(By Lukman Olabiyi)
Many prominent Nigerians, including top lawyers and journalists, continue to express shock over the sudden death of human rights lawyer, Fred Agbaje, who passed on Saturday.
Agbaje, who had been ill for a while, reportedly died in London after battling an undisclosed ailment.
The late human rights activist narrowly missed out on being appointed Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), when he was again shortlisted in 2015.
A statement by President Buhari’s spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, described the deceased as an erudite human rights lawyer.
He commiserated with the family, friends and professional colleagues of the departed, further describing him as “an ardent advocate against corruption and canvasser for internal democracy in political parties, who also believed strongly in the sanctity of the ballot box.”
Buhari commended the fearlessness of the late lawyer in calling for the cleansing of bad eggs in the judiciary and standing up for his beliefs as he fought for the rights of the less-privileged in society.
Second Vice president of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Monday Ubani, expressed his shock, noting that Agbaje’s death was a great loss to the legal profession.
“We have been hearing that he was sick and that he travelled abroad for treatment, but we were shocked when we heard about his death.
Also commenting on Agbaje’s death, a human rights lawyer, Ebun Olu Adegboruwa, described the death of Agbaje as a rude shock.
“Fred Agbaje was an astute and forthright lawyer. I have had cause to work with him in cases even up to the supreme court and I can tell you that he was a very honest and down to earth person.”
Journalists under the umbrella of National Association of Judiciary Correspondents (NAJUC), Lagos chapter, described Agbaje as a dogged fighter who was always a press delight.
According to them, Agbaje’s level of activism castigated every corrupt and wasteful government without fear or favour, and he did it with no apology.
Also reacting to the death of Agbaje, a human rights lawyer, Joseph Otteh, an Executive Secretary of Access to Justice (AJ), described Agbaje as legal icon who contributed immensly to the Nigerian legal profession, especially in the area of jurisprudence.
“It is a sad news and honestly I am saddened. Fred Agbaje was an icon and he was such a generous man. He was a pleasure to work with.
“He contributed immensely to the Nigerian legal profession and he will be surely missed. I pray that his soul rests in peace.”