Monday, February 13, 2006

Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti Passes On

Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti, one of Nigeria's foremost political and social activist died during the weekend from complications of cancer of the lungs. He was 65. Beko was a younger brother to the late afrobeat musician Fela Kuti.

He was jailed, along with others, by late General Sani Abacha for a 'cooked-up" charge of treason in 1995.

Beko was raised in a family known for their passion for social activism. His parents Rev. Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, an educationalist and the patriarch of the Kuti family, and Mrs. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti were involved in the campaign for human rights in pre-independence Nigeria. His father formed the Nigerian teachers Union while his mother organized Nigerian women to fight for their right to vote and be voted for.

Dr Beko founded the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, a very vocal and prominent anti-government organization during General Ibrahim Babagida's regime. Being physician, he was a very active member of the Nigerian Medical Association. His last years were spent organizing a sovereign national conference to address some of the nagging constitutional issues in Nigeria.