The Fred Agbaje’s Chambers on Sunday released a statement to officially announce the death of its principal partner, Mr. Fred Agbaje.
The brief statement jointly signed by Prince Kennedy Osunwa and Adeniyi Pokanu stated that Agbaje died at about 8am on Saturday, November 26, 2016 at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos, as opposed to earlier media reports that the legal icon died in a London hospital.
The chamber described its late boss as “a resolute defender of the oppressed, a law lord, legal authority of our time, a legal colossus and a rare gem,” whose death had left a yearning gap to be filled by in the nation’s jurisprudence.
The statement said that a condolence registered had been opened at the Fred Agbaje’s Chambers at No. 51, Popoola Street, Pedro, Shomolu, Lagos, adding that the Agbaje’s family would soon announce the deceased’s burial arrangement.
Meanwhile, a Lagos-based Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has called for the conferment of the post-humous rank of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria on Agbaje.
Adegboruwa, who recalled working with the late Agbaje on a number of cases, described the deceased as an upright man who valued his integrity and was committed to excellence, adding that he spent a good part of his life fighting for the oppressed.
Adegboruwa said, “We’ve lost a gem in the person of Mr. Fred Agbaje; he was a very upright man, I had cause to work with him on many cases, even up to the Supreme Court. He was very courageous and he was unbending in his commitment to integrity and excellence.
“Many times his name has been shortlisted to be elevated into the inner Bar but he did not make the final list; he told me he would not do anything beyond the merit.
“He was an activist and he spent a better part of his life fighting for the downtrodden and speaking against injustice, anarchy and impunity. So, the Nigerian judiciary and the Bar have lost an icon whose place can never be filled. I believe that the Nigerian Bar Association should admit him into the hall of fame and give him his due post-humously. I believe that Mr. Agbaje should be conferred with the rank of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria post-humously.
“He was a very detribalised Nigerian and he was very partial in his analysis of the state of Nigeria. The human rights community, the civil society group and labour, in particular, have lost a great comrade. But we assure him and assure the family of (late) Bamidele Aturu and all the others that have gone, we will continue to carry the battle on their behalf.”
Also, a Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Wahab Shittu, said Agbaje one of the lawyers who saw law practice as an instrument for social engineering, adding that his put his conscience ahead of material gains.
Shittu said, “In Nigeria today, he represented one of the very few lawyers who hold allegiance to their conscience rather than their pockets. He was very genuinely committed to advocacy for the betterment of the Nigerian society. Unknown to many, Fred Agbaje chose to live in Nigeria even when his family is living abroad because he wanted a better Nigeria and it was this better Nigeria that he fought for up till he breathed his last.
“He was in the same category with the likes of late Gani Fawehinmi and late Bamidele Aturu and other genuine democrats who are still alive, who believe that law should be applied as an instrument of social engineering and that a good lawyer is the one that uses his talent and resources for the common good of the society.”