Frontline Lawyer, Akinrele, Dies at 88

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Late Frank Akinrele

Alike Ejiofor

A frontline lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Frank Akinrele, is dead. He died on Tuesday at 88.

Born on March 8, 1930 in Ondo town, Ondo State, the late senior lawyer was married with five children.

He attended King’s College, Lagos and was a barrister and Solicitor of Supreme Court of Federal Republic of Nigeria for over 60 years.

The late senior lawyer obtained LL.B from the University of Hull in 1953, and LL.M from the same university in 1954.

He was the first graduate in the LL.M programme at the University of Hull and was subsequently admitted to the Middle Temple bar in England.

He was admitted into the Nigerian Bar in 1955; Middle Temple in 1955, and became a SAN in 1980.

Akinrele commenced his legal career at the law firm of Thomas, Williams & Kayode, a partnership law firm established by three illustrious lawyers – Chief Bode Thomas, Chief F.R.A. Williams and Chief Fani Kayode.

Akinrele worked in the said law firm prior to establishing the law firm of F.O. Akinrele & Co in 1962.

The then Honourable Justice Adewale Thompson had described Akinrele in his book titled ‘Reminisces at the Bar” as “the most brilliant junior of our time.”

He belonged to several professional associations, and was honoured with several awards, including Andrew Marvell Prize for the best graduating law student, University of Hull.

Akinrele was a former Council Member of Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies; former member of Nigerian Body of Benchers; former member of Legal Privileges Committee; former member of the Medical Disciplinary Tribunal; and former President and Patron of Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce.

Akinrele was also honoured with distinguished Service Award by the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce for outstanding leadership performance in promoting friendship and economic development between Nigeria and U.S.A.

He was a Trustee, Lagos Motor Boat Club; and former President of Rotary Club International.

Akinrele produced over 20 successful lawyers in Nigeria including but not limited to, Ademola Akinrele (SAN), Adedolapo Akinrele (SAN), Etigwe Uwa (SAN), among many others.

Akinrele developed a reputation as the leading criminal law barrister of his generation and retired from active legal practice in 1986 at 56, engaging his mind, thereafter, in the study of languages, music and rendering of Rotarian services.