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Nigeria: Arbitration 2016

Arbitration in Nigeria has become increasingly prevalent as an alternative method of dispute resolution over the past few years. As civil litigation is known to often be a lengthy and inefficient process for resolving commercial disputes, Nigerian courts have become more arbitration-friendly, with more institutions becoming proficient at administering multiple forms of arbitration and local businesses preferring to use domestic seats for resolving disputes. Nigeria’s enhanced status as an arbitration centre is reflected in the recent trend for parties in commercial transactions to insert arbitration clauses into contracts. Some sources suggest that across the oil and gas, construction, and maritime sectors 75 per cent of contracts now contain arbitration agreements. Alongside this increased demand for arbitration services, the country is home to many national and internationally recognised arbitration experts within its borders. Our research highlights 30 leading experts this year compared with 26 last year. 

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Dorothy Udeme Ufot Dorothy Ufot & Co
Olufunmi Oluyede TRLPLAW
Funke Adekoya AÉLEX


From Sofunde Osakwe Ogundipe & Belgore, Babajide Ogundipe is “a leading arbitrator.” Having acted for a wide range of notable clients, he is held in high regard for his “first-rate advice” and “enthusiasm and commitment to his clients”. He is joined by Mohammed Dele Belgore SAN, who is praised by respondents for his “direct, clear and effective method of advocacy” and for “providing unique insight into difficult legal matters”.

Aluko & Oyebode is home to Adeniyi Adegbonmire, a “standout practitioner” and a “firm favourite among clients”. His clients include multinational corporations, banks and other financial institutions. Alongside him, Babatunde Fagbohunlu is known for his “practical insights and diligence in proceedings”. His experience includes acting for companies in the oil and gas, telecoms and the banking sectors.

From Babalakin & Co, Bolanle Olawale Babalakin SAN has handled high-profile commercial arbitrations from a wide variety of industry sectors, with one client praising his “creative approach to our most complex problems”. He is joined by Olawale Adeola Akoni SAN whose “scrupulous and responsive approach” is one of the reasons clients regard him as “a go-to lawyer”.

Dorothy Udeme Ufot of Dorothy Ufot & Co is “highly respected” with over 25 years’ experience acting for a range of high-profile clients in the oil and gas, construction, telecoms and financial services sectors.

At TRLPLAW, Olufunmi Oluyede is described as “a notable talent”. She focuses her practice on high-profile local and international arbitration, acting for major banking institutions and corporate organisations. Respondents recommend her for her “quick grasp of the details and intuitive thinking”.

From AÉLEX, Funke Adekoya draws on “invaluable and wide ranging experience”. She represents high-profile clients in both domestic and international arbitration proceedings demonstrating her “unrivalled technical, strategic and intellectual skills”.

Independent arbitrator Tinuade Oyekunle is considered “one of the top, if not the top, arbitrators in Nigeria”, with sources praising her “calm demeanour and flexibility”. She has extensive experience handling complex international commercial disputes under institutions such as the ICC, LCIA, and ICSID.

 At Punuka Attorneys & Solicitors Anthony Idigbe SAN is considered “a true professional”. With 28 years of experience, he has earned “wide acclaim in the market” and a reputation for having “shrewd insights and strong analytical skills”.

Founding partner of Akinwunmi & Busari, Olatunde Busari, is known for being “extremely thorough and not missing a thing”. He has broad experience handling disputes in the oil and gas, telecommunications, construction, and banking sectors, among others; he is recommended for being “very user-friendly”.

Charles Adeyemi Candide-Johnson SAN from Strachan Partners is highly regarded, with clients and peers highlighting that he “brings real value to a case, through his tactical nous and energy”. He focuses his practice on the maritime, petroleum, banking and construction sectors.

Adedoyin Rhodes-Vivour is the managing partner of Doyin Rhodes-Vivour & Co and her practice is centred on the oil and gas, shipping, telecommunications, and finance and banking sectors. One source stated that she is “second to none for her level of skill and versatile thinking”.

Fidelis Oditah & Co boasts Fidelis Oditah QC SAN, recommended as a practitioner who “certainly knows his stuff”. He has considerable experience of local and international commercial and investment arbitration, offering “a personal service” and “a high standard of client care”. 

Bayo Ojo SAN from Bayo Ojo & Co is described as “responsive, hardworking and practical”. With particular expertise relating to the corporate and commercial, as well as industrial and financial sectors, he comes recommended for being “an innovative and dedicated practitioner”.

Funmi Roberts from Funmi Roberts & Company impresses clients with her “vast and intricate knowledge” combined with “strong commercial acumen”. Her practice comprises handling disputes relating to the corporate and commercial, oil and gas, and banking and finance sectors, among others.

Managing partner Ladipo Soetan of Siji Soetan & Co is “much sought-after” for complicated disputes in Nigeria. Specialising in commercial law, he regularly advises some of the largest companies operating in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria. 

From Afe Babalola & Co, Aare Afe Babalola “offers world-class expertise”. He is particularly praised for his ability to pay “close attention to detail while never losing sight of the bigger picture”, and counts multinational conglomerates, the Federal Government of Nigeria, and the World Bank amongst his clientele.

Ademola Akinrele at F O Akinrele & Co is a “thoroughly impressive” lawyer. Described as “savvy and experienced”, he has developed considerable expertise in the aviation and maritime fields, and is known for “keenly protecting his clients’ best interests”.

Joe-Kyari Gadzama at JK Gadzama & Partners is “one of the very best arbitrators in Nigeria”. He features prominently in our research for his “exceptional client manner” and “adroit advice”.   

The “fantastic” Fabian Ajogwu from Kenna Partners is recognised as a “highly skilled” professional, delivering “first-class” dispute resolution services. He has handled many celebrated cases and represented notable personalities and corporate bodies.

From Olisa Agbakoba Legal Olisa Agbakoba is noted for his “tenacity, and ability to successfully negotiate complicated legal issues”. With experience of handling high-value arbitrations from across a wide range of industries, he is recommended for his “fantastic work ethic and no-nonsense approach”.

At SPA Ajibade & Co Babatunde Ajibade is “amazingly gifted”. He has a “formidable reputation in the market”, particularly for his work involving both domestic and international commercial arbitrations as well as in investment treaty arbitrations.

Adewale Atake from Templars specialises in both domestic and international energy arbitration. He is an “exceptionally talented” practitioner with a “long track record of excellence” in the field, having represented IOCs, multinational corporations and banks in high-value disputes. 

The “internationally regarded” Osaro Eghobamien at Perchstone & Graeys is praised by clients and peers for his “ability to get to the heart of the matter”. His practice comprises experience across the oil and gas, maritime, intellectual property, and banking and finance sectors. 

The chartered arbitrator Olusola Adegbonmire is “internationally renowned” and has been described as an “advocate par excellence.” She has a “wealth” of corporate and commercial experience from more than 30 years in practice.

Theo Chike Osanakpo from Dr TC Osanakpo & Co is “someone to be reckoned with”. He is recommended by for being “extremely knowledgeable and accessible”, with a “particularly good understanding of transactional and energy legal issues”.

From Streamsowers & Köhn Etigwe Uwa is “a certain inclusion” according to clients and peers. He has handled numerous arbitrations from across the energy, telecommunications and transport sectors, among others, and receives praise for his “skilful handing of complicated legal problems”. 

George Adesola Oguntade has over 20 years’ experience providing “top-level” legal services to clients. He is recommended particularly for his “hands-on and friendly approach” combined with a “willingness to always go the extra mile” for clients.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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