It is with profound sadness that the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) mourns the tragic death of one of Nigeria’s leading democratic activists, Chima Ubani. The Nigeria Liberty Forum reported on September 21 that Mr. Ubani, executive director of Nigeria’s foremost human rights organization and long-time NED grantee, the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), was killed in a terrible car accident on his way from a protest rally organized by the Nigeria Labor Congress in Yola, Adamawa State. He was 42 and is survived by his wife and four children.
“This is a devastating loss,” said NED Director for Africa Dave Peterson, who has known and worked with Ubani for 15 years. “Chima was among Africa’s leading democratic activists, an intellectual and political strategist with an unwavering commitment to freedom and justice, not only for Nigeria, but for all mankind.”
Ubani began his activism as a student at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he was student union president from 1987-1988, and was expelled for leading protests against the Babangida government. He later played a key role in several leading democracy and human rights organizations, including the Campaign for Democracy, the Democratic Alternative and the United Action for Democracy party. Despite repeated harassment, arrests, even torture, Chima Ubani remained an unflagging campaigner for freedom and human rights, an inspiration to the entire democracy movement that now grieves his loss.
A memorial fund for Chima has been established, and anyone interested in contributing can contact Dave Peterson at the Endowment for more information. The Endowment extends its sincerest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Chima Ubani.