The Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee Thursday approved the appointment of 25 legal practitioners for the conferment of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Those who made the list included fiery lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana; Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)'s prosecutor, Rotimi Jacobs; and law teacher, Prof. Akinseye-George.
Others were Prof. Dakas James Dakar, Mrs Joy Okungbowa Adesina, Chief (Mrs) Connie-Jean Aremu, Mahmud Abubakar Magaji, Ogwu James Onoja, Garuba Usman Tetengi, Henry Oghogho Ogbodu, Selekeowei Larry, Abenny Mohammed and Charles Nwanne Obishai.
Luke Chukwudi Illogu, Francis Chuks Agbu, Paul Ananaba, Akinlaja Dayo Moses, Ahmed Raji, Adekunle Theophilus Oyesanya, Rotimi Oluseyi Oguneso, Oluseyi Samuel Opasanya were also listed among those to be appointed SANs.
Others are Aduroja Claudius Olumuyiwa, Aliyu Umar Illo Katune Samuel and Ndukwe Nnnawuchi.
Announcing the names of successful candidates Thursday, the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Mr. Sunday Olorundahunsi, said that the senior advocates would be inaugurated at date to be announced.
Olorundahunsi, who is also the Secretary, Legal Practitioner Privileges Committee, said that the process for their selection was rancour-free.
One of the most vocal lawyers in the country, Falana, was born on May 20, 1958 at Ilawe, Ekiti State. He attended St. Michael's Primary School, Ilawe, between 1963 and 1968, while his secondary education was at Sacred Heart Catholic Seminary between 1971 and 1975.
He then enrolled at the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, to study law in 1977 and completed his studies there in 1981. He proceeded to the Nigeria Law School, Lagos in 1981 and was called to the bar in 1982.
In 1983, after his youth service, he joined the Chambers of Alao Aka-Bashorun, a renowned legal activist, where his zeal for activism was nurtured.
He caught the public's attention when he procured bail for some university students who had been unlawfully remanded in prison custody.
Falana had claimed that this incident had resulted in the withholding of his discharge certificate by the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) after his one year mandatory national service.
In July 2001, he petitioned the Justice Charles Oputa-led human rights panel over his withheld certificate, but the NYSC denied that the certificate had been intentionally withheld and instead averred that it was Falana who had not asked for it.
The certificate was subsequently released to him on live television at the commission's sitting.
In 1991, Falana started his chambers, Femi Falana, which later metamorphosed into Falana and Falana Chambers.
A vociferous and dedicated voice in the fight for human rights and justice for the common man, Falana is also closely linked to many civil society organisations. These include the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
He has fought several legal battles defending the rights of citizens, amongst which was the controversial dismissal of the University of Ilorin lecturers over their legitimate demands for justice.
He also ably represented the Ogoni of the Niger Delta at the United Nations Human Rights Violation Commission.
A testament of his impressive performance at the commission was the directive to the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to undertake a clean-up operation of the oil spill in Ogoniland.
It is also noteworthy that the West African Bar Association (WABA) under the leadership of Falana amended the protocol, establishing the Court of Justice for ECOWAS states whereby the court now allows individuals, as opposed to countries in the region alone, to have access to justice when their human rights are violated.