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7 Powerful Nigerian Legal Practitioners That Died In 2016

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1. Justice Evo Chukwu: Justice Evoh Chukwu of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court died n June 9. Mr. Chukwu died after a brief illness. Until his death, Mr. Chukwu presided over the Senate forgery suit that sought to nullify the leadership of the 8th Senate. The deceased also handled the trial of former Governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, over allegations of abuse of office and economic crimes by leveled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

2. Former Supreme Court Justice Niki Tobi: Retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Niki Tobi passed on on June 16 at the National Hospital, Abuja. He was aged 75. Justice Tobi, who died almost a month to his 76th birthday, was born July 14, 1940, in Esanma in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State. He retired on July 14, 2010 as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Tobi was an academic before his career on the bench. As an academic, he was variously the Dean, of Faculty of Law, University of Maiduguri, Borno State and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic Services) of the same institution.

3. Former Minister for Labour, James Ocholi: Nigeria’s Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, James Ocholi, died at the age of 55. He died in a road accident along the Kaduna-Abuja highway on Sunday afternoon, March 6. Mr. Ocholi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria from Kogi state, and his son died on the spot of the accident. His wife, who slipped into coma after the accident, died hours later.

4. Mr. Deji Sasegbon: One of Nigeria’s legal luminaries and a renowned constitutional lawyer, Deji Sasegbon (SAN), died on December 10 at the age of 63. Sasegbon, died at a Lagos hospital after illness. The legal icon is well known for his landmark works like the Nigerian Supreme Court Cases and the legal desk book.

5. Human Rights Lawyer, Mr Fred Agbaje: Human rights lawyer and activist, Fred Agbaje died in London on Friday, November 26. He was a thoroughbred lawyer and a man of principle.

“He was nominated for SAN (Senior Advocate of Nigeria) three times but failed to make the final list, but did not lobby anybody for that title,” according to his friend, Mr. Adegboruwa. Before his death, Mr. Agbaje served as the in-house lawyer for Ben Bruce’s Silverbird Group, among other positions he held.

6. Sir Olaniwun Ajayi: The late Afenifere Cheiftain died on November 3 at the age of 91. He was reported to have complained of pain in the right side of his chest before his demise.

7. Mr. Ken Atsuete: Port Harcourt-based lawyer, Mr. Ken Atsuete, was assassinated on August 28 at his home by unknown gunmen. Reports say that the gunmen stormed Atsuete’s residence, cornered him and shot him several times.

Atsuete was one of the counsels for the former chairman of the Asari-Toru Local Government Area, Ojukaye Flag Amachree, before he was assassinated. He was one of the speakers at the conference of the Nigerian Bar Association, held in Port Harcourt.

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