Rebecca Enonchong, founder of IT firm Appstech, has raised the alarm about the incarceration of tech whiz and philanthropist Fidelis Nde-che who’s serving life imprisonment in Cameroon.
Nche, a registered asylum seeker in Nigeria, was reportedly arrested in Abuja alongside nine others and flown to Cameroon where a military tribunal fined and subsequently jailed them.
In a series of tweets, Enonchong who’s widely regarded as ‘Queen of African Tech’ gave a timeline of Nde-che’s oddysey and the march to the Cameroonian gulag.
She claimed Nche had, by age 25, already obtained a doctorate in Electronic Engineering from City University in London and was recruited by a top tech firm in California.
She said: “Back then, there weren’t that many of us that were successful in IT in America. I finally met him through my cousin, another genius, who worked with him and they were simply stars.
“I was a consultant at Oracle back then and even at HQ in Redwood Shores, the dynamic Cameroonian duo was famous. If it couldn’t be done, you could give it to the duo and they would make it happen.”
By 1999, according to Enonchong, the duo took their talent back to Africa and founded Quanteq in Nigeria which grew to be a multimillion dollar company with over 150 employees.
Africa’s most well-known business angel, Tomi Davies, @TomiDee was an early investor in this business, according to information.
Enonchong takes up the thread again. “In 2012, my genius friend joined the faculty at the American University of Nigeria, teaching courses in Computer Science. As a proven business leader, he was also the Board Chair of @Afrinvest.”
Alongside his business and educational efforts, Nche also became known for his philanthropic and humanitarian work.
He set up the STEM Wizkid program in Nigeria’s Adamawa State, supporting over 3,000 students in 40 schools.
He also set up free ICT training programs targeted at vulnerable youths in marginalized communities and provided free ICT training to over 15,000 beneficiaries over 6 years
He was a @prawa_ngo board member for many years, an organization promoting social justice and judicial reform and also a member of the Adamawa Peace initiative, an organization “Obsessed with Peace” which supported over 270,000 people displaced by the Boko Haram conflict.
When Cameroon’s Anglophone crisis led to the displacement of tens of thousands of refugees to Nigeria, Nche also stepped in to provide support to the IDPs through organizations like Southern Cameroonians in Nigeria (SCINGA).
So, with all these sterling qualities, how did Nde-che end up a felon serving a life sentence?
On January 5, 2018, he and others were meeting at Nera Hotel in Abuja to discuss the refugee crisis the surge in violence in Cameroon when they were arrested by Nigerian intelligence officers.
Inspite of his status as a registered asylum-seeker, Nde-che and the others were taken to Cameroon, tried by a French speaking military tribunal and sentenced to life imprisonment and fined around $500 million dollars!
And, as part of its pretence to finding solutions to the ongoing crisis, the government organized #CmrDialogue as a means to find solutions to the ongoing crisis yet neither Nde-che nor any of those arrested and convicted with him, were invited to these talks.
When the Cameroon President also announced the release of 333 detainees held for misdemeanors, Nde-che and his group were not eligible.
Enonchong is optimistic that Nde-che and others will get the justice they deserve because he’s an asset to Africa.
You can also lend a voice in defence of Nde-che by signing the change.org petition calling for their release.
Rebecca Enonchong is a renowned business woman and entrepreneur with strong convictions about political and social activisms.