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Nigeria: Restructuring & Insolvency 2016

It has been an important year for insolvency law in Nigeria. The global financial crisis in 2008 and the concurrent capital markets crisis in 2009 saw several Nigerian banks left exposed with large non-performing loans. The crises forced the Nigerian government into carrying out an injection of bailout funds and it also established Asset Management Company of Nigeria with a mandate to resolve the non-performing asset loans of Nigerian banks. This turbulent atmosphere, coupled with the lack of a functional bankruptcy and insolvency laws, has brought the risk and cost of borrowing to an unsustainable level. That being said, 2016 saw the Nigerian senate pass its bankruptcy and insolvency bill in a bid to ease these problems, allowing Nigerian businesses to access credit at lower, more manageable costs. In this chapter, we identify 11 practitioners who are equipped to advise corporates on, and act during, insolvency proceedings and restructurings.

Seyi Akinwunmi at Akinwunmi & Busari is “one of the country’s foremost insolvency practitioners” who has represented an “impressive” roster of domestic and multinational clients including The World Bank. According to clients, Akinwunmi is “the lawyer of choice for complex, cross-border restructuring and insolvency matters”. Fellow name partner Olatunde Busari SAN is highlighted for his considerable proficiency in insolvency litigation with one respondent praising his “strategic acumen” and “powerful advocacy skills”.

AÉLEX is home to two exceptional practitioners: Adedapo Tunde-Olowu and Ola Orewale. The former is a well-reputed name in the field who, as well as being an impressive litigator, offers careful and well-thought-out advice in issues relating to insolvency, receivership and corporate liquidation; while the latter is praised as “a strong tactician” who “clearly and practically highlights the best course of action”.

Streamsowers & Kohn is home to the “eminent” Etigwe Uwa SAN, who leads the dispute resolution practice at the firm. According to peers, he is a prominent insolvency litigator who “efficiently handles debt recovery cases”.

Fidelis Oditah SAN at his own firm receives praise on both the Nigerian and international stages. He is commended for his “vast wealth of expertise” that has seen him act in many high-profile insolvency proceedings over the past two decades.

Aluko & Oyebode’s Adeniyi Adegbonmire receives widespread acclaim for his impressive corporate recovery and insolvency practice. According to sources, he is a “fast acting practitioner” that “goes the extra mile for clients”.

At F O Fagbohungbe & Co, Felix Olusegun Fagbohungbe SAN is “a gifted and knowledgeable practitioner” who also “adeptly handles the different parties during negotiations”.

Punuka Attorneys & Solicitors is home to two outstanding practitioners. Managing partner Anthony Idigbe SAN is praised by respondents with one calling him a “font of knowledge”, and another noting his “incredible work ethic”. The firm is also home to Elizabeth Idigbe who is a seasoned veteran with over 25 years’ experience. According to sources, she is “a talented practitioner” with considerable insight in debt factoring and restructurings.

The Law Crest is represented head of the corporate and commercial practice team Anthony Nwaochei; he garners effusive praise from respondents for his “excellent practice” that includes acting for major financial institutions and companies on complex insolvency, debt recovery and restructuring matters.

At Abuka & Partners, Patrick Abuka heads the firm’s financial institutions practice area group. He handles a significant number of insolvency, receivership and winding up matters with clients praising his general “commercial awareness” and “pragmatic approach”. 

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