Chief Gani Adetola-Kaseem, SAN, the Hijab Struggle Hero

Chief Gani Adetola-Kaseem SAN FCIArb (1949 – 2018) was the Principal Partner of Gani Adetola-Kaseem SAN LP. He graduated from the University of Lagos with an LLB and an LLM (Hons) and was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in 1980 after passing the BL examination that year. He won Sir Lionel Brett’s best prize in Criminal Procedure and another prize in commercial law in that examination.

Alhaji Gani Adetola-Kaseem began his career as a Notary Public in 1992 and ascended through the ranks to become a Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2002.

After voluntarily resigning as Under-Secretary of the Nigerian Federal Public Service in June 1985, he founded the legal practice of Gani Adetola-Kaseem & Co. The company was afterwards renamed Gani Adetola-Kaseem (SAN) LP. He was the Firm’s Principal Partner until the time of his death.

Chief Adetola-Kaseem SAN was a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb) and a Member of the Nigeria Institute of Management (MNIM) until his death. In addition, he was a member of the Nigeria Bar Association, the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, and the International Bar Association.

He served as a legal advisor to a number of health-care organizations. In 2011, the Nigerian Bar Association named him the first Chairman of the NBA’s Section on Legal Practice’s Medical and Health Committee. He was in charge until 2014.

Chief Adetola-Kaseem was a well-known lawyer who specialized in medical and health legislation, as well as the law governing the management of health institutions in general. He served as lead counsel and prosecutor before the Medical and Dental Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal for over 25 years, and he has successfully appealed the Tribunal’s decisions to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

Between 2005 and 2011, he was a member of several committees charged with repositioning the National Industrial Court, the result of which was the enactment of the National Industrial Court Act 2006, the National Industrial Court Rules 2007, and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Third Alteration) Act 2010, which made the NIC a superior Court of Record and significantly expanded its jurisdiction.

He played a key role in the formation of the Nigerian Bar Association’s Section on Legal Practice’s Labour and Employment Committee.

SAN, as he was known among members of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria, Lagos, was a consultant to a number of institutions and undertook crucial employment-related matters on their behalf.

Chief Gani Adetola-Kaseem, SAN, FCIArb, was the lead counsel in a lawsuit brought against the Lagos State government for prohibiting Muslim students from wearing the hijab at school. Though his team lost in the High Court in 2014, the Lagos High Court’s decision was overturned by the Court of Appeal in 2016, giving the court victory and restoring the right of female Muslim pupils in Lagos State to wear the hijab in school.

Alhaji Gani Adetola-Kaseem SAN, a devout Muslim and successful lawyer who ascended to the height of his profession as a legal practitioner, died on the 8th of January 2018 at the age of 69 in a private hospital (AB Specialist Hospital) Surulere, Lagos.

For his position as lead attorney in the hijab case, the MSSN, Lagos State Area Unit, designated him ‘Hero of the People (HOP)’ a few hours after his death.


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