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Head of OSIWA in Nigeria launches book, foundation for late daughter

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UDO JUDE Ilo, head of Nigeria Office for the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), has launched his latest book and a foundation in honour of his late daughter, Natasha Ilo, who died five years ago.

The book is known as ‘Kasie’ while the foundation is named ‘Natasha Ilo (NIO) Foundation.’

Speaking at the event that took place at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, on Tuesday, Ilo said the foundation and book were borne out of his promise to immortalise his late daughter, Natasha, who died at the age of three.

“I made a promise to my late daughter when we were laying her to rest. I said, “Sweetheart, the world will never forget you.”

He added that the NIO Foundation was created with the mission to help children have access to healthcare, education and also to prevent Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).

Former President Goodluck Jonathan, who unveiled the logo of the foundation, said he was excited to be at the event, just as he commended the Ilo family for the gesture of giving back to the community via the foundation.

Jonathan also urged the people to always try to touch lives with whatever God had given to them.

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Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s vice president, who graced the event virtually, expressed pleasure at how the Ilo family turned around the grief of losing their daughter.

“I recall having to speak to Jude after the tragic loss and I was at a complete loss of words. I just could not wonder how Jude or Nkem could cope.

“But five years later, they have both done something truly remarkable; they convert the terrible grief to a civic calling. By setting this foundation, they have said that adversity must not be drowned in self-pity.”

In his own speech, Kole Shettima, director of the MacArthur Foundation’s Africa Office, who lauded the initiative by the Ilo family, emphasised the need for people to always come up with a framework that could bring about positive change to the society.

Chika Oduah, Nigerian-American journalist, who read the review of the book, appreciated Ilo for turning his grief into purpose, describing the book as a thoughtful, honest and courageous read.

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'Niyi worked with The ICIR as an Investigative Reporter and Fact-checker from 2020 till September 2022. You can shoot him an email via niyioyedeji1@gmail.com. You can as well follow him on Twitter via @niyi_oyedeji.

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