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Labour body mourns legal champion Aturu

14 July 2014, 12:34Henry Ifeanyi

Lagos - The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has expressed shock at the death of its official lawyer and human rights activist, Bamidele Aturu.

The late activist died last week at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital where he was rushed to after he slumped in his Agege home.

NLC President, Abdulwahed Omar, said that Aturu, until his death, was not only NLC official lawyer, but was a very resourceful ally of the entire labour movement as "a consistent comrade" who committed his entire adult life to the struggle for a better society.

Omar said the late Aturu worked with the NLC on several projects including representing NLC at the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) as well as researches on trade union and workers rights aside consistently standing as labour counsel at various civil and industrial courts in different parts of Nigeria at very considerate costs, most times spending his money to fund his transportation.

"Indeed, Bamidele Aturu did not only represent the congress and its affiliates, he also represented individual workers whose rights were violated by their employers especially at workplaces where the rights of workers to belong to trade unions were violated," he said

Omar noted that Aturu's sudden and premature death was a massive blow on the entire trade union movement as one of the most authoritative legal practitioners on labour laws, which he chose to practice exclusively not minding the fact that other areas of his profession were more financially lucrative.

"He midwifed the formation of the National Association of Labour Lawyers to encourage other lawyers, especially young lawyers to take interest in labour law and the selfless defence of workers rights."

The labour leader said Aturu was among the formidable legal minds who did not only support the struggle against removal of oil subsidy in court, but joined the labour movement in several street protests.

In pursuit of this, a court ruled  in the suit he filed on October 2009 that deregulation was illegal, unconstitutional, and of no effect.

"He was in the front line of the struggle against military dictatorship which led to the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria."

Aturu is also remembered for his rejection of an award as the best member of the National Youth Service Corps  in Niger State which was to be presented to him by the military Governor, Colonel  Gwadabe.

"Aturu defiantly rejected the award and said he would not  shake the hands of a public office usurper or receive an award from a government that was anti people," Omar recalled.

He condoled with his family, especially his young wife and young children and pray to God to give them the fortitude to bear the loss of their loving father and  breadwinner.

- CAJ News

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