Former Ohanaeze Ndigbo President Dies At 89

Joe Irukwu, a former president general of Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, has died at the age of 89.

It was gathered that his death was announced in a statement made available to the public on Saturday by Prince Harrison Eze Okorie, President General, Amaokwe Item Welfare Union.

He said: “The Amaokwe Item Welfare Union on behalf of entire Amaba Ukwu kindred and the immediate family hereby announce the glorious but painful demise of our great patron, father, grandfather, son and brother, Prof. Joseph Ogbonnaya Irukwu.

“The Union on behalf of the Amaokwe Community, commiserates with the family and prays God to grant his soul peaceful rest.

“The Union enjoined all Amaokwe sons and daughters to mourn the exit of this giant as we also remember to uphold his family in prayers in this moment of grief.”

Irukwu, a lawyer, lecturer, author and insurance guru, was the founding managing director of Nigerian Reinsurance Corporation.

He founded African Development Insurance Company thereafter, which was later sold to Diamond Bank.

Irukwu obtained a degree in Law and Insurance from a British university in 1962 and upon returning to Nigeria, he took employment with West African Provincial Insurance Company a British firm operating out of Lagos.

He rose within the firm and joined the managerial cadre of the firm’s insurance department in 1965.

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In 1970, he was appointed chief executive officer of Unity Life and Fire Insurance Company and it was while working at Unity that his profile began to rise.

In 1972, the government appointed him head of the student loans board, a committee with the responsibility to disburse loans to thousands of students.

In 1977, Irukwu became the pioneer chief executive of Nigerian Reinsurance Corporation, a government owned business established to increase the local share of reinsurance premium income.

Prior to the establishment of the firm, insurance firms in Nigeria, conducted reinsurance transactions with foreign companies.

Irukwu published his first book, Insurance Law and Practice in Nigeria in 1967 and his second book, Accident and Motor Insurance in West Africa was published in 1974.