31 August 2010

Nigeria: NBA Honours Service to Humanity

The Gani Fawehinmi award instituted by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in honour of the late human rights advocate has been given to the advocacy group, Access to Justice, for its non-discriminatory role in defending the rights of citizens, commitment to the advancement of the rule of law in the country and its achievements in the country's democratic reform.

The group which has specific interests in the integrity and independence of the justice delivery system, was also commended for its courageous venture to protect and preserve the rights of the poor in the society, and its significant role in sponsoring bills at the National Assembly to further the course of justice.

Out of the 14 nominations received by the committee from individuals and corporate organisations for the award, the Access to Justice (A to J) had emerged as winner under the institution category.

The group is known to provide opportunities to the oppressed and marginalised to ensure they have unrestricted access to the justice system in Nigeria; and to fight corruption in the justice administration system.

The award, consisting of a plaque and the sum of one million naira was presented to Access to Justice at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Annual General Conference in Kaduna. The award ceremony is taking place a few weeks ahead of the one year anniversary of the death of the great legal icon and activist.

The late Fawenhinmi, a senior advocate, was a great spokesman for the less privileged who was always speaking truth to people in power. While he was alive he fought many battles with the powers that be, and consistently challenged government policies which he believed were not in the interest of the people in several courts in Nigeria.

The posthumous award in Fawehinmi's honour was given in recognition of his various selfless/humanitarian acts in contribution to the development of law and justice in Nigeria.

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