Justice Chukwudifu Oputa Passes

Justice Sylvester Chukwudifu Akunne Oputa (Nwa Uzoukwu) has died in Abuja at 96 according to sources from his immediate family. Justice Oputa was appointed to investigate abuses during 15 years of military rule, which ended when President Obasanjo took office as elected president on 29 May 1999. The Oputa panel will be required to examine human rights abuses when President Obasanjo was in power previously as a military ruler from 1976 to 1979. The decision follows demands for a thorough investigation of rights abuses in Nigeria since independence in 1960. Funeral announcements will soon be released by the family.

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As I glance through the breath-taking energy poured out carefully on papers and walls, I wallow in deep Nostalgia…remembering the bravest Man I had ever known in the judiciary and his radical move to end corruption and punish d corrupt leaders through his celebrated but short-lived panel; “OPUTA PANEL.”.

Those old good days; if your name is mentioned at the oputa panel, your feet trembles. It was a historic step which went deep to unearth the state secret file and brought powerful military Generals, Head of States and Presidents to sweat profusely like Taribo West on the football pitch under the baptism of fire of heated cross examination in the den of lawyers making their pockets heavy!

Rest in Peace. The Man who made me appreciate history and literature more when he said in his book, “Modern Advocacy”, that “Mere Knowledge of the law makes you a mere LEGAL MECHANIC but when the knowledge of history and literature is added to it you can venture to be called an ADVOCATE.”

You left a legacy in Nigeria and the world at large.

By Daniel Chimdi Oti

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