Tilova for Africa: We believe in giving back to society – Nwabueze

Mr Martin Tilova Nwabueze

Mr Martin Tilova Nwabueze is the Chairman of Tilova for Africa a charity organisation set up to champion the course of minority groups in Africa. In this interview, he says giving back to the society is their watchword. 

What is Tilova for Africa all about? 

Tilova for Africa is a non-profit  charity organisation. Our focus is mostly on hunger alleviation but in general we strive to bring succor to the most vulnerable and oppressed in our communities. 

What informed the formation of the organisation?

The most important factor is that the founders are charitable people who have been actively involved in charity for years both in Africa and USA. As first generation American immigrants,  the founders consider themselves lucky for the opportunities America availed them to do something and give back to the less privileged in Africa. Also when my friend was murdered in South Africa for no other reason than being gay, I decided to do something to shed light on the plight of the LGBTQ people in Africa.

What is the scope of Tilova for Africa mandate?

Our scope is limitless but rather determined  by the availability of resources both human and financial needed to execute operations and bring positive change. Our advocacies also include the fight to end the marginalisation of certain minority groups such as OSU people, single mothers, HIV/AIDS people and the LGBTQ people among us.

Talking about Osu caste, what is it and where is it practised?

The OSU caste system, just like other caste systems, is the practice of ostracising a group of people by the larger society, depriving the ostracised ones from full participation in the socio-cultural practices and activities of the societies where it is perpetuated. It is practised by the Igbos of the South Eastern part of Nigeria. While there are other caste systems in different societies all over the world, the OSU caste system is unique in the sense that it is the only caste system perpetuated as a result of fear of the ostracised. You see the OSU people are people whose ancestors ran to the gods for protection and were declared as the children of the gods or deities. In fear of the gods, people stayed away from them. In traditional Igbo society the gods are revered; so the isolation of the Osu people is in reverence of the gods not because they are considered inferior. 

What is the effect of segregation and stigmatisation of HIV patients in Africa? 

You see when societies  segregate people, such people pay back with hate and sometimes violence. Stigmatisation degrades people and with such degradation comes mental health issues like depression. It has been established that depression may lead people to degenerate to a state where they are incapable of making right choices for themselves and others around them. So when we segregate the HIV/AIDS patients, they become depressed and frustrated making them resort to irrational behaviours, risky and unhealthy lifestyles like unprotected sex and intentionally trying to infect others. Such risky behaviours increase the spread of the disease and endangers more lives. Also the fear of being segregated and stigmatized prevents HIV/AIDS patients from making their status public, seeking medical help which are readily available to reduce chances of death and reduce viral loads. Stigmatisation also prevents the general public from testing which is an important tool in the fight to stop spread of the disease. 

You talked about LGBTQ, are you preaching same sex marriage?

We are not preaching any type of sex be it same or opposite sex, we are not a sex advocate group rather we are an equal rights advocate group. We envision a world where every member of the society will have the freedom to live their life, live their truth without fear, without discrimination or marginalisation.  We preach equality of all under the law and we are empowering people of goodwill to mobilise against attacks on the most marginalised people in our communities.  Our interest in the LGBTQ group is the same interest we have in other marginalised groups like the OSU people and the HIV/AIDS patients. Our advocacy against marginalisation is borne out of our conviction that societies function better and more peacefully when we allow for more inclusion and when we practice equal rights for all and not just for some. 

You have been in Nigeria and have had advocacy visits, public enlightenment sessions and outreach, tell us more about them. 

Our activities in Nigeria have been more impressive than what we expected. Our symposiums and events were well attended and our messages were well received. We spoke on very sensitive issues and took our message to places such messages had never reached before now. We were in different countries and in different states in Nigeria. We met with community leaders, we interacted with the people and met with traditional rulers. We also had meetings with government officials all geared towards assuring that our actions achieve the intended goals.

You signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Human Rights Commission, why is that partnership important to Tilova for Africa and what value does it brings to the foundation.

Executing the partnership with the National Human Rights Commission is very important to us because it is a validation of our authenticity and genuine purpose. 

Who are partners and what type of support do you need to effectively carry out these objectives of yours?

We have formed many partnerships that have been made public and are working hard to execute more partnerships. We have the one with NHRC, we have the one with the Public Complaints Commission and we have partnerships with many other NGOs across Africa. These partnerships are important to us as they are synergistic to our efforts to bring positive changes to various communities across Africa especially Nigeria. 

UNI Agric Markurdi
Blueprint Whatsapp