Femi Falana (SAN), a Nigerian lawyer and human rights activist celebrates his 62nd birthday today.
A native of Ilawe, Ekiti State, Nigeria, born on 20th May 1958
He attended St. Michael’s Primary School, Ilawe, between 1963 and 1968 and Sacred Heart Catholic Seminary between 1971 and 1975. He studied Law at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) between 1977 and 1981. He was called to the bar a year after.
He contested and lost the governorship election of Ekiti State in 2007 on the platform of the National Conscience Party, a party he served as National Chairman in 2011.
Femi Falana (SAN) worked with the Oyo State Public Complaints Commission between 1982 and 1983. He proceeded to the Firm of Alao Aka –Bashorun & CO where he worked between 1983 and 1991. In 1991 he set up Falana and Falana Chambers (Formerly Femi Falana) and became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2012.
Falana is renowned for providing free legal services to the poor and disadvantaged and had suffered long spells in detention under Nigeria’s past military dictators. His activism began during his days as a student leader in the university. He stood his ground against oppression from successive military governments. Barely a year after his call to bar; during his National Youth Service, he succeeded in securing the bail of 7 University of Ibadan students who were arrested and unlawfully remanded in prison custody for protesting for their rights.
The above incident led to his not being issued a discharge certificate by the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) after his one year mandatory national service. It was in July 2001, 18 years after, that Falana petitioned the Justice Oputa-led Human Rights Panel (set up by the then Obasanjo administration) over the withheld certificate that same was subsequently released to him on live television at the commission’s sitting.
Falana (SAN) is a husband to Funmi Falana, a women’s rights activist and father to Falz, a popular Nigerian rapper, singer, online comedian, actor. He is a member of the West African Bar Association; Nigerian Bar Association, Pan African Lawyers Union and International Bar Association.