Meet 20 Nigerian lawyers who made the National Honours list


Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, CFR

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives of Nigeria, Yakubu Dogara was born on 26 December 1967. Called to the bar in 1993, he went into private legal practice until 2005 when he was appointed Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Transport. He was in this position until 2006, when he contested to represent the Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa-Balewa constituency at the Federal House of Representatives.

2. Chief Oluwole Olanipekun, SAN, OFR, CFR

The current Chairman of the Nigerian Body of Benchers, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, was born on 18 November 1951. An indigene of Ekiti State, he was called to the bar in July 1976 and attained the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in July 1991, the same year he was appointed as Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Ondo State. In 2002, he was elected President of the Nigerian Bar Association. In 2003 he was appointed Vice President of the Pan African Lawyers Union. In January 2007, he became a Life bencher. Olanipekun was Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council of the University of Ibadan between 2004 and 2006. He is the Principal Partner of Wole Olanipekun and Co, a leading law firm in Nigeria with headquarters in Lagos State, Nigeria, a branch in Abuja, and a presence in all the states in Nigeria.

3. Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akerodolu, SAN, CON

The incumbent governor of Ondo State Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu SAN was born on 21 July 1956. Aketi as he is fondly called was admitted into the Nigerian bar in 1978. He was appointed Attorney General of Ondo State from 1997 to 1999 and in 1998, he became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. Akeredolu was Chairman of the Legal Aid Council, from 2005–2006 and became president of the Nigerian Bar Association in 2008. Akerodolu who doubles as the chairman of Southwest Governors Forum was also a Managing Partner at the law firm of Olujinmi & Akeredolu, which he co-founded with Chief Akin Olujinmi, a former Attorney General and Minister for Justice of Nigeria.

4. Raji Fashola, SAN, CON

Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, two times governor of Lagos State (29 May 2007 to 29 May 2015) was born on 28 June 1963. Presently serving as the Federal Minister of Works and Housing of Nigeria, he is the second law graduate from the University of Benin and the first member of the Nigerian Law School graduating class of 1988 to be preferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

5. Abubakar Malami, SAN, CON

The Minister for Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN was born in Birnin Kebbi, the capital of Kebbi State on 17 April 1967. A graduate of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, he was called to the bar in 1992 and served in various capacities including being a state counsel and magistrate in Kebbi State, Nigeria. Malami was elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2008.

6. OCJ Okocha, SAN, MFR, OFR

Chief Onueze Chukwujinka Joe Okocha, was born on 29 June 1953. He was a former Body of Benchers, Chair, former Chairman of the Council of Legal Education, former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, and a former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice of Rivers State, he obtained his LLB in 1977 from the University of Ife, Ile-Ife (now the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife), and the University College London (UCL) of the University of London, where he obtained his LLM in 1980. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1978, became a Notary Public of Nigeria in 1989, and was conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in 1995.

7. Prof Itse Sagay, SAN, OFR

Distinguished scholar, teacher, and author of many books including: “A Legacy for posterity: The Work of the Supreme Court, 1980-88” and “The Nigerian Law of Contract”, over one hundred and fifty articles as well as conference papers and reviews, Prof. Itsejuwa Esanjumi Sagay an indigene of Delta state was born 20 December 1940 in Ibadan, Oyo State. Called to the Bar in 1966, he is the founding Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Benin. In 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed him as Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption.

8. Chief Emeka Ngige, SAN, OFR

The chairman of the Council of Legal Education, Chief Emeka Ngige was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1985 and attained the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in August 2002. He was among the pioneer prosecutors engaged by the Federal Government in the Failed Banks Tribunal (FBT) established in 1994. Ngige’s tenure as Chairman, Council of Legal Education, brought significant changes in the infrastructural development of the school in all six campuses across the country. His tenure also witnessed the construction of the state-of-the-art Port Harcourt Campus of the NLS by the Rivers State Government.

9. Chief Mike Mamman Osuman, SAN, OFR

Mamman Mike Osuman was born on 6 June 1947 in Benue State. He graduated from Ahmadu Bello University in 1973. While in academia, he became a Senior Law Lecturer in three Universities during which period he was a Dean of the Faculty of Law. Osuman has during his long carrier served as Chairman and Member of Federal and State Government Judicial Tribunals / Commissions of Inquiry amongst many others.

10. High Chief Dr Mike Agbedor Abu Ozekhome, SAN, CON

A motivational speaker, prolific writer, and public affairs analyst, Mike Ozekhome was born on 15 October 15, 1957, in Edo State, He was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in July 1981 and became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2010. Ozekhome in 1987 co-founded the Civil Liberties Organization, CLO, the first human rights organisation in Nigeria. In 1998, he co-founded the Joint Action Committee of Nigeria, JACON, with the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, who was chairman. Mike Ozekhome has received over 300 awards and honours, both locally and internationally.

11. Prof Fabian Ajogwu, SAN, OFR

Fabian Ikenna Ajogwu was born 23 June 1970. An accomplished author, Ajogwu who took Silk at the age of 39 has written several books including: ‘The Law & Practice of Private Equity’; ‘Ship Acquisition & Finance: Law & Practice’; ‘Corporate Governance & Group Dynamics’; ‘Corporate Governance in Nigeria: Law and Practice’ and many more. He assisted in drafting Nigeria’s pioneer Code of Corporate Governance for the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2003. In 2005, he founded the Society for Corporate Governance Nigeria (SCGN).

12. Kehinde Aina, OFR

Kehinde Aina, a Sir Alexander Darnley Award nominee redefined the practice of law in Nigeria with notable changes in justice administration when he founded The Lagos Multi-Door Courthouse, the first connected ADR Centre in Africa. Thereafter, he saw its replication in almost twenty state courts and established the Court of Appeal Mediation Centre and the Supreme Court Mediation Centre in Nigeria. Lead partner in one of Africa’s leading law firms, Aina Blankson, Aina is known for his professionalism, competence, and visionary leadership.

13. Dr. Muiz Adeyemi Banire, SAN, OON

Former National Legal Adviser of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and a former chairman of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, Dr. Muiz Banire was born on 6 October 1966 in Lagos. He was called to the bar in 1989. He was a Senior Lecturer of Law at the University of Lagos from 1991 to 2010 lecturing in Private and Property Law. Banire was elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2015 and thereafter became a Bencher. In 2017 he was appointed to be a member of the National Judicial Council.

14. Prof Maxwell Gidado, SAN, OON

Prof. Maxwell Gidado, a former member of the Senate of the University of Maiduguri and an ex-Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Adamawa State was born on 11 February 1960. The one-time Dean of, the Faculty of Law at Nasarawa State University, Keffi was called to the bar in 1984. He is presently Chief of Staff to the Governor of Adamawa State Prof. Gidado has written many books among which is —“Petroleum Development Contracts with Multinational Oil Firms: The Nigerian Experience.”

15. Anthony Okechukwu Ojukwu, SAN, OFR

Tony Ojukwu, the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC was called to the bar in 1986. A dogged rights activist, he was in 2001, appointed as Special Assistant to the former Executive Secretary of the Commission, Dr. Bukhari Bello. Later he was nominated and appointed as the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission by President Muhammadu Buhari in December 2021. Ojukwu is the first staff of the National Human Rights Commission who rose to become the Executive Secretary of the Commission. He is also the first Executive Secretary of the Commission to become a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN while in office.

16. Prof Bolaji Olufunmileyi Owasanoye, SAN, OFR

Bolaji Owasanoye, the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, was born in 1963. He graduated from the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, in 1984 and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1985. Owasanoye started his career as an assistant lecturer at the University of Lagos. In August 2015, he was appointed as the Executive Secretary of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) before being appointed to the ICPC.

17. Y. C. Maikyau, SAN, OON

Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, the 31st president of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA was born on February 6, 1965. Popularly known as Y. C., the Kebbi state-born lawyer with over 32 years of experience in dispute resolution, especially litigation and arbitration was conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2011. Maikyau was a counsel in the Human Rights Investigation Commission of Nigeria – the Oputa Panel, set up by President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 as the country returned to democratic rule. The Commission was set up to investigate human rights violations during the military regime. Part of his manifesto while running for Bar President is the implementation of a standard minimum remuneration of one hundred thousand Naira for young lawyers in Nigeria. He said that the amount would be shared on a sixty-forty basis between law firms and the NBA.

18. Senator Bamidele Opeyemi, MON

Michael Opeyemi Bamidele popularly known as MOB was born on 29 July 1963 at Iyin Ekiti, in Ekiti State. He first obtained a bachelor’s degree in religious studies at Obafemi Awolowo University and later went to the University of Benin where he received a bachelor’s degree in law in 1990. He was called to the bar in 1992. Led by Chief Godwin Olusegun Kolawole Ajayi, he was one of the defence counsel to Chief Moshood Abiola during his treason trial.

19. Senator Ita Solomon Enang, OFR

Ita Enang, born 23 August 1962 is the Senior Special Assistant, SSA to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta Affairs. The Akwa Ibom State-born Senator previously served as Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Assembly Matters (Senate) from 27 August 2015 to 29 May 2019. He was admitted to study Law at the University of Calabar in 1980 and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1985.

20. Prof Folarin Shyllon, MON

The late Prof. Folarin Shyllon, founding Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Ibadan was born on 23 July 1940. Under him, the faculty comprised of nondescript pieces of real estate at the colo-rectal end of the university had just three largely ramshackle, disused bungalows. Shyllon who had his legal education at Kings College, University of London, from where he also graduated with a Master of Laws in law in 1967 reportedly challenged the staid mindsets that dominated legal education in Nigeria during his time at the Faculty of Law in Ibadan. As a friend of UNESCO, Professor Shyllon contributed immensely to every stage of the life of the UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.


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