By Glory Abuh-Adejoh
The Federal Government on Tuesday renamed the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria (LACON), Headquarters in Abuja after late Chief Chimezie Ikeazor (SAN).
Ikeazor was the founder and President of the Nigeria Legal Aid Association, an association that propelled former President Olusegun Obasanjo into enacting the 1976 Decree which gave birth to LACON.
Formed in 1974, LACON had late Prince David Akenzua, late Chief Solomon Lar, late Chief Debo Akande (SAN) and Chief Felix Offia as its Vice-President, Secretary-General, Director of Operations and National Counsellor, respectively.
The Director-General of the council, Mr Aliyu Abubakar, in his welcome remarks said the renaming was in recognition of the immense contribution of Ikeazor to the establishment of the council.
” We are gathered here today in order to honour a man who initiated this laudable institution that is designed to give hope to the hopeless, voice to the voiceless .
“Succour to the downtrodden in their quest for equality especially within the ambience of the Criminal Justice Administration,” the DG said.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), while unveiling the edifice said the decision to rename it was as a result of the pivotal roles ikeazor played in the establishment of the council.
Malami in addition said for Ikeazor, the dream started for him as a wonderful idea, pet baby and finally into an establishment of a legal entity.
He further said that it was Ikeazor’s passion and selfless sacrifice to provide legal service to the poor, that made him bore the financial burden that culminated into the enactment of the council.
The minister pledged that his ministry would continue to contribute to the development of the council.
Mr Nonso Ikeazor, one of the late legal luminary’s children said the free legal aid campaign and association was not without considerable cost to his father.
” His legal practice did suffer from the distraction of the Legal Aid Campaign. He was the chief financier of the campaign and provided his office as the headquarters.
” On behalf of Ikeazor family, I wish to thank President Muhammadu Buhari, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and the Director-General of the Legal Aid Council for the honour rightly bestowed on our father in renaming the building after him,” he said
In his vote of thanks, the only surviving member of the association, Felix Offia, who received his award himself, thanked the Federal Government for the honour bestowed on his late boss, whom he said he also worked with for years.
Ikeazor who was born on Jan.21,1930, apart from being a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), was the holder of traditional title of Oboli in Obosi, Anambra.
He was in active legal practice for over 50 years and sadly passed on in Oct. 2012 at 82.
Part of the highlights of the event was the posthumous award presentation to the four members of the Nigeria Legal Aid Association
The awards were received received on their behalf by family members and associates.
Some of the dignitaries at the event were: Minister of Special Duties, Sen. George Akume, Minister of State, Power,.Chief Goddy Jedy-Agba and his wife, the Solicitor-General, Ministry of Justice, Mrs Beatrice Jedy-Agba.
Others were: Minister of Industry, Trade and investment, Adeniyi Adebayo and Minister of State, Niger Delta Affairs, Sharon Ikeazor, who is a daughter of the late Ikeazor.(NAN) ( www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Julius Toba-Jegede