July 11, 2014 – The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) says it is deeply shocked by the unceremonious demise of one of Nigeria’s foremost human right lawyers, Barrister Bamidele Aturu who died last Wednesday, 9th of July, 2014 at a Lagos hospital after battling with an undisclosed illness. He was 49.
In a statement signed by President and Secretary of the union, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama and Comrade Musa Lawal respectively, TUC said Aturu lived for the masses and died as a sad man as a result of the situation of things in Nigeria.
The TUC called on the politicians to churn politics of bitterness and take care of the welfare of the masses. “The Congress submits that the sure way the souls of the likes of Aturu can best enjoy their well-deserved peace and rest is for the leadership of the country to rise up to it responsibilities and shun politics of attrition and bitterness, create jobs and provide social security, pay workers and pensioners as at when due, conduct free and fair elections, provide security of lives and property in all parts of the country, amongst others”, the union said, and prayed for the aspirations of Aturu to come to reality soon.
“To say the labour movement, civil society and the masses will miss the Ondo State born and Obafemi Awolowo University trained lawyer is to say the least. It was reported that our comrade had health issues and was rushed to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH). It is most probable they could not attend to him because of the industrial action embarked upon by doctors.
“The Congress feels particularly pained that Aturu died at a time when the country is still grappling with a lot of challenges. We believe it would not be an overstatement to say that the deceased died a not-too-happy man, thanks to the myriad of challenges confronting the country. We recall how that on a number of times and at different fora the activist had decried the pain of the impoverished masses arising from the greed of our present-day politicians who assume office just to enrich themselves and their cronies alone.
“The late legal luminary shot into national prominence in 1988 during his passing-out parade from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) when he refused to shake hands with the then military governor of Niger State, Col. Lawan Gwadabe. His reason was that the military had caused great harm to the democratic aspiration of Nigerians.
“Until his death he belonged to our constituency – the people’s constituency. Even though he had the opportunity of making billions of Naira he chose to pitch his tent with the poor masses of the country. He was involved in numerous labour and civil society activities. Indeed, on several occasions, we had cause to march side-by-side with him and other patriots in the streets of Lagos while protesting the abuses, impunity and unwholesome actions of successive governments”, TUC said in the statement.