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Beko Ransome-Kuti dies at 65

Posted by By DARE ODUFOWOKAN on 2006/02/12 | Views: 1451 |

Beko Ransome-Kuti dies at 65

Foremost human rights crusader, Dr Beko Ransome Kuti, is dead. He died Friday at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) after a protracted ailment suspected to be related to lung cancer. He was aged 65 years.

Foremost human rights crusader, Dr Beko Ransome Kuti, is dead. He died Friday at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) after a protracted ailment suspected to be related to lung cancer. He was aged 65 years.

Until Friday, the medical doctor was the only surviving sibling of the late Afro-beat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
Sunday Sun learnt that the illness had necessitated his being flown abroad for treatment in January.

News of his passing hit the human rights community like thunder bolt. Announcing his death in a terse release signed by Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, the family of the late activist said: “The Ransome-Kuti family announces the death of Dr. Bekololari Ransome-Kuti, who passed away on Friday, 10th February 2006 at approximately 11.20pm at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos at the age of 65 years. Burial arrangements will be announced later.”

Before he was rushed abroad in January, Beko’s condition had become so critical that close associates recall that he would sometimes hold a side of his stomach while speaking.
He walked with a limp as well, a fall-out of the physical abuse he had suffered in 1977 in the hands of “Unknown Soldiers” who descended on Fela’s “Kalakuta Republic” subjecting inmates to merciless beating.

In his lifetime, Beko was an icon of many struggles of the Nigerian masses. A fiery civil rights activist who was guest to many Nigerian prisons, Beko was also sentenced to life imprisonment during the dictatorship of late General Sanni Abacha just as he was in and out of detention during the Babangida regime.

BRK, as he is fondly called, once served as the Secretary General of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA). He was also the Chairman of Campaign for Democracy (CD) between 1992 and 2000. He was the first President of Committee for the Defence of Human Right (CDHR).

Until his death, BRK was Deputy Convener of the Citizens Forum led by Prof. Wole Soyinka. He was also the Vice Chairman of the Pro-National Conference Organisations (PRONACO); Acting Chairman, Labour Civil Society Coalition (LASCO) and the Chairman, Joint Action Forum (JAF).

As one observer of Nigeria’s human rights community put it last night, Beko will be missed for his “resilience, doggedness and commitment to the liberation of the Nigerian masses.”

Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti was born into an extraordinarily gifted family on 2 August 1940 in Abeokuta, Ogun State. He first attended Mrs. Kuti’s Class, Abeokuta from 1945 to 1950, Abeokuta Grammar School (1951-56), Coventry Technical College, England (1957-58) and University of Manchester (1958-63). He qualified as a medical doctor with M.B.C; Ch.B (1963) Fellow of the Medical College of Nigeria in General Medical Practice, (F.M.C.G.M.P) (1984) and Fellow West African College of Physicians (FWACP) (1986).

From 1964 to 1977, Dr. Beko worked in several Government hospitals before establishing his own private practice. He was President of Nigerian Students in Manchester, Chairman, Association of Resident Doctors, Member, Lagos state interim hospital Management Board, and Chairman Lagos Chapter of Nigerian Medical Association.

He held several other national posts in the Nigerian Medical Association and was member and later chairman of Lagos University Teaching Hospital board. As a civil society activist, Beko belongs to several Non-Governmental Organisations. He is chairman of Campaign for Democracy; President, Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, and Executive Director, Centre for Constitutional Governance. He has written and delivered over 35 papers in Nigeria and abroad on various issues on Human Rights. He was married with four children.

Related Article:
 Olufumilayo Ransome Kuti
A Tale of Two Brothers


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Comments (2)

Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown