Falana replies IBB: You nearly killed Gani Fawehinmi

Ogunsakin Mustapha
6 Min Read
Ibrahim Babangida, late Gani Fawehinmi SAN

Human rights and anti corruption lawyer, Femi Falana has replied to the comments made by Nigeria’s former military president, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida(IBB) on the late human rights activist and lawyer, late Chief Gani Fawehinmi SAM, SAN, claiming he that he tried to be friends with the late lawyer. Falana said Babangida tried to kill Gani several times, and should stop patronizing Fawehinmi.

Gen Babangida had in an interview with Channels Television had said he tried every means to make Gani his friend but failed because people see him as an evil genius. “I like listening to him. I made it a point to become his friend. He was very friendly with one of my former ministers, the late Alex Akinyele; they were very good friends, and he tried to make us very good friends.

“If we come up with a policy, my first question to my staff was: What would Gani Fawehinmi say?”

But speaking yesterday at the 20th anniversary of “Fawehinmiism”, the annual lecture organized by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch, Falana recounted the several times Babangida almost killed Gani, and the times he sent him to some of the worst prisons in Nigeria with the hope that he(Gani) will die in prison. Falana himself was a co-traveller with the late civil rights activist in most of his travails.

L-R: Former Vice President NBA, Adekunle Ojo SAN, Lagos State AG, Alhaji Lawal Pedro SAN, NBA Ikeja Chairman, Oluwaseyi Olawunmi, Mrs Mrs Otaru, and General Secretary NBA, Adeshina Adegbite at the Annual Gani Fewehinmi lecture in Lagos on Monday

He said: IBB should stop patronizing the man that he almost killed. The DSS under IBB invaded Gani’s office several times. It was Babangida that took Gani to Gashua where he almost died. “I recall a time when IBB dissolved the Provisional Ruling Council(PRC), and Gani challenged him in court. The then Lagos State Chief Judge, late Justice Ligali Ayorinde in the case called Babangida the “Kabiyesi” of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and jailed Gani for eight months. We challenged the judgment on the point of law and won because the law prescribed only three months for the offense for which Gani charged.

Falana challenged Nigerian lawyers across the country to take advantage of the revised laws and follow magistrates in their monthly visits to police stations to free victims of human rights abuse from police cells. “I know that if you do this, Gani will be smiling in heaven”, he said.

Several dignitaries at the occasion eulogized the late civil rights activist and what he stood for in his lifetime.

The Lagos State Attorney General, and Commissioner for Justice, Alhaji Lawal Pedro SAN who represented Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu advocated the reintroduction of History into the curriculum of Nigerian schools so that efforts and history of Nigerian heroes like Gani will not be forgotten. He said the younger generation of Nigerians never knew the history of old empires like Shonghai, Oyo, and Benin. He said if history as a subject is taught in schools, efforts of heroes like Gani will not be forgotten.

Mr Wemimo Ogunde SAN, an alumnus of Gani Fawehinmi Chambers and Chairman of the occasion called for a united Nigeria that is not factionalized. He opined that creation of states have not helped the country much. He said he is not likely to support the creation of Ijebu State because some people even within the state will see others as inferior.

Former General Secretary of NBA, Dele Adesina SAN urged lawyers to be vanguard for a new constitution that will give more powers to the states. He recalled that the Western Region once had its own Court of Appeal.

Fawehinmiism lecture series started 20 years ago while the late  Gani Fawehinmi was still alive. He attended and co-sponsored the lectures until he died on September 5,2009. He also made provision for the continuation of the lecture series in his will.

Amongst the dignitaries that attended the event are Comrade Femi Borishade who delivered the main lecture, Senator Shehu Sanni, Comrade Ezenwa Nwagwu, NBA President, Yakubu Maikyau SAN, Prof Wole Soyinka, Layi Babatunde SAN, Afam Osigwe SAN, Richard Akinnola, Lange Arogundade, Omoyele Sowore, Roland Otaru SAN, General Secretary, NBA, Ade Adegbite, Dare Akande, Shina Ogunlana, Adebamigbe Omole,  and a host of other dignitaries. 

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