Surely death is inevitable; all of us will one day die. The death of our mentor Alhaji Aliyu Umar SAN is shocking and devastating. I first met Aliyu Umar more than a decade ago after I finished my NYSC. At that time he was Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Kano State. Oga as we used to call him co-opted me part of the legal team that defended ANPP and Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau before the Gubernatorial election petition tribunal. Since that time I became very close to late Alhaji Aliyu Umar SAN. I can say that apart from Dr Nasiru Aliyu, my elder brother who was his head of Chambers, and Abdul Adamu Fagge (current Chairman of NBA Kano Branch) I am the closet person to him.
Oga always sought our opinion in any legal matters brought to him. He never imposed his views on us, he allowed us to express ourselves freely. Even though Alhaji Aliyu Umar SAN had become a lawyer many decades ago sometimes he allowed our legal opinion over his own.
During his stay as Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Alhaji Aliyu Umar SAN led the Ministry of Justice like a real General. He goes to Court in sensitive cases. He was all over from Lower Courts to the Apex Court. Alhaji Aliyu Umar SAN was never tired to defend the government of Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau in any legal issue. History will remember Alhaji Aliyu Umar SAN for fighting the rights of Trovan victims in Kano State.
It was his efforts that led to the payments of massive compensation to the victims. In addition to that, Kano State Government had benefited in the out of court settlement. The Kwanar Dawaki facility being used today as COVID-19 isolation centre is also part of the terms of agreement of Pfizer/Kano State Government settlement. It is on record that Alhaji Aliyu Umar SAN was among the persons that struggled for the implementation of Sharia in Kano State. He used his legal skills to ensure Hisbah and Shariah Commission have legal backings.
No doubt Alhaji Aliyu Umar SAN mastered criminal advocacy, he was an intelligent, courageous and fearless prosecutor. He prosecuted many high profile cases within and outside Kano State. Alhaji Aliyu Umar SAN was a fair prosecutor when he was in public service and after he left the employment of Kano State Ministry of Justice. For those casting aspersions on Alhaji Aliyu Umar SAN and late Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari. They are free to continue peddling their lies. Alhaji Aliyu Umar SAN never worked under Mallam Abba Kyari. It was Federal Government that employed Alh Aliyu Umar to prosecute the Code of Conduct Tribunal case. There is no law in this country which prohibits a lawyer from taking a brief of the Federal Government.
Outside legal profession Alhaji Aliyu Umar SAN was always conscious of what was happening in his environment. His neighbours at Daurawa Quarters, Tarauni Local Government Area, Kano State have been given good testimonies about his good character. Oga was a generous person to his friends, relations, staff in chambers and those in need. Alhaji Aliyu Umar SAN despite being a Senior Advocate of Nigeria had lived a modest life.
My becoming Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Jigawa State is a clear testimony that Alhaji Aliyu Umar SAN had mentored his juniors well. If not because Allah swt Has destined me to practice in his law firm I don’t think I will have been prepared to hold the prestigious office he once held eight years ago. The same goes to Abdul Fagge he rode on the back of Oga to become NBA Kano Chairman.
There is no doubt our big wall has fallen. I pray may Allah swt grant Alhaji Aliyu Umar SAN aljannatul firdaus.