Human right activists, lawyers, jurists, labour leaders, civil society organizations and host of others on Tuesday, paid glowing tributes to late activist and lawyer, Mr Bamidele Aturu at a special colloquium organized in honor ahead of his burial.
The colloquium themed: “Struggle for Social Change in Nigeria” was held at the Abibatu Mogaji Model Secondary School, Dopemu, Agege, Lagos, southwest Nigeria.
It would be recalled the late human right activist died aged 49 after a brief illness on 9 July.
Some of the dignitaries who were present at the occasion included Adebayo Onanuga, Kunle Ajibade, Biodun Aremu, Femi Aborishade, Mrs Ayo Obe, former president of Civil Liberty Organisation; Lanre Arogundade, Director, International Press Centre, IPC; Femi Falana, SAN, and the immediate past chairman of Ikeja Bar, Monday Ubani among others.
Speaking at the event, Biodun Aremu, representative of Organised Labour and Secretary, Joint Action Force (JAF), said the late human rights activist defended various affiliates of Labour in court for free at several occasions.
He urged his colleagues to rise up for fairness and justice the way Aturu rose up for a better Nigeria, adding that, the late lawyer never looked back and never exercised fear.
He noted that the best way they can honour Aturu whom he said was on several occasion at the forefront to “defend the defenseless” is to continue the struggle where he has left it. He described him as a rare gem, who used all what God gave him to defend the masses.
“He was part of the brains who drafted the labour law we are having today.” Aremu said.
A front line human rights activist and Senior Lecturer at The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Mr Femi Aborishade, said the human rights community has lost a big opportunity with the passing of Bamidele Aturu, saying, he was a leading voice to the cause of social justice.
Aborishade noted that the human rights community needs to come together again and mobilise in order to sustain and actualise Aturu’s struggle for a better Nigeria.
Another human rights activist, Mr Wale Ogunade described Aturu’s death as a big loss to the Nigerian human rights community and the development of the law profession.
He said Aturu always stood on the path of truth and that was why he was never tainted in anyway as an activist. “He was one of the few good lawyers who is always ready to test the veracity of controversial laws,” he intoned.
Executive Director of Community Life Action Project, a civil rights group, Mrs Ngozi Iwerre, said majority of Nigerians were disillusioned with the situation of the country, hence the pain for the exit of Aturu at this time.
“The high rate of unemployment, poverty and corruption in the country was some of the things Aturu fought against. We must use the social media to create a mass movement in the struggle for change in Nigeria. Aturu is gone, he had left the duty for us,” she averred.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja branch, Mr Yinka Farounbi, also showered encomium on the departed lawyer.
He said Aturu will always come around to participate in the activities of the Bar, especially all that will enhance the growth and the development of the law.