The ‘mouthpiece of Islam in Nigeria,’ Lateef Adegbite Dies

Lateef Adegbite

Lateef Adegbite

Abdu-Lateef Oladimeji Adegbite, a lawyer who became Attorney General of the Western Region of Nigeria, and who later became Secretary-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, is reported dead.

The was also the Seriki of Egbaland.

He died Friday evening at the age of 79 (born on March 20, 1933).

According to a statement by the governor of Ogun State, signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Funmi Wakama on Friday, Dr. Adegbite “passed on this (Friday) evening in Lagos, at the age of seventy nine.”

“Dr. Adegbite shone like a star in the field of law and was well known across the world as the mouthpiece of Islam in Nigeria”, the governor stated, adding that “the late Seriki was a man who usually offered wise counsel to governments at Federal and State levels.”

He would be laid to rest on Saturday, according to Islamic rites.

Lateef Adegbite

In 1971 Adegbite was appointed Commissioner for Local Governments and Chieftaincy Matters in the old Western Region of Nigeria during the military administration of Brigadier Christopher Oluwole Rotimi. He was then appointed Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of the Western Region in 1973. In October 1976 he founded the legal firm of Lateef Adegbite & Co as the Principal Partner, with main office in Lagos and a branch office in Abeokuta, specializing in Commercial and Corporate Law. The Abeokuta office is in Ago-Oba. He was one of the founders of the Abeokuta Social Club in 1972.

Adegbite was president of the Nigeria Olympic Committee from 1972 to 1985. He was Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the University of Maiduguri from 1984 to 1990. He became a member of the Executive Committee of the Lagos State Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He became a Director of Industrial and General Insurance Plc. Adegbite was appointed a Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON). He holds the traditional titles of Seriki of Egbaland and Baba Adinni of Egba Muslims.

On 9 March 2011 President Goodluck Jonathan appointed him Chairman of a Presidential Committee on Public Awareness on Security and Civic Responsibilities.

As Muslim leader

At the constituent assembly in 1976, Adegbite argued in favor of introducing Islamic courts of appeal into the southern states of Nigeria, arguing that Muslims had the right to have their affairs judged according to Sharia law. He has stated “Muslims have no other constitution and law apart from what Sharia had laid down. Sharia as a divine law supersedes all other civil and moral laws”. He was to support efforts by M.K.O. Abiola to introduce Sharia to the southern states in the early 1990s. He reasserted this position in December 2002 during a period of heightened tension between Christians and Muslims.

Adegbite was chairman of the Ogun State Pilgrims Board and a member of the National Pilgrims Board. When Ibrahim Dasuki became Sultan of Sokoto in 1988 and President-General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Adegbite was appointed Secretary-General of the council. Under the leadership of Adegbite and Dasuki the NSCIA, which had been established in 1974, became much more active.

Adegbite stated in an October 2003 newspaper article that “the US and their allies should be persuaded to accept that the prevailing international terror would reduce considerably if justice is entrenched in the Middle East. Give the Palestinians back their land, there will no longer [be] platforms for the Osama bin Ladens of this world to thrive. Without justice there can be no peace”. When UNESCO arranged a conference on inter-religious dialog in Abuja in December 2003, Adegbite was invited to speak on The role of religious leaders in conflict resolution.

Leave a Reply