Disability group mourns Chukwuma Innocent

 Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has expressed shock over the death of Mr Chukwuma Innocent, describing it as a huge setback for the disability movement in Nigeria.
Mr David Anyaele, the Executive Director of CCD said this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Innocent, who died on April 3, was the Pioneer Executive Director of Cleen Foundation and West Africa Director of Ford Foundation.
Anyaele said that the CDD was greatly saddened by the death of Innocent because the Centre had lost a strong promoter of the rights of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in Nigeria.

“We are greatly shocked and saddened to bid an unprepared farewell to a strong and dogged advocate for an all-inclusive society.
“Innocent, as past West Africa, Regional Director of Ford Foundation, used his position to support efforts to ensure inclusive society and his mentorship, guidance, and strategic advice to CCD assisted in no small measure.
“His immersed effort was also toward the struggle and push for the passage of the National Disability Act in 2019.

“The success of his effort opened doors for support to other organisations of PWDs in Nigeria by the Ford Foundation.
“Innocent, as a pioneer of Cleen Foundation, ensured CCD’s partnership to ensure that issues of critical concern to PWDs were mainstreamed in their Police Visitors Programme.
“Through that programme, the Nigeria Police activities were measured using a disability eye lens and the programme led CCD to identify the need to promote ‘Access to Justice’ for persons with disabilities for the first time in the country,” he said.

Anyaele noted that, as a sustainability mechanism, many organisations across the country were scaling up the success story of Innocent’s intervention in different ways in favour of citizens with disabilities in the country.

He said that when Innocent was Chairman of the Coordinating Committee of the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), he ensured that marginalised groups were co-opted into the coordinating committee of the TMG.

Anyaele said this led to the mainstreaming of issues of critical concern to the disability community in the civil society response to the electoral process, and narratives of election observation report in Nigeria. (NAN)