A tragic story of one of Africa’s most brilliant minds in tech.
By the time he was 25, he had already obtained a doctorate in Electronic Engineering from City University in London. He was then recruited by a top tech firm in California. So many people, Americans, Europeans, asked me if I knew this Cameroonian genius. I was so intrigued.
Back then, there weren’t that many of us that were successful in IT in America. I finally met him through my cousin, another genius, who worked with him and they were simply stars.
I was a consultant at Oracle back then and even at HQ in Redwood Shores, the dynamic Cameroonian duo was famous. If it couldn’t be done, you could give it to the duo and they would make it happen.
In 1999, wanting to take their talent back to Africa, he and my cousin founded Quanteq in Nigeria which grew to be a multimillion dollar company with over 150 employees.
I later found out that Africa’s most well-known business angel, Tomi Davies, @TomiDee was an early investor in this business
In 2012, my genius friend joined the faculty at the American University of Nigeria, teaching courses in Computer Science.
As a proven business leader, he was also the Board Chair of @Afrinvest.
Alongside his business and educational efforts, he also became known for his philanthropic and humanitarian work. He set up the STEM Wizkid program in Nigeria’s Adamawa State, supporting over 3,000 students in 40 schools.
He also set up free ICT training programs targeted at vulnerable youths in marginalized communities and provided free ICT training to over 15,000 beneficiaries over 6 years
But his philanthropic efforts weren’t limited to tech. He was a @prawa_ngo board member for many years, an organization promoting social justice and judicial reform.
He was a member of the Adamawa Peace initiative, an organization “Obsessed with Peace” which supported over 270,000 people displaced by the Boko Haram conflict.
When Cameroon’s #anglophonecrisis led to the displacement of tens of thousands of refugees to Nigeria, he provided support to the IDPs through organizations like Southern Cameroonians in Nigeria (SCINGA).
This tech genius and humanitarian’s name Dr. Fidelis Nde-Che (@fnche).
So why did I start this thread by saying that this was a tragic story?
On January 5, 2018, he and others were meeting at Nera Hotel in Abuja to discuss the refugee crisis the surge in violence in Cameroon when they were arrested by Nigerian intelligence officers. #Nera10
Even though he himself was a registered asylum-seeker, they were taken to Cameroon, tried by a French speaking military tribunal and sentenced to life imprisonment and fined around $500 million dollars.
This week, the government organized #CmrDialogue as a means to find solutions to the ongoing crisis. Neither @fnche nor any of those arrested and convicted with him, including the leaders of the Southern Cameroons, Ambazonia movement, were invited to these talks.
As Cameroon’s President announced the release of 333 detainees held for misdemeanours, neither @fnche nor the others are eligible for this prison release. So, at least for now, this tragedy for #africatech continues.
I remain hopeful that he and others will get the justice they deserve. We have a tendency to dehumanize those arrested in this crisis, war even without knowing who they are. @fnche is an asset to Africa. And he is my friend.
By Rebecca Enonchong