Late foremost human rights activist, Anyankwee Nsirimovu, friend of journalists.

Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

The sudden death of a foremost human rights activist and Executive Director, Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, IHRHL, Comrade Anyankwee Nsirimovu based in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Capital on Friday night May 8, has thrown the human rights community in the state into mourning.

He has been a constant defender of journalists in trouble with state apparatuses and security agencies as a result of their reportage.

His family had in a Facebook post on his timeline last night, Friday, May 8, announced his sudden demise after a brief illness at the Military Hospital in Port Harcourt.

According to the statement, “With utmost gratitude to God for a life well spent, we the Anyankwee family regret to announce the passing of our husband, father, grandfather, uncle – Anyamkwee Nsirimovu, today, Friday, 8th May 2020 at about 11:30 a.m.

“Anyakwee closed his eyes in eternal rest surrounded by his wife and children. An impeccable man till the end, an irreplaceable loss to bear but we take solace in the life he lived and the hope of eternal life promised us by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

“We ask that you kindly keep us in your prayers and keep the memory of the Long Distance Runner alive. Words can’t describe this loss but as ANYAKWEE would say- in all things, give God glory. Morning eventually came.”

Since the announcement of his death, there has been an outpouring of grief and heartfelt condolences.

During his lifetime, the late Anyankwee Nsirimovu was a journalist’s delight for news and his passion is the fight against injustice and human rights abuse.

He studied International Human Rights Law at the University of Essex, England.

In his fight for the protection of the rights of the people, he and his family have faced attacks and brushes with the law enforcement agencies.

For instance, on March 4, 2007, as published by Amnesty International “Anyakwee Nsirimovu, Executive Director of the Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (IHRHL) in Rivers State, in the Niger delta, was attacked on 4 March, a week after an apparent threat to kill his family if he did not stop his human rights activities. Amnesty International believes that his life may be in danger.”

Anyankwe belonged to many local and international human rights groups. He is also an accredited International Observer in Election monitoring.

Ibanga Isine, CNN Award Winner for Investigative Journalism, Punch correspondent in Port Harcourt and former Editor, Premium Times and now a blogger wrote:

“This is so emotional for me. Anyakwee Nsirimovu was not only a friend and brother, but he defended me free of charge when the Rivers State Police Command unleashed its men to beat me almost to death.

“He has a strong bent for the defence of people’s fundamental rights and often at the expense of his convenience. He has spoken with the crowd and also stood alone to speak on matters that he felt so strongly about.

“There are no words to aptly capture his life and the depth of his commitment to the common good. May God Almighty take him home and grant him rest from the laborious activism that marked his entire life and career. Indeed, MORNING HAS COME FOR ANYAKWEE. God bless you brotherly. God console your family. We shall never forget what you did while here. Good morning my friend”.

No doubt, the death of the Activist, the oppressed members of the Society will means his selfless services to defend them when they run against the laws of the state.