NANCA, the National Association of the Nigerian Community in Austria threatened with extinction
Dear Respected Nigerians in Austria, do we need another Omofuma?
by NANCA National President Mag. Dr. Jude Okonkwo
I pen these heartfelt words to you today with a sense of urgency and a profound call for solidarity. Our beloved National Association of the Nigerian Community in Austria (NANCA) faces an existential threat, and it is with heavy hearts that we must take immediate action to save this vital institution that symbolises our unity and resilience. As fellow Nigerians, it is our solemn duty to come together, join NANCA, and pay our membership fees, as we remember the tragic event that led to the founding of this association – the death of Marcus Omofuma.
NANCA’s inception stands as a powerful testament to the indomitable spirit of Nigerians in foreign lands and the enduring strength of community bonds. Our journey in Austria has been marked by numerous challenges, both personal and collective, as we sought better opportunities and lives for ourselves and our loved ones. However, one fateful incident in May 1999 left an indelible mark on our community and gave birth to NANCA.
Marcus Omofuma, a young Nigerian seeking refuge and a chance at a better life, became the tragic victim of a heart-wrenching injustice. He fled Nigeria’s repressive regime, seeking asylum in Austria, only to face unspeakable cruelty at the hands of authorities. In a devastating display of inhumanity, Marcus was forcefully deported from Austria while bound and gagged, his desperate cries for help silenced forever.
This heartrending incident shook our community to its core, sending shockwaves across Austria and beyond. Out of this tragedy emerged the unbreakable resolve to create an association that would stand as a bastion of unity, support, and advocacy for all Nigerians in Austria. In honour of Marcus Omofuma and the countless others who have faced similar challenges, we came together to form NANCA.
NANCA was established with the following noble objectives:
- Unity and Solidarity: Our collective strength lies in our unity. NANCA was founded to foster a sense of togetherness among Nigerians in Austria, transcending regional, linguistic, and tribal barriers. It is a reminder that we are one community, supporting and standing with each other through thick and thin.
- Social Welfare and Support: At the core of NANCA’s mission is a commitment to providing social welfare and support to members of our community facing adversity. NANCA has been a lifeline, offering financial assistance, emotional support, and practical guidance to those in need.
- Cultural Heritage Preservation: Our Nigerian identity is a tapestry woven from a rich cultural heritage. NANCA has played a vital role in preserving our customs, traditions, and values through cultural events, celebrations, and educational initiatives.
- Educational Empowerment: Education empowers us to break barriers and seize opportunities. NANCA has actively supported Nigerian students in Austria by providing scholarships, mentorship, and resources to help them realise their academic aspirations.
- Advocacy and Representation: NANCA has been our collective voice, advocating for the rights and interests of Nigerians in Austria. It has sought recognition and respect for our contributions to Austrian society while challenging discrimination and prejudice.
Today, my fellow Nigerians, NANCA faces an uncertain future. Financial constraints and dwindling membership threaten its ability to continue the vital work it has been doing for over two decades. If we fail to act now, we risk eroding the very foundation that sustains our community in Austria.
I beseech each and every one of you to embrace the spirit of unity and contribute to the preservation of NANCA:
- Join NANCA and Pay Your Membership Fees: If you are not already a member, I implore you to join NANCA without delay. For existing members, please ensure your membership fees are up to date. Your contribution is an investment in our community’s strength and future.
- Advocate for NANCA: Share the significance of NANCA with fellow Nigerians in Austria. Raise awareness of its crucial role in supporting our community and encourage others to join.
- Volunteer and Participate: NANCA thrives through the active engagement of its members. Offer your time, skills, and resources to contribute to NANCA’s initiatives and events.
- Organise Fundraising Activities: Let us come together to organise fundraising events, no matter how small, to support NANCA financially. Each contribution counts and adds to the collective effort.
- Educate the Youth: Encourage the younger generation to embrace the legacy of NANCA and participate in its activities. They are the torchbearers of our community’s future.
Remember, NANCA is not just an association; it is a living tribute to the memory of Marcus Omofuma and a testament to the resilience and unity of Nigerians in Austria. Let us not forget the sacrifices made by our forebears and those who came before us, for their struggles have paved the way for our progress today.
Together, we can preserve NANCA’s legacy and ensure that it continues to be the beacon of hope and support for generations to come.
Thank you for your unwavering commitment to our community and your prompt attention to this urgent appeal.
With deepest regards,
From the desk of NANCA