Agbakoba, Keyamo, Adegboruwa, others extol late Justice Akanbi
June 4, 2018
Some eminent lawyers have described the death of a former President of the Court of Appeal, Rtd. Justice Mustapha Akanbi, as a huge loss to the Nigerian judicial community.
Akanbi, who was the pioneer Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), passed on in the early hours of Sunday in Ilorin during a brief illness.
He was aged 85.
The lawyers told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that Akanbi was a courageous, versatile and incorruptible anti-graft crusader, who will be sorely missed by his countrymen.
The Spokesperson for the President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2019 Campaign Organisation, Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN), told NAN that the late Akanbi had infectious charisma.
Keyamo said: “Justice Akanbi was extremely bold and incorruptible; these are core qualities required of a good judge.
“His tenure at the ICPC remains the best, and he will be sorely missed by the judicial community and Nigerians as a whole; my deepest condolences to the family.”
In his reaction, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), also said that the demise of Akanbi was a huge loss to the judicial community.
He said: “Justice Akanbi was a major plank in many of the topical issues touching on reforms and corruption, among others; there is certainly no doubt that the judicial community has lost one of its major actors.”
On her part, Mrs Mandy Asagba, National President, African Women Lawyers Association of Nigeria (AWLAN), described Akanbi as a judicial hero, who never compromised.
Asagba added that Akanbi was a judicial icon with wealth of knowledge and experience.
She also described the late jurist as a man of impeccable integrity for judicial activism.
She told NAN that Akanbi’s tenure as the President of the Court of Appeal remained one of the best, saying that he rekindled the hope of the common man in the judiciary.
“He impacted positively on many of us who have remained resolute on doing what is right; his virtues are worthy of emulation by both the Bar and Bench.
“We must all learn to serve humanity selflessly like our late icon did; we love him and we will surely miss him greatly.
“May his loving soul rest in peace,” she prayed.
The National Convener of the Fight Against Corruption in the Judiciary (FIACIJ), Mr Bayo Akinlade, said that Akanbi’s death was painful.
Akinlade told NAN that he recently considered Akanbi as a member of the board of trustees of FIACIJ.
“I worked closely with his lordship between 2002 and 2004 when he was the Chairman of the ICPC.
“He was a very simple man; may his soul find rest,” he said.
Rights campaigner, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, described Akanbi’s death as a huge loss to Nigeria and the legal profession.
He said that Akanbi nurtured the ICPC and brought it to an enviable position as one of the foremost anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria.
“Nigeria will certainly miss this legal icon; I pray that God will comfort his family and Nigeria at large,” he said
The Founder of the Makolo Foundation for Indigent Prisoners, Mr Anthony Makolo, said that Akanbi was an intelligent judge whose judgments were sound and well researched.
He said: “I recommend to all judicial officers to tap from his legacies and learn from his judgments.’’
NAN reports that the late Akanbi was born on Sept. 11, 1932 in Accra.
Until his death, he was a respected opinion molder, anti-corruption crusader and elder statesman.
He served as head of the ICPC from 2000 to 2005.