By Clifford Solomon
A delegation of the human rights community recently thrown into mourning with the death September 21, of Comrade Patrick Naagbaton, paid a condolence visit to the family in his Port Harcourt resident Saturday.
Speaking on behalf of the group, representing activists within and outside the country on the death which came as a surprise and rude shock to all, Comrade Celestine Akpobari, coordinator Ogoni Solidarity Forum, OSF, said the late Patrick Naagbanton lived for the people and was trusted because of the way he lived his life.
He said, “When the human right community got wind of the accident people abandoned everything and wanted to visit the hospital to see him but were told visitors were not allowed to see him as a result of the critical condition he was in and when news eventually came that he was dead, we were all devastated.”
Condoling the family, Akpobari assured the wife, Avary, that she would not be left alone.
“The human right community has you and the family in mind and you will always be in the picture of what we are doing. We are all bereaved”.
Stating that Patrick was a leader as the human right community strives on integrity and courage, qualities the late comrade had good doses of, Akpobari said his demise has created a big vacuum and asked the widow to take heart and know that she has a family in the activists community.
Executive director of Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Center, Obongowan Emem Okon said speaking on the death is difficult and urged her to be strong noting, that the visit was to console and encourage the family.
Recalling how he was to meet with the deceased on Friday he had the fatal accident, Comrade Zofawho was with him earlier on Thursday,said Patrick was a mentor to many and impacted both young and old. He said Patrick was always mindful of safety.
Chairperson Center for Environment and Human Right Development, CEHRD, Chief Constance Meju used the occasion to put to rest fears over anticipated funds raised in honour of the deceased. She told the wife that her concern and that of CEHRD is the welfare of Patrick’s immediate family with assurance that they are protected.
Also speaking, programme director of CEHRD, Styvn Obodoekwe said he will always weep over the death of Patrick and advised the wife to reach out if any problem. Programme officer, Social Action, Fyneface Dumene Fyneface eulogizing Patrick, said he was ever ready to guide and so his family will never be alone.
“Patrick was a mentor and was grooming me. Our work has no pension and gratuity; the human right community will serve that purpose,” he added.
Thanking the human right community for standing up for her husband, Mrs. Avary Naagbanton said she was happy with the visit. She said her immediate concern is how to lay her husband to rest.
She urged civil society to “prepare to receive the large human right community that will attend the burial”.
Patrick Naagbaton a renowned journalist, environmental and human rights activist died from multiple injuries sustained from being knocked down by a reckless cab driver.
He is survived by an aged mother, wife, a son and three daughters.
Patrick Naagbanton will be buried on November 23, 2019.