First female SAN, Folake Solanke, demands Sowore, Bakare’s release

The First Female Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Folake Solanke has demanded the release of the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare, as well as respect for the country’s rule of law.

Solanke noted that the court order dispensed within the jurisdiction of Justice Ojukwu to release the duo should be strictly adhered to.

The Lawyer stated that there will be no progress in the country if the rule of law is not respected because the right of the citizens will not be protected.

Folake, who made this known at the Annual Conference and Public Presentation of the book- Trailblazer: A Selection of Essays and Papers in Celebration of Chief Folake Solanke, held yesterday in Lagos, recalled there was strict adherence to the rule of law and court orders in the 50s as against the current norm.

“As a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, my profession compels me to really make sure that the issue of liberty is not compromised by anybody.

“Next to the right of life is the right to liberty. So, we must continue to plead to the relevant authorities to release Sowore, Bakare and all others who are unlawfully detained.

“This is because there has been a court order by the Justice Ojukwu that they should be released.

“50 years ago when I became a lawyer, obedience for court order was sanctified. Nobody dared to disobey court orders.

“So, I am anxious as a lawyer that we must continue to respect the rule of law because no country can progress without the rule of law and the liberty of the citizens must be the precious right to protect,” Solanke said.

Meanwhile, The Advocate encouraged the young female lawyers to continue in practice for recognition and elevation, advising them to stick to their gun in whatever area they so choose.

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“I encourage my learned friend of the female gender to make sure they continue in practice so that they can be recognized and elevated from the position of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

“I really do emphasize that those people who love litigation should stick to it so that they can gain popularity and people will know you for advocacy so that you can be elevated,” the Advocate said.

She expressed excitement over the honour conferred on her, describing it as momentous.

“I find no words to define my total euphoria because what has happened is such monumental dimension. You know the whole global issues celebrate me and simultaneously celebrated the first female prime minister of Canada. It is something that is really momentous.

“I am very grateful to God for what we have been able to achieve today,” she said.

Speaking also, The Chairperson of the occasion, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, urged women to associate with successful women in order to be successful.

She noted that the celebrant has encouraged her in all she has been dabbling into.

“Anyone woman who wants to succeed must associate with women who are achievers.

“I know quite a number of people will be surprised why I am here today to honour Mummy Solanke.

“But the fact is she is one of those people who encouraged me.

“Even the scripture says that iron sharpeneth iron. So, you just have to identify a woman who you know she is a good lady and just try to emulate what they do” Tinubu said.

In a brief interview with the Tribune Online, the Chairman, African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN) Plc, Mrs Tokunbo Dosunmu admonished young female lawyers to take a cue from Mrs Folake Solanke in order to stand out in the profession.

Dosunmu, who said she had known the celebrant for years, described the first female advocate as precious, beautiful and ageless with a lot of accomplishments.

Tokunbo noted that Mrs Solanke deserves the honour bestowed on her.

“The young female lawyers should be diligent, hardworking and constantly develop themselves in their profession in order to be worthy of recognition when it comes their way.

“She is a very precious, beautiful and ageless lady and she has a lot of accomplishments under her belt.

“So, she deserves the honour that is being done to her today.

“I have known her since childhood. She has been a big sister. She was like a daughter to papa and mama.

“She was always around. I have known her all my life,” Tokunbo said.

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