Former president of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers and former chairman of the West African Bar Association, WABA, Femi Falana, with 24 other lawyers will be inducted into the velvet club of the Nigerian Bar otherwise called the Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SAN, this year.
The full list includes:
1. Rotimi Jacobs, prosecution for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,
2. Dayo Akinlaja, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Ekiti State,
3. law teacher, Professor Akinseye-George.
4. Professor Dakas James Dakar,
5. Mrs Joy Okungbowa Adesina,
6. Chief Mrs Connie-Jean Aremu,
7. Mahmud Abubakar Magaji,
8. Ogwu James Onoja,
9. Garuba Usman Tetengi,
10. Henry Oghogho Ogbodu,
11. Selekeowei Larry,
12. Abenny Mohammed
13. Charles Nwanne Obishai.
14. Luke Chukwudi Illogu,
15. Francis Chuks Agbu,
16. Paul Ananaba,
17. Ahmed Raji,
18. Adekunle Theophilus Oyesanya,
19. Rotimi Oluseyi Oguneso,
20. Oluseyi Samuel Opasanya
21. Aduroja Claudies Olumuyiwa,
22. Aliyu Umar
23. Illo Katune Samuel
24. Ndukwe Nnnawuchi.
The elevation was endorsed at its meeting held today at the Supreme Court complex in Abuja, in accordance with the provisions of the Legal Practitioners’ Act 2004.
It has been a long wait for Mr. Falana who was consistently spurned off by the administrators of the award on account of what many believed is his radical political views. The late Gani Fawehinmi was another radical lawyer so treated by the adminstrators of the SAN process.
Mr. Falana cut his teeth at the law offices of the former president of the Nigeria Bar Association, the late Alao Aka Bashorun, and worked for over a decade as lawyer to the great Afro beat muscian Fela Anikulapo Kuti. He also represented Fela’s brother Beko Ransome-Kuti in many human rights cases.
During the years of military dictatorship, Falana suffered intense deprivation in many detention centres across the country. It was a trajectory he had started as a student activist at the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife where he was once the public Relations Officer of the Students’ Union. He was also an official of the radical Alliance of Progressive Students on campus and of the Patriotic Youth Movement of Nigeria, which led the campaign to reorganize the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, to a progressive youth front campaigning for the democratization of education on campuses.
Femi Falana contested and lost the governorship election of Ekiti State in 2007 on the ticket of the National Conscience Party; as of 2011 he was the national chairman of the party.
Femi Falana became a human rights activist as early as 1983 when he took bail of some university students who had been unlawfully remanded in prison custody. Mr Falana has claimed that this incident had led to him not being issued a discharge certificate by the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) after his one year mandatory national service. In July 2001, Mr Falana petitioned the Justice Oputa led human rights panel over his withheld certificate, the NYSC denied that the certificate had been intentionally withheld and instead averred that it was Mr Falana who had not requested for it. The certificate was subsequently released to him on live television at the commission’s sitting.
Mr Falana is renowned for providing free legal services to the poor and disadvantaged, he has been detained numerous times by the security services for his activism. He has won numerous awards locally and internationally for his activism.