By Betty Abah
Recently the Minnesota Supreme Court and the Minnesota/Dakota chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), honoured our own Uncle Paschal for his consistent and dogged dedication to volunteerism and other good works as an immigrations lawyer in the USA. Reports of how he has helped immigrants and their families gain legal immigration status without charging a dime were way too many to escape the eyes and ears of the authorities as well as fellow lawyers thus this double honour almost in one beautiful breath.
This is awesome and extremely well deserved but not totally surprising to some of of us who have known Mr. Nwokocha for several years now. Quiet, unassuming and deeply kind, Mr. Nwokocha has alongside his wife, Engineer Ugo Nwokocha (nee Eko) has been one of our most consistent supporters in the CEE-HOPE work. Their support has benefitted hundreds of children and indigent families across Nigeria in at least seven states in more than seven years—from the informal communities in Lagos, rural enclaves in Benue, three orphanages across Plateau, Benue and Kaduna States to impoverished mining communities in Ebonyi State — and they do this quietly.
Indeed, Mr. Nwokocha and family take the philanthropy drive a notch higher by taking time to visit our communities almost every two years when they visit home from the USA, to interact and motivate our children and young people. With them he has toured the inner corners of Monkey Village (now demolished) and Makoko (both in Lagos), interfacing with several hundreds of children each time and inspiring them by telling them about his humble beginning eking a living via hawking in the commercial city of Umuahia and climbing all the way to the top by clinging to his educational dreams. He made it clear that education was the way out of their present squalor and hydra-headed difficulties they find themselves in and not in seeking refuge in drugs, crimes and the like. Each visit was always so inspiring and so memorable.
His vast charitable contributions to his community, Obowu near Umuahia in Abia State (scholarships for students, building of community centre, free medical outreaches etc) a also testify eloquently to his extra large heart.
Founder of the Minnesota-based Paschal Nwokocha and Chukwu Law Offices, he is a graduate (Cum Laude) of William Mitchell College of Law, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota. He also studied at the Seat of Wisdom Seminary, Owerri, Imo State.
Before starting the firm, Paschal Nwokocha was the Assistant Attorney General for the State of Minnesota. He previously served as the Chair of the Minnesota/Dakota chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, an organization of more than 11,000 immigration lawyers and professors in the United States among other positions.
Congrats, calm and collected Uncle Paschal, keep touching humanity positively in the various corners of the world. Thank you, Ugo for amazing support alongside your husband. Your best is yet to come!
Abah is a Lagos-based journalist and child’s rights activist and founder of the NGO CEE-HOPE.