Activist fighting pro-life battle on global scale

COLUMBIA­—Obianuju Ekeocha has spoken before the United Nations and at rallies and events in 15 countries around the world. On April 15, she brought her pro-life message to South Carolina.

The nationally-renowned pro-life speaker, a native of Nigeria, visited Our Lady of Grace Church in Lancaster where she delivered a powerful presentation at the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Masses and at a lecture that evening.

“We all know the history of colonialism, and all of the African nations that have gone through it more than a hundred years ago,” Ekeocha said in a recent interview. “And we may be going back there. Nations have been annexed and overwhelmed as a result of ideology.”

Ekeocha, also known as “Uju,” is the founder and president of Culture of Life Africa, an initiative that counters the culture of death,” of which she rallies against in her lectures. The organization advocates against constant pressures to legalize abortion and other population control measures throughout Africa.

Her new book, “Target of Africa: Ideological Neocolonialism of the 21st Century,” investigates many of the humanitarian projects in Africa and the attempts to force ideas and cultural views that an overwhelming majority of the natives do not want.

“We have to stop the (Western) donors,” Ekeocha said. “That is the first of the problems that made Africa so vulnerable to accepting new ideas and ideologies.”

“They push their ideologies and cultural views in Africa in the easiest way possible — through funding,” she continued. “The donors, they call themselves partners and they come here saying they want to help. But they want us to accept these new “values” that most people in Africa find morally objectionable.”

An outspoken advocate for the culture of life and African traditions and values, Ekeocha routinely meets with legislators, U.N. ambassadors, and religious leaders from many African countries to discuss pro-life issues. She considers leadership to be the first line of defense in trying to preserve Africa’s culture.

“We have to speak about (pro-life issues) and defend it where our leaders are,” Ekeocha said. “There is a pushback among many African nations against these ideologies of the West and of the donors, but the leaders are not confident to defend it. Our leaders are terrified of the donors.”

Ekeocha, who lives in Great Britain and works as a biomedical scientist in hematology, said it was there where she was indirectly thrust into the role of a pro-life activist six years ago.

She was a graduate student in London when she first learned of an initiative spearheaded by Melinda Gates that would send more than $4.5 billion worth of contraceptives into Africa. Ekeocha responded with an open letter to Gates vehemently opposing the idea. The letter went viral and has since been translated in more than a dozen languages, immediately making Ekeocha the international face of the pro-life movement.

“That’s where my activism started,” Ekeocha recalled. “Something just inspired me to write that letter. But I felt it was my responsibility as someone who believes in the culture of life.”

By Chip Lupo / Special to The Miscellany

Photo provided: Obianuju Ekeocha, a nationally renowned pro-life advocate from Nigeria, signs a book for Kathy Schmugge, director of the Office of Family Life for the Diocese of Charleston. Ekeocha was invited to speak at Our Lady of Grace Church in Lancaster on April 15.