Liberia’s Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Al-Hassan Conteh, over the weekend, led an array of Liberian diplomats and Liberians residing in Nigeria to console Chief Cliff Macmond Nzeruem (Commonly referred to as Chief Cliff) for the loss of his mother in Aji West Local Government Area of Imo State, Nigeria.
A release from the Liberian Embassy in Nigeria said Chief Cliff Nzeruem, the former Honorary Consul of Liberia in Nigeria, lost his mother, Mrs. Ezinne Caroline Ukwunnaya Nzeruem (Nee Obodo).
The late Madam Nzeruem was the matriarch of her family. She was born in 1935 in two prominent royal families in Anambra State. During the Biafra War, she and her husband escaped to Cameroon, where they brought up their two children, Chief Cliff and his brother, under difficult circumstances. But they struggled to build a viable business in Cameroon, overcame all obstacles to establish a strong business base in Nigeria, and successfully educated their children. When she and her family relocated to Nigeria after the civil war, she balanced her life with hard work and humility among family, community and Anglican Church activities in Aji, Nigeria.
A celebratory wake-keeping was held on Thursday, May 4, followed by the funeral, interment and repast on Friday, May 5.
Ambassador Conteh was accompanied to her funeral by Liberia’s former Ambassador to France, Germany and Switzerland, Ambassador Dew Tuan-Wleh Mayson, officers of the Liberian Embassy in Nigeria, the president and officers of the Organization of Liberian Communities in Nigeria (OLICON) and scores of other Liberians from across Nigeria.
Paying tribute at the repast, Ambassador Conteh said, “We are here to commiserate with our brother and friend, Chief Cliff Nzeruem, on the passing of his dear mother Mrs. Ezinne Caroline Nzeruem. We’ve come from far and near, Liberians from all 36 states here in Nigeria.”
Ambassador Conteh said the late Mrs. Nzeruem raised a great family, and her son, Chief Cliff, was a gift to Liberia. He said Chief Cliff was always there for Liberians from the onset of the civil war to the present. He allocates his resources, and helps Liberians who fall in trouble irrespective of their state of residence in Nigeria.
“That’s why we are here today, to commiserate with you, Chief. We wish your dear mother, who I’m sure is in Heaven now smiling on us, eternal rest. May the good Lord have mercy on her gentle soul and give her peace,” the Ambassador said.
Ambassador Mayson said: “I didn’t have the privilege of knowing Madam Caroline, but I know her son. As we always say in Liberia, ‘the chip does not fall too far from the tree.’ If Madam Caroline was able to have produced a son in the person of Chief Cliff, I think she’s done a marvelous job. And this is why all of us are here today to help him in his hour of commiseration because he’s been there for us.
“As we also say in Liberia, ‘if you scratch my back, I must scratch your belly.’ Chief Cliff has scratched a lot of our backs; so, however small his belly may be, we’re all here to rub it a little bit,” he said.
The president of OLICON, Daoda Kanneh, said: “Chief Cliff is the only Chief that Liberians have here in Nigeria. I’m proud to say this here in this very public manner, that the only Chief we have in the Liberian community in Nigeria is Chief Cliff. He’s a person that has identified with us in every ramification. So, we came from far away, Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Bayelsa, Abuja, Lagos, Niger State, Jos, from everywhere, to identity with you, Chief.”
In response, Chief Cliff thanked the Ambassador and the Liberian community for turning out to identify with him. “As you have come from far and near, let the Almighty guide and protect you all back to your respective places,” he concluded.
The officers of the Abuja Mission who accompanied Ambassador Conteh included the Minister Counselor for Press and Public Affairs, Nat Bayjay; the First Secretary/Consul, Daniel Rogers; and the Political Counselor, Tunde J. Spencer, the release said.