Funeral arrangements for the burial of health campaigner and Uncelebrated Nigerians Awards UK organising committee general secretary Dr Nkem Ezeilo who passed away last Sunday have been announced by her family.
Dr Ezeilo, 43, a highly respected as a healthy lifestyle campaigner, public speaker, author and community activist, finally succumbed to a lengthy battle against cancer on Sunday September 11. She will now be buried on Thursday September 22 at the Alum Cemetery in Borehamwood in Hertfordshire, WD6 3PJ.
Before the funeral, a service of songs will be held for Dr Ezeilo at 9.30am at All Saints Church, Shenley Road, Borehamwood WD6 1EB. She will then be laid to rest at Alum Cemetery Borehamwood, after which there will be a reception at Alum Hall, 2, Allum Lane. WD6 3PJ, Borehamwood.
A graduate of the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), Dr Ezeilo ended up finishing her medical studies at the University of Papua New Guinea, where she emerged the overall best graduating student. Over recent years, Dr Ezeilo has established herself as one of the leading bloggers and public speakers on health issues in the Nigerian diaspora in the UK.
For several years now, Dr Ezeilo has been battling cancer and in the process, defied all medical predictions, refusing to accept defeat despite it spreading to virtually every part of her body. Even when doctors gave up on her, she refused to accept defeat, soldiering on using the strength of sheer will power to defy the ailment.
Dayo Olomu, the president of the Nigerian Trainers and Speakers Consortium UK, said: “Dr Nkem is one of the most courageous women I have ever met. She will be sorely missed.”
Tunde Loye, the chairman of the Central Association of Nigerians in the UK, added: “Dr Nkem died doing what she liked, so we feel comfortable she was happy in her life. Dear friend, the Nigerian community in the UK will never forget you.”
Malcolm Benson, the chairman of the publicity sub-committee of the Uncelebrated Nigerians Awards UK organising committee, said that Dr Ezeilo will be honoured at the forthcoming event on September 24. He added that apart from the fact that there will be a minute of silence for her before the event starts, a full page paying tribute to her will be published in the brochure.
“Nkem was our secretary and was a well-loved and highly respected member of our time, so it is only right that we give her as good a send off as we can. Knowing Nkem, she would want us to celebrate her life, so on the day we intend to celebrate all she achieved as a health campaigner.”
Kate Anolue, the chairman of the ethics sub-committee of the Uncelebrated Nigerians Awards UK organising committee, added that among other things, Dr Ezeilo was also the editor of the Eminent Nigerian Series published by the Nigerian Diaspora Direct Investment Summit. In that capacity, she campaigned against African time syndrome whereby Nigerians turned up at events hours later than scheduled.
Born in the Lusaka, Zambia,, Dr Ezeilo grew up in Nigeria, where she attended Federal Government Girls College Owerri, before gaining admission into UNN. She was a tireless campaigner who spent her entire professional life agitating for healthy eating, saying that if people did that they would not have to visit the doctor in the first place.