEN Foundation in January 1998 with the mission of promoting public safety, security, and accessible justice.

4. Chukwuma held a master’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Leicester and was the recipient of numerous honours, including the Reebok International Human Rights Award.

5. He served as visiting lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where he designed and taught a course on the management of nonprofits in the Global South.

6. Chukwuma joined Ford Foundation in 2013 and oversaw all grant making in the West African region. he left the organisation in February, a few weeks before his death.

7. His wife Dr. Josephine Effa-Chukwuma is also an activist and leads the Project Alert on Violence Against Women.

8. Chukwuma’s parents died young reportedly from cardio-vascular degeneration.

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

10. He died on the same day as fellow activist Yinka Odumakin.