Femi Falana

Femi Falana is a Nigerian lawyer and human rights activist. He was the former president of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers and he is also a former chairman of the West African Bar Association, WABA.

Born May 20, 1958 at Ilawe in Ekiti State, Nigeria. He had his primary schooling at St. Michael’s Primary School, Ilawe, between 1963 and 1968; his Secondary education was at Sacred Heart Catholic Seminary between 1971 and 1975.

Falana enrolled at the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University to study law in 1977 and he completed his studies there in 1981. He proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, Lagos in 1981 and was called to the bar in 1982. In 1983 after his youth service, he joined the Chambers of Alao –Aka Bashorun, a renowned legal activist. In 1991, Falana started his own chambers, Femi Falana, which later became Falana and Falana Chambers.

Femi Falana became a human rights activist as early as 1983 when he took bail of some university students who had been unlawfully remanded in prison custody. Falana has claimed that this incident had led to him not being issued a discharge certificate by the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) after his one year mandatory national service.

In 2001, Falana petitioned the Justice Oputa led human rights panel over his withheld certificate, the NYSC denied that the certificate had been unintentionally withheld and instead averred that it was Falana who had not requested for it. The certificate was subsequently released to him on live television at the commission’s sitting.

Falana is renowned for providing free legal services to the poor and disadvantages; he has been detained numerous times by the security services for his activism. He has won numerous awards locally and internationally for his activism.

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