Peoples' Profile

Human rights community pay tribute to fallen Comrade Aideloje Belo

Tributes have continued to pour in for the late human rights crusader, Mr Aideloje Belo, a lawyer who died on Thursday November 3, 2022. He was 59 years old.

Also, his comrades and friends across Nigeria are already gearing up to give the deceased a befitting burial. Already, a WhatsApp group have been set up with human rights lawyer, Jiti Ogunye as the administrator, while funds are pouring in for the burial.

According to reports, Belo was not sick at the time of death. He was said to be amongst some friends when he slumped. He was confirmed dead when he was rushed to the hospital.

Belo was a true and sincere human rights activist who genuinely cared for the people he defended. A prominent member of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Belo was one of the prominent young lawyers that fought the Nigerian military to a standstill and ensured they handed over power back civilian adminstration. He was one of the young lawyers that campaigned against the annulment of the June 12, 1993 elections. Belo defended so many young dismissed students in court against authoritarian university managements across Nigeria.

His fellow comrade, Jiti Ogunye reported that some fellow comrades had already visited the late Belo’s wife, Mrs Irene Ejeomo Aideloje Belo and his children.

He said: “A team of Aideloje Belo’s friends and comrades visited his family yesterday. The team comprises Onyeisi Chiemeke, Segun Jegede, Olasupo Ojo, Comfort Idika Ogunye and Jiti Ogunye.

The widow , Irene Ejeomo Aideloje Belo, a strong woman of faith and a Vice Principal in a Government Secondary School in Lagos State , is coping with the demise of her beloved husband, in the circumstances. We met three of the five children, OHIOZUA, MARY and AMAZING GRACE. Two of the children were not at home during the visit . Three of the children are university graduates, one an undergraduate and the last child , Grace is about rounding off secondary school;

In spite of the bereavement, we met the family in good spirit, keenly aware of the irreplaceable loss, but stoic, self-consoling and bearing the loss with fortitude and incredible courage. The condition in which we met them lifted our spirit. We didn’t meet them , lying lifeless on the settee, melancholic and inconsolable. We met them, focused, already rising to the challenge. Belo is a success in many aspects of life. On the family raising side that many may not know, however, he is an outstanding success . No parent would not be proud of such wonderful children”.

The late Comrade Aideloje Belo

Meanwhile, the family has tentatively fixed November 18, 2022 for the burial which may hold in Lagos. This is to enable some of his siblings who live abroad to attend the rites of passage.

Please permit me to drop my tribute to our departed Comrade here. Same was posted as my tribute to him on forevermissed.com.

Comrade Akin Adekunle remembered Belo as a fearless fighter to the cause of emancipation he so much believed in. “A most dependable friend, an exceptional parent and a true believer of God”, he said, narrating how he and his father shared the same birthday with the late Comrade Belo.

Another comrade, Wale Balogun narrated how the late Belo defended him and his fellow comrades in 1994 for pasting NADECO posters. “How can I ever forget(the case), Wale Balogun, Segun Maiyegun and ors vs Lagos state in 1994. Being the first victim to be arrested for NADECO activities a few days after the birth of the pro democracy coalition. Late Musedik Lawal aka Radio & Rahmon Okoya aka Satti were in the firm grip of policemen from Adekunle police station before someone alerted me. On getting to the scene at Herbert Macaulay street Adekunle opposite Odusote bookshop, Radio and Sati were begging the policemen to leave their clothes, I freed both from the policemen who had arrested them for pasting the first NADECO posters and for being in possession of anti government handbills. As the duo dialogue with their legs, I was not that fortunate as I was arrested. We fought and wrestled ourselves to the ground, with four policemen and I sustaining injuries. I was taken to the station after being overpowered;

About 4hours after I was transferred to SCID Panti from Adekunle police station, Segun Maiyegun was brought into the control room too. We refused to write statements except in the presence of a lawyer. We were put in Cell 1. The second day, my own third day of arrest, they brought in a 70 year old man from Ajegunle and one Segun Saju who have been brutalized by the police with his left eye swollen. The police lied to a team of lawyers led by Femi Falana who came to seek our release that are no longer in custody , few hours later we were taken to Yaba magistrate court Agnes. A lawyer from Ayo Opadokun chambers who should have represented us ask for payment but my eldest senior sister tongue lashed him. A lawyer who resides at MCcullum street Ebute meta later
argued for our bail which was granted by the Magistrate.

On the adjourned date, Belo Aideloje appeared in court to represent us, a task he carried out dutifully till we are discharged and acquitted. My respect for Belo Aideloje grew with the way he argued our case from the beginning to the end. I celebrate you in death Comrade”.

A senior journalist, Tunde Aremu said: “Many of us will keep remembering Aideloje Bello. He was a man of great conviction. He was there when people of courage, conscience, great consciousness and ideas were needed. Rest well comrade”.

A former Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch, Adegamigbe Omole said: “He came he played his part very well history will be kind to him may the good Lord console the family he left behind. Adieu.

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