Family of late Human Rights Activist Gani Fawehinmi has turned down a Centenary Award which was to be bestowed on the constitutional lawyer.
This was contained in a letter addressed to the Secretary to the Federal Government of Nigeria by Fawehinmi’s eldest son, Mr. Mohammed Fawehinmi.
“For reasons stated hereunder, our family has decided it would be inexpedient to accept the award,” the family said:
“In the list of the awardees published by the federal government, was the name of former military dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida, who as military president, severally detained and tortured our late father.
“In the course of one of such illegal and inhuman detentions, our late father’s cell was sprayed with toxic substances while in Gashua prison in 1987. The cumulative effect of that dastardly action led to our father, a non- smoker, contracting lung cancer which eventually led to his death on September 5, 2009.
“We therefore, find it morally incongruous and psychologically debilitating for our family to stand on the same podium with General Babangida to receive awards,” it added.
The family gave other reasons why it would not accept the award: “Our late father was empathetic to the sufferings of our people, particularly students. In the last 72 hours, 43 innocent students were mowed down by the blood- thirsty Boko Haram terrorists in Yobe state, while 20 other girls were similarly abducted by these same band of terrorists.
“These girls are still in captivity while their fate is unknown. If our late father were to be alive, would he be wining and dining with all the glitterati at a Centenary celebration under these circumstances? Certainly no.”
It also mentioned the alleged missing oil money and the ‘ensuing’ suspension of Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi, among others, as the reason why it rejected the award.