Comrade Joseph Angodeme Evah

INTRODUCTION

Comrade Joseph Angodeme Evah, Coordinator, Ijaw Monitoring Group, and Publicity Secretary, Ijaw National Congress (INC), was born on the 24th of December, 1965, into the family Of Chief John Brebahay and Madam Tuku Evah at Ekogbene Town In Delta State. His father, Chief Brebayah was one of the many children of the late pa Abiri of Peretorugbene, Bayelsa State

Comrade Joseph Evah had his primary school education at Ekogbene, precisely, the Ekumu Primary School, for a while before he left for Lagos to be raised by his uncle , primary education at the African school, Ajegule Apapa, and his secondary education at Satelite Secondary School Lagos. After his secondary school education, he took the Nigerian Defense Academy form to enter the Nigerian Army and another set of forms to go to St. Peter and Paul Seminary, Iperu remo, Ogun State, to become a Catholic priest. The army and the church rejected him; perhaps, his destiny elsewhere. With his resilient nature, he turned his attention to university education and headed to the University of Lagos where he read Mass Communication In 1992 and later, diploma in law from the Lagos State University.

He was Press Secretary To the first Ijaw woman to be elected local government chairman in the history of Ijaw nation- Chief (Mrs.) Felicia Orunagha of Burutu Local Government Area. He also briefly worked with the vanguard Newspapers and left the paper in the heat of June 12, 1993 annulment crisis to join the Committee for Defense of Human Rights, A pro-democracy group, to fight the Babaginda Government. It was the annulment of the June 12 elections that changed everything in his life. He went into full activism. In one of his television interviews Comrade Evah said: “The annulment of the June 12 election in Nigeria opened the third eye of some of us. If some forces in Nigeria can humiliate and cheaply suppress a big and sophisticated tribe like Yoruba, then we that are regarded as minority in this Nigeria project are in perpetual slavery and bondage. Therefore, we must take our destiny into our hands and resist the condition we find our selves in and that was the struggle. “since then, the Niger-Delta struggle was his life. His strategies are the use of the media to place the Niger-Delta question on the conscience of Nigerians and the international community as well as mobilize the people at every level for an effective struggle.

The mission is the total emancipitation of the Niger-Delta from education, social, economic, political and cultural bondage. He pioneered the creation of the television and radio program called the Niger-Delta Hour on various Stations to enable the public listen to his messages on the region. Today, he is a popular face on television in Nigeria and the world. He is even more popular with print media (newspaper and magazines). Hardly a week passes by without him bringing an important issue affecting the Niger-Delta to the public focus through interviews, press releases, statements, advertorials, photographs etc. he is contemptuous of injustice and would erupt with rage and action against it. Government has detained him several times on account of his crusade for justice in the Niger-Delta.

In his Niger-Delta struggle journey, Evah had to contend with appellation of enemy in 1989. His first detention during abacha days was when he challenged shell and an oil servicing company, NISSCO, belonging to the government, for demolishing the block of houses built for workers while leaving Ogulagha community after completing a tank farm contract job.

The abacha government felt the press release captioned “Ijaw declare war on oil firm” was a serious threat and ordered security agents to detain him for over a month
Evah’s whole life revolves around the Niger-Delta question- visitation to campuses, provision for scholarship for indigent students, establishing and funding youth groups t train future leaders, reorganizing cultural groups to revive dying culture of the Niger-Delta tribes , and provision of educational materials for educational institution across the region, especially through the Tuku Educational Foundation which he established in memory of his Late Mother, to assist the les privileged the society

Evah broke new grounds when he established the first Niger-Delta Hall of Fame where over 200 photographs of personalities from the South-South geopolitical zones who have contributed to the success of the Nigerian state, are displayed and the commissioning ceremony took place on the 10th of November, 2004 to mark the 9th anniversary of ken saro Wiwa. It was a historic occasion. However, the most remarkable action taken by Evah that brought him to limelight was is ability to mobilize the whole Niger-Delta to stop the dredging of the river Niger from Warri to Baro in Niger State, to attract artificial sea port near Abuja during the military regime. He did not only go to the court of law to challenge the dredging, but also sensitized the international community against the action of the government

Comrade Joseph is one of the Ijaw leading names in human rights crusade in Nigeria. He draws a distinction between making noise fore settlement and services for humanity. His contribution to human and environmental rights advocacy in the media and public fora makes him a reference point on fundamental issues. There hardly any societal problem he does not dwell on or place before the court of public opinion. infact, some of his fans refer him as the living encyclopedia of Niger-Delta

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