Advocacy Centre immortalizes Anyakwee Nsirimovu
Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC) has taken steps to immortalize one of Niger Delta’s highly respected Human Rights Defender, Environmental Justice Activist and Executive Director of the Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (IHRHL), Barrister Anyakee Nsirimovu who passed on in May 2020. The event which took place on Friday, July 3, 2020 at Advocacy Centre’s head office at No.16 Peremabiri Street, D-Line, Port Harcourt, Rivers State attracted other senior Comrades, civil society actors, volunteers, the media and members of the family of the departed comrade including his wife, Mrs. Caroline Anyakwee Nsirimovu.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Director of Advocacy Centre, Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface said the decision to immortalize him by naming our Conference hall after late veteran Comrade Anyakwee Nsirimovu “was taken as part of efforts to immortalizing him after considering his enormous contributions to humanity in the civil society during his life and times on earth. This is because what late Comrade Anyakwee Nsirimovu represented, stood and fought for all his life, are in-line with and represented some of our organization’s thematic advocacy areas hence, the motivation to do this little among others, as those advancing the legacies of our departed comrades including Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others, Chima Ubani, Gani Fawehinmi and most recently, Comrade Patrick Naagbanton among others”. Adding that Comrade Anyakwee Nsirimovu “was an inspiration, one of our fathers in the struggle and a great pillar of contemporary human rights, environmental and social justice advocacy in the Niger Delta and beyond who, through his platform; The Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (IHRHL) mentored many comrades that in turn fostered and are still fostering the younger generation of Environmental Justice Campaigners, Human Right Defenders and Social Crusaders like us till date”.
In her reaction, the widow of late comrade Anyakwee Nsirimovu, Mrs. Caroline Anyakwee commended the management and leadership of Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre for honouring her late husband. She said “I feel honoured today that Anyakwee Nsirimovu has been given this honour by naming this hall after him. It showed that indeed, he did a very good work. It is a kind of legacy that he has left behind that has given him this honour. So, it means you all appreciate his works that he has done, because if you did not appreciate it, this kind of thing would have happened”.
Also speaking the Executive Director of Kabetkache Women Development and Resource Centre, Emem Okon chairperson of the occasion who also performed the unveiling of the portrait and name board said “I consider the action of the Advocacy Centre very timely and also very significant because Anyakwee was one of the foremost human rights activist in Rivers State and many of the human rights activists in Rivers State have had one of the training or mentorship or the other from him. So, it is very important that he is being immortalized by the Advocacy Centre. It would give us that consciousness to sustain his legacy and be encouraged to continue in this work of promoting human rights and defending human rights”.
In his own words, a human and environmental rights activist, Celestine AkpoBari who was also present at the event described the day as one of the very important in our lives as human rights defenders. He said “Today is one of the most important days of our lives as human rights defenders because what Advocacy centre has done today would show that when we leave that there are people that are taking note of what we do and for the Centre to honour Anyakwee by naming their hall after him because this hall will accommodate millions of people, this might not be their last place. They might have a bigger place tomorrow where thousands of people would come for programs and they would see Anyakwee Nsirimovu. So, it means that what they have done today is to write the name of Anykwee in the heart of every person that will step into their office. So, we don’t take this lightly. We want to commend Fyneface Dumnamene the Director for thinking in that direction. It is not government naming streets after people that is important but writing the name of the people in the hearts of men is the most important thing. I can’t forget this and I am excited, I’m happy and I have no regrets that I campaign for rights and the environment”
According to the Executive Director of Advocacy Centre, the Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre’s Conference Hall will henceforth; “with effect from Wednesday, July 1, 2020 to Wednesday, June 30, 2021 (subject to further extension), this ADVOCACY CENTRE’S Conference Hall shall be known, called and addressed as “COMRADE ANYAKWEE NSIRIMOVU CONFERENCE HALL with the acronym “ANCO HALL”. Comrade Emem Okon, speaking in reaction to the presentation requested that the Centre be permanently named after the veteran Comrade as started, a request that we were also already considering and would thus be made permanent.
The naming activity concludes after the screening of a video interview on environmental advocacy granted by later Anyakwee Nsirimovu titled “Morning Comes…” courtesy of Media Awareness and Justice Initiative (MAJI), a minute silence in honour of our departed comrade and goodwill messages from activists and Journalists including Ann Godwin of the Guardian Newspaper. She said the media will greatly missed Anyakwee Nsirimovu who was always available to speak on advocacy issues when he was called upon.