Eminent lawyer and Social critic, Gani Fawehinmi, died in a hospital in Ikeja, Lagos this morning at the age of 71 years after a protracted battle with lung
``Gani was a legal icon and public litigator per excellence. He has fought a good fight,’’ he said.Another lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi, (SAN) said that Gani, more than anybody in this country, contributed to the legal profession by his early publication of the Appellate Court decisions in his Nigeria Weekly Law Reports.He said that as an activist, the late legal icon kept various administrations, particularly the military, on their toes and helped to curb their excesses.``Everybody in Nigeria will miss his immeasurable service,’’ Fagbemi said. Reacting to the news of the death of Gani, Nathaniel Oke, (SAN), said:``Unbelievable, a legal phenomenon has departed. By whatever standard he was a nationalist and a great man.”Oke, who was stunned at the news of the death of Gani, said that ``Gani contributed immensely to the legal development of Nigeria.``If in his life time we had two or three of Gani’s type, Nigeria’s legal system would not be like this,’’ he said.Constitutional lawyer, Fred Agbaje, lauded the contributions of Gani to legal scholarship by his publications and expressed the hope that his family and chamber would sustain it.
Fawehinmi had his early education at Ansar-Ud-Deen Primary School, Iyemaja, Ondo from 1947 to 1953 and he attended Victory College, Ikare, a christian secondary school from 1954 to 1958. In 1961, enrolled at the Holborn College of Law, University of London. While in college, he was popularly known as “Nation” because of his passionate interest in national, legal and political affairs. In 1993, Fawehinmi was awarded the biennial Bruno Kreisky Prize. This prize, named in honour of Bruno Kreisky, is awarded to international figures who advance humanrights causes. As a result of his activism, Fawehinmi was arrested, detained, and charged to court several times by government officials. Many Nigerians called him ‘the people’s president’.