Innocent Chukwuemeka Chukwuma was born on February 6th, 1966. The fifth in a family of Seven, Innocent had his primary education at St Stephen’s primary school; and secondary education at Holy Ghost College in Umuahia before proceeding to University of Nigeria, Nsukka campus in 1986, for his undergraduate studies.
While in UNN, he joined the radical student movement known as the Marxist Youth Movement, and through that joined students’ union politics and got elected Speaker of the UNN Student Union, as well as Senate President of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS. He was among the student leaders across Nigerian campuses that led the national anti-SAP (Structural Adjustment Programme) protest of 1988/89 which was the first organised national resistance against the World Bank/International Monetary Fund Structural Adjustment Programme that destroyed the social welfare movement in Nigeria. As a result of the protest, Innocent and other student leaders from UNN were expelled and had to fight it out in court, to get re-instated in school.
On graduation, Innocent was posted to Monguno in Borno State for his National Youth Service, NYSC. He was soon to relocate to Lagos, to join fellow students activists Chima Ubani and Emma Ezeazu (both of blessed memories) who were now working for the first human rights organization in Nigeria, Civil Liberties Organization, CLO. During this time, Innocent had his Masters degree from the University of Leceister, United Kingdom where he studied Criminology. He rose to the rank of Acting Executive Director of CLO, before leaving in 1997, to found CLEEN Foundation in 1998.
During CLEEN under Innocent’s leadership-built partnerships between civil society and law enforcement agencies; pioneering institutional researches into law enforcement issues and sustaining it; and introducing COMMUNITY POLICING in Nigeria. Innocent was a serial entrepreneur who founded or co-founded several organizations/institutions that are still thriving. Oluaka Institute of Technology is one of such institutions. He was also the first Nigerian to be Country Director of Ford Foundation Office for West Africa. Ford is an American Foundation. Innocent won several awards in his life time nationally & internationally; and authored many books on law enforcement, policing and justice sector reforms. Innocent died on Saturday April 3rd, 2021.
Dr. Mrs. Josephine Effah-Chukwuma is a Gender & Development Specialist and the Founder/Executive Director of Project Alert on Violence Against Women, an NGO that promotes and protects the rights of women and girls. She had her early education (primary and secondary) at Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School, Yaba-Lagos. Thereafter, she proceeded to the University of Calabar to study English and Literary Studies. After the compulsory one-year National Youth Service Corps, NYSC programme, she had a brief stint as a journalist with the now defunct Democrat Newspaper in Kaduna, before proceeding to the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, The Netherlands in August 1992, for a Masters Degree in Development Studies, specializing in Women and Development. She is a Fellow of Indiana University, United States of America where she partook in the Executive Leadership Transition Programme for NGO leaders in Africa.
Project Alert under Josephine’s leadership, has grown to become a brand known for domestic and sexual violence advocacy and response. The organization set up the very first shelter for abused women and young girls in Nigeria, known as SOPHIA’S PLACE, in May 2001. The shelter is located in Lagos. She is a member of several national and international academic and professional associations such as the Institute for Directors, IOD Nigeria; Association on Research & Non-Profit Voluntary Action, ARNOVA; Association on Research on Civil Society in Africa, AROCSA; and seats on many Boards and Executive Committees such as Innocent Chukwuemeka Chukwuma Empowerment Foundation, ICCEF; CLEEN Foundation; Network on Police Reforms in Nigeria, NOPRIN; and Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School Old Students Association, OLAOSA where up till 2021, she was the National President.
Josephine has won many awards internationally and nationally for her relentless efforts to promote and protect the rights of women and young girls in Nigeria, especially from all forms of violence. She has authored many books on sexual and gender-based violence. Josephine was married to Innocent Chukwuemeka Chukwuma.
Ms Theresa Effah is a teacher of over three (3) decades. A member of the National Union of Teachers, NUT, Theresa has taught in several secondary institutions in Calabar Cross-River State. She had her early education in Lagos and Calabar respectively. She attended Edgerly Memorial Secondary School Calabar, and from there to Teachers Training College, Calabar. Thereafter, she attended University of Calabar where she obtained a Bachelors Degree in Education and later a Masters Degree.