Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release


Kimber Heinz <>,
Ali Issa <>,
212-228-0450 Ext. 12 or 13

Press Release

Prominent Nigerian Human Rights Activist Assassinated--International Groups Call for Investigation and Government Accountability


Prominent Nigerian human rights activist and promoter of nonviolent social change, Chidi Nwosu, was brutally assassinated in his home in Abia state in south-eastern Nigeria on December 29, 2010.

Nwosu was founder and president of the Human Rights, Justice and Peace Foundation, based in Abia state and affiliated with the secular pacifist War Resisters International (WRI), of which War Resisters League (WRL) is an affiliate. Nwosu saw clearly the connections between ending war and building true democracy, asserting, "We know where war leads - to suffering and destruction, to rape and organized crime, to betrayal of values and to new structures of domination." During this time leading up to national elections in Nigeria, Nwosu focused on ending government corruption and building a broad movement through which people could give voice to their needs. He declared that the international community should recognize "nonviolent mass action as a basic human right."

Nwosu's work most recently focused on supporting democratic elections at the state level, organizing against rigged election processes and the use of violence to intimidate voters.  Matt Meyer of the WRI Africa Working Group states that while Nwosu's assassination remains "unsolved and uninvestigated by the Nigerian authorities...there can also be little doubt that Nwosu's torture and murder-with assailants entering his house, locking his wife and five-year-old daughter in the bathroom, shooting him in the temple, and dragging his bloodied body from one room to the next-was intended as a deterrent to anti-corruption campaigning in the months leading up to Nigeria's April elections."

Other groups have joined Nwosu in working on this issue. Salihu Lukman, CEO of Nigeria's Good Governance Group, states that for pro-democracy and anti-corruption organizers in Nigeria in the months ahead, the task at hand is for community organizations, civil society groups, trade unions, faith-based groups, and others to be "mobilized to begin to develop mandate strategies in order to ensure that incidences of ballot box snatching and rigging are minimized."

In addition to his work for fair and democratic elections, Nwosu also worked against kidnappings (which have been increasing in southern Nigeria), against police corruption, and against the privatization of key state-run rubber-producing facilities.  In a statement released today, War Resisters International condemned the assassination as a threat to campaigners for democracy and human rights in Nigeria: "A committed and courageous campaigner for fair and free elections in Nigeria, [Nwosu's] atrocious murder will send chills through the movement for government and corporate accountability, and the push for democratic rights. Nwosu´s death is intended to send a clear message to activists working for change."

Without a push for a government that gives voice to people's needs, Matt Meyer of WRI states, "there is little chance that Nigeria will emerge from its militarized, neo-colonial predicament, a fact that may not be troubling news for the many multinationals who continue to profit from the chaos in one of Africa's richest countries."

In their statement, WRI "demands a prompt and complete investigation into the circumstances of Nwosu´s death, the immediate interrogation of suspects in custody, and the public release of autopsy results." A newly formed organization of Nigerian Diaspora activists also calls for an accountability process for the murder: "We are asking the Inspector General of Police to thoroughly investigate this heinous crime...and to prosecute those who were involved. Fighting for the welfare and rights of our fellow compatriots is a worthwhile ideal. We must celebrate our fallen heroes, and we must encourage our youth to follow the same path. Above all, we believe that the best way to show appreciation for those who put their lives at risk for our nation is to ensure that they never die in vain."



Nigerians in Diaspora for Chidi Nwosu:

Matt Meyer, "The Legacy of Nigeria's Chidi Nwosu," War Resisters League:; War Resisters' International:

Republic Report, "Who Killed Chidi Nwosu?"




The United States’ oldest secular pacifist organization, the War
Resisters League
has been resisting war at home and war abroad since
1923. Our work for nonviolent revolution has spanned decades and has
been shaped by the new visions and strategies of each generation’s

'Utterly Obscene': Just 8 Pfizer and Moderna Investors Became $10 Billion Richer After Omicron Emerged

"Pharma execs and shareholders are making a killing from a crisis they helped to create," said one justice campaigner.

Jon Queally ·

Ilhan Omar Calls Kevin McCarthy 'A Liar and a Coward' for Refusing to Condemn Boebert's Islamophobia

"This is who they are," said the Minnesota Democrat. "And we have to be able to stand up to them. And we have to push them to reckon with the fact their party right now is normalizing anti-Muslim bigotry."

Jon Queally ·

'Congress Must Act': Bernie Sanders Demands End of Filibuster to Codify Abortion Rights

"We must pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in this country. And if there aren't 60 votes to do it, and there are not, we must reform the filibuster to pass it with 50 votes."

Jon Queally ·

Human Rights Defenders Warn Biden Border Policy 'Quickly Transforming Into Trump 2.0'

Like his predecessor, President Joe Biden now being accused of "using racist, xenophobic tropes about immigrants to weaponize Covid-19 against migrants and asylum-seekers."

Jon Queally ·

'Bombshell': Israeli Spyware Used to Hack iPhones of US State Department Officials

Calling the Israel-based spyware maker NSO Group an "in-plain-sight national security threat," one expert warned that "a multi-agency investigation is immediately needed."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo