By Abdulwahab Abdulah
LAGOS— Ahead of his burial tomorrow, the remains of late human rights lawyer and activist, Mr Bamidele Aturu, were yesterday laid-in-state at the Ikeja secretariat of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, at a special valedictory session, in his honour by the Bar.
Aturu, died on July 9 in Lagos after a brief illness.
The programme which lasted for about three hours, was attended by senior members of the bench, the Bar as well as other dignitaries, who paid glowingly tributes to the deceased.
Chairman, of the Ikeja branch of the NBA, Mr. Yinka Farounbi, said Aturu was a committed member of the branch and served in various capacities during his life time and said he would be immortalise with an annual programme.
According to him, the valedictory service held for Aturu at the new secretariat was historic since it was first time it was being used to honour of any lawyer, lamenting that the sudden demise of the activist was a big loss to the legal community.
In his remarks, a Justice of the Court of Appeal, Justice Olubunmi Oyewole, said “We are celebrating Aturu today not because he is the richest Nigerian, He never made the Forbes list. He was not even a member of the inner bar (SAN) but he dedicated his life to the service of humanity. He was always at the forefront to protect the dignity of the legal profession.”
Mr Alex Mouka, Chairman of the NBA, Lagos chapter, said Aturu devoted his life to justice and equity and was never afraid to speak up against any form of injustice in the society, saying “I urge all of us to emulate him. Nigeria will be reborn if we all stand up to speak for the truth like Aturu did.”
Also, Chairman of Ikorodu branch of the NBA, Mr. Dotun Adetunji, said Aturu made a great impact in the country with his activism.
According to him, “He died having fulfilled his God-given assignment and task in life. He was a genuine activist who participated in all forms of action aimed at social reform and change.”
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Rickey Tarfa, enjoined the family to take solace in the legacy left behind by the deceased, adding, he was rated as one of the fearless activists in Nigeria.
Aturu’s son, Lanre who spoke on behalf of the family, expressed his appreciation, noting that they did not know their bread winner was rated that high.
He thanked Nigerians for the support shown to them since the demise of their father, adding that they will struggle to protect the legacy he left behind, while urging those in the gathering to live a good life and remain close to God in order to make heaven.
Subsequently, his remains was moved to the Victory Megal Chapel of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, Ogudu, where a service was held for him, after which his body moved to Ondo state for final burial today.