I write with great sadness over the unimaginable loss of a friend and former comrade in the Human Rights Struggle, Oju Rossi Wilson.
I met Oju in 2003 soon after he graduated from Fourah Bay College and applied for a job as Research Officer at the Lawyers Centre for Legal Assistance (LAWCLA). He appeared weak and disappointed with his college results but yet determined to move ahead. I told him on his first day at work that contributions to the promotion of Human Rights and Rule of Law do not depend on fanciful degrees but on a strong will and determination to succeed.
Within a very short time of training and mentoring, Oju became a trailblazer and an “engine” in the LAWCLA vehicle. He was instrumental in the centre’s research and publication on “ the criminalisation of freedom of expression ; the need for the abolition of the death penalty ; the need for review of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2000; the need for the review of the 1991 Constitution ; Discriminatory Laws against Women- an urgent need for reform etc etc.
Today Oju’s legacies lived on : the 1991 constitution is been reviewed ; Gender acts has been passed taking away some discriminatory legal provisions against women ; the Anti Corruption Act has been amended giving it prosecutorial powers and making the Commission more effective.
|LATE OJU WILSON (R.I.P.)
Oju also participated in the training of Police Officers, Prison Officers, Police Prosecutors and civil society and Human Rights activists throughout Sierra Leone, as far as Kailahun and Kono in the east, Kambia and Kabala in the north and Pujehun and Bonthe in the South.
Oju accompanied me in providing free legal services to indigent persons throughout Sierra Leone and was instrumental in identifying those in need at prisons and police stations.
Oju was also very political. He was a dedicated supporter of the Sierra Leone People’s Party and had nurtured an intention to run for the position of Mayor of Freetown in the next local Government Elections.
Oju was a complete man. He exhibited qualities of honesty, loyalty, sincerity of purpose and reliability.
Oju was a family man. He loved his wife and siblings and was always present at family functions.
Oju was a “Street Ambassador”. He was always seen at ‘Ataya Bases’ and other places associating with the less fortunate and counselling them to desist from committing crimes. He also loved football.
No man is perfect and Oju was not an exception. He was extremely secretive and hardly discusses his personal issues and discomforts.
William Shakespeare in the play, Hamlet Prince of Denmark may have been referring to Oju when he said:
“what a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculty! In form, in moving, how express and admirable! In action how like an angel! In apprehension how like a god: the beauty of the world! The paragon of animals”.
Oju was a noble man and a fellow tiller in the Human Rights vineyard. He contributed significantly to the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in Sierra Leone and the development of the Rule of Law.
Sleep Oju and take your rest reminding all that there is only one certainty in life and that is DEATH. Mors certa, vita incerta (Death is certain, life is uncertain). It will come when it should come and not before.
I am far away from Freetown where you were buried on August 31st 2015. Even though am absent in body yet I am present at heart and my mind is with you as I pay this last respect and say to you OJU your contribution to the Human Rights Struggle and the Rule of Law will never be forgotten.
May you find everlasting peace in the world beyond.
Your friend and comrade, Melron C. Nicol - Wilson 31st August 2015.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.