Adeola Oyinlade has dedicated his 2021 American Bar Association (ABA) International Human Rights award to the human rights community in Nigeria.
The ABA honoured the lawyer and human rights advocate for his exceptional contribution to the advancement of human rights in Africa.
Oyinlade, Development Diaries understands, is the first Nigerian and second African to win the prestigious award, which is one of the ABA’s top human rights honours.
The award presentation, which was done virtually, took place during the ABA’s first ever Hybrid Annual Meeting on 05 August, 2021.
The lawyer, who thanked everyone involved in the nomination and selection process, said that courage was the key ingredient for his exploits in expanding the frontiers of human rights.
‘It is by courage that speaking truth to power and standing for the oppressed can keep hope alive’, he said in his acceptance speech.
‘Courage, that superpower that we all have but only few decide to use. It is only courage that can make one believe in a vision when it appears that one is alone.
‘It can only take courage to fight injustice even in the face of danger. Only the courageous act when others look away.
‘Mine is a journey of standing for human rights, offering pro bono legal services to the people in need, pioneering new ideas and developing new methods for human rights empowerment to help prevent destabilisation of societies and for non-violent interrelation in Nigeria and the continent of Africa’.
He also said, ‘The world is looking up to us lawyers in using our legal expertise as tools of problem-solving. The world, more than before, needs our collective efforts to sustain peace and ensure inclusive sustainable development and respect for human rights for all’.
The graduate of the University of Lagos, Nigeria, began hosting a human rights empowerment radio programme that educates Nigerians on the scope of their constitutional rights in 2008.
The radio programme simplifies listeners’ understanding of the law and assists to seek justice for human rights abuses.
In 2016, he launched the first-ever human rights empowerment app known as ‘Know Your Rights Nigeria’.
The innovative app simplifies human rights and constitutional safeguards in several languages, including English, Pidgin and other major regional languages.
Users also have the option to chat with Oyinlade and a team of 50 lawyers for free legal support on human rights issues and to report human rights abuses.
The President of ABA, Patricia Lee Refo, who also spoke virtually, thanked Oyinlade for his inspiring and innovative work in the area of human rights in Africa.
‘The American Bar Association is proud to salute Adeola Austin Oyinlade for his tireless work to empower Nigerians by providing simplified understanding of law and human rights’, Refo said.
‘Through innovative means he has used his voice and legal expertise to be a fervent advocate for the protection of human rights in Nigeria and across Africa’.
In 2018, Oyinlade was presented with the Human Rights Lawyer of the Year award by the International Bar Association (IBA).
The Nigerian lawyer is the founder of Constitutional Rights Awareness and Liberty Initiative, an organisation that works toward expanding the frontiers of human rights and democracy in Nigeria by educating people about their rights and responsibilities and by providing legal assistance.
Source: Adeola Austin Oyinlade