The Abuja collective in collaboration with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) will hold a memorial symposium to mark the 10th anniversary of Chima Ubani’s death.
Date: Wednesday 16th December, 2015
Venue: Labour House Auditorium, Central Business District, Abuja
Born on March 22, 1963, Chima Ubani who died in a motor accident on September 21 2005, aged 42, was a leader of the pro-democracy movement in Nigeria and a former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience. He became executive director of Nigeria’s foremost rights group: Civil Liberties Organisation in 2003.
Born in eastern Nigeria, Ubani was the son of a Seventh Day Adventist pastor. Charismatic and intelligent, he became a student leader in the 1980s. He graduated in crop science at the University of Nigeria Nsukka in 1988, and took an MA in mass communication at Leicester University in 2002. He joined the Civil Liberties Organisation in Lagos as a researcher in 1990 after completing national service.
Ubani came into national prominence in 1993, when the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida annulled a presidential election that was to return Nigeria to civilian rule. He helped to bring various human right organisations together under one umbrella group, the Campaign for Democracy. He also joined the campaign against oil companies in the Niger delta, supporting such activists as the writer Ken Saro-Wiwa, who was executed in 1995.
In February 1994, Ubani’s house and office were raided by security agents, and a report on women and children in Nigerian prisons which he had co-authored was confiscated. He went on the run, but was arrested and imprisoned in 1995, after which his case was taken up by Amnesty International.
He was released the following year. After the death of General Sani Abacha in 1998, Ubani worked to ensure a return to civilian rule. But he refused to accept the election of President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 as a genuine return to democracy, and lampooned what he saw as a corrupt government which disregarded human rights.
In July 2000, in a case he brought against the Nigerian police, he was instrumental in the abrogation of a decree that allowed state security agents to detain people indefinitely. He also campaigned against extra-judicial killings by the Nigerian police and the use of capital punishment. At the time of his death, he was campaigning against fuel increases.
He is survived by his wife, Ochuwa, and four children.
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