Former Nigeria’s Attorney-General, Dr Olu Onagoruwa, 80, is dead. The human rights activist reportedly passed on in the early hours of Friday.
Onagoruwa was appointed the Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1993 and
later appointed as the African representative to the body that drafted Ethiopia’s constitution that same year.
The deceased was also the Group Legal Adviser/ Company Secretary of Daily Times Nigeria for several years.
Femi Falana, in a tribute in September 2014 titled ‘Dr. Olu Onagoruwa’s Belated Admission To Inner Bar’, wrote: “Dr. Olu Onagoruwa studied law at the University of London where he obtained his LL.B; LL.M and PhD degrees. Upon his return to the country he attended the Nigerian Law School and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1971.
”After his pupilage he set up his law firm in Lagos with bias for popular causes. As a liberal scholar he combined his legal practice with regular commentary on socio-legal affairs. He wrote several books and has to his credit over 250 published articles.
”At a period when human rights had been put in abeyance by martial law, Dr. Onagoruwa handled many cases of constitutional significance which questioned the basis of continued military rule. He had cause to challenge the arrest of “political extremists” like Ken Saro-wiwa, Minere Amakiri, Tai Solarin et al.
”When Chief Fawehinmi, Beko Ransome-Kuti and I were detained at the Kuje prison in 1992 under the obnoxious State Security (Detention of Persons) Decree No. 2 of 1984, Dr. Onagoruwa was on hand to defend us. On account of his leading role in the defence of public interest cases he was subjected to crude intimidation by the military junta.”