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Nigeria: Litigation 2016

All indications are that 2016 will be a challenging year for Nigeria. Anti-corruption litigation looks set to dominate the landscape as the new Buhari-led government seeks to address the crippling corruption perpetrated by former political and military leaders that has left the country in a poor political and economic state. Widespread support for the anti-corruption drive, as well as a genuine hunger for change in Nigeria, ensure that 2016 is set to be a busy year for reform in terms of the judiciary, as well as an expectation for change on government and national assembly levels. In this chapter, we identify 24 leading individuals in the field of commercial litigation.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Funke Adekoya SAN AELEX
Babatunde J Fagbohunlu SAN Aluko & Oyebode
Olawale Adeola Akoni SAN Babalakin & Co

AELEX is home to two outstanding litigators including one the most highly regarded practitioners in the field: Funke Adekoya SAN heads the firm’s dispute resolution practice and is a notable dignitary in the field with over 30 years’ experience in commercial and corporate litigation. According to clients, she is “superb in the courtroom with unmatched prowess”. She is joined by the “industrious” Adedapo Tunde-Olowu who is recommended for “his pragmatic and considered approach”.

Sofunde Osakwe Ogundipe & Belgore receives widespread praise in this year’s research and is reflected by its two listings. Ebun Olusegun Sofunde SAN is praised by peers and clients alike for his “diligent manner and his ability to convey complex arguments in a concise and effective manner.” Fellow founding partner Babajide Ogundipe is an “internationally renowned” commercial litigator with over 35 years of experience. According to one client, there is “no one better suited to tackling tough proceedings” and his significant litigation experience extends to complex asset recovery matters.

At Aluko & Oyebode, head of the firm’s litigation and arbitration practice group Babatunde Fagbohunlu SAN is “extremely well thought of” on the domestic and international stages. According to respondents, Fagbonhunlu is “a confident litigator with an intuitive and dynamic style”. He is particularly proficient is disputes relating to the oil and gas industries.

Babalakin & Co is represented by managing partner Olawale Adeola Akoni SAN. Akoni is described by clients as “an intelligent and effective litigator with a fantastic working knowledge of domestic and international commercial law.”

At Dorothy Ufot & Co, founding partner and head of the firm’s arbitration and litigation departments Dorothy Udeme Ufot SAN is commended as “a shining example” and “a formidable opponent” by her peers.

Leading full service commercial firm Strachan partners is home to the “indomitable” Charles Adeyemi Candide-Johnson SAN. Candide-Johnson is a pioneering figure that looms large in the Nigerian dispute resolution and litigation field. According to clients, he is “a master tactician who endeavours to get to the heart of the contentious issues.”

Ajumogobia & Okeke is represented by one of the country’s leading litigators: Olasupo Shasore SAN. He heads both the dispute resolution and maritime practice and is “blessed with a persuasive and assertive style”, one source enthused.

Ademola Akinrele SAN at F O Akinrele & Co is considered a specialist with a strong reputation in litigation proceedings related to the aviation and maritime sectors. Akinrele is also adept at handling litigation proceedings related to complex cross-border transactions with clients maintaining that he “manages complex issues with an uncomplicated style”.

At Principles Law Partnership, managing partner Miannaya Aja Essien SAN is highly sought after for her “impressive abilities” as a commercial litigator. Clients were particularly effusive in their praise of her “commercial awareness and strategic approach”.

Kola Awodein & Co is home to the highly regarded Kola Awodein SAN who is recommended for his superb advocacy skills and excellent working knowledge of the banking and finance, oil and gas sectors.

Paul Usoro SAN at his own firm Paul Usoro & Co is regarded as “a top litigator” who is renowned for his wealth of experience in high profile contentious issues in relation to banking and finance, maritime, environment, oil and gas, power, and energy law.

At Adepetun Caxton-Martins Agbor & Segun, name partner Funke Agbor is recognised as “a fixture in the field” with a wealth of experience in high-stakes litigation.

Fidelis Oditah QC SAN at his own firm is “highly sought after” for high-profile, complex contentious issues; clients are quick to praise his “case-winning strategies and deep understanding of both domestic and international commercial law.”

At Olujinmi & Akeredolu, Akin Olujinmi SAN receives widespread acclaim for his impressive litigation practice and is regarded by “a prominent player” in the market by peers.

Konyinsola Ajayi SAN of Olaniwun Ajayi has built a respected dispute resolution practice dealing with both domestic and cross-border commercial disputes. He is particularly recognised for his “responsive, creative and well-prepared advice.”

At Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie, head of the dispute resolution team Uzoma Azikiwe is praised by peers and clients alike for providing an “excellent standard of client service”. He also has considerable expertise in aviation, maritime, and labour and employment matters.

Gbolahan Elias SAN at G Elias & Co is commended by peers as “fantastically intelligent and knowledgeable”. Elias heads the firms dispute resolution practice and is active in across a whole range of disputes including banking, capital markets, tax, shipping, executive employment disputes.

Prime Solicitors’ Oluseun Abimbola is “a well-reputed name” in the field who is regularly cited for his proficiency in contentious telecommunications issues.

The “pre-eminent” Aare Afe Babalola SAN at Babalola & Co is prasied for his “fantastic track record” and “unique insight into Nigerian and international commercial law”. According to clients, Babalola is a “joy to watch in action” and was “remarkably hands-on” at all stages.

At SimmonsCooper Partners, Babatunde Irukera is recognised for his “invaluable insight and experience” in both Nigeria and US litigation proceedings. He has over 19 years of experience with clients claiming that he provided “shrewd, solutions-oriented advice”.

Emmanuel Ukala SAN at E C Ukala & Company is an expert in both civil and commercial litigation. He is praised as “a veteran of the courts with considerable technical insight into proceedings.”

At Spa Ajibade & Co, Babatunde Ajibade SAN is considered a litigation specialist with significant expertise in banking law, intra-company shareholder disputes and insolvency and reinsurance litigation.

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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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W11 1QQ, UK