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Nigeria: Project Finance 2016

The Nigerian project finance arena has faced significant challenges in recent times, with its $11 billion budget deficit forcing the government to look to the Chinese and Japanese bond markets, as well as to organisations such as the World Bank and the African Development Fund, so it can finance infrastructure projects. The power sector has also struggled this year, with the drop in oil prices and political disruption making it difficult to source funding for much needed projects. However, with the government set on tackling the country’s power crisis, and the successful financial close of the Azura-Edo 450 megawatt power plant at the end of last year, it seems that the Nigerian project finance market is set to improve. This chapter highlights 23 leading practitioners.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Kofo Dosekun Aluko & Oyebode
Gbenga Oyebode Aluko & Oyebode
Tominiyi Owolabi Olaniwun Ajayi LP


Aluko & Oyebode achieves four listings in this chapter, including managing partner Gbenga Oyebode who is known for his “strong expertise relating to public private partnerships”. Alongside him, Kofo Dosekun’s vast experience working with financing upstream oil and gas projects has led many to regard her as “a true expert in the field”. Clients praise Oghogho Makinde for her “hands-on approach”. Her recent work includes advising the International Finance Corporation on the construction of a specialist referral hospital under a PPP agreement. Olubunmi Fayokun possesses “invaluable experience in handling the financing of high-value energy projects”, which includes the first private independent power project in the country.

At Olaniwun Ajayi, managing partner Konyinsola Ajayi SAN is “a leading light” in the field, possessing over three decades of experience with particular expertise in large-scale power projects. Deputy managing partner Oluseye Opasanya commands great respect from clients who admire him for “his diligent and measured approach”. Tominiyi Owolabi’s “stellar project finance practice” has earned him “a great reputation” among peers. The “talented” Wolemi Esan leads the firm’s power and infrastructure practice and is often involved in the development, financing and operation of related projects.

Managing partner Dan Agbor is one of four leading practitioners at Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie who garner inclusion in this chapter. He is “a remarkably good lawyer”, valued by clients for his “tremendous understanding of the Nigerian power sector”. Aniekan Ukpanah heads the project finance group, delivering “creative and considered advice” to lenders on the structuring and financing of large infrastructure projects. Myma Belo-Osagie is “a stand-out practitioner” whose work on oil and gas projects makes her “a counsel of choice” for many clients. The “superb” Folake Elias-Adebowale has extensive experience working with financiers to develop projects including cement and steel plants, as well as independent power projects.  

Banwo & Ighodalo’s Asue Ighodalo is “a top-notch finance lawyer” whose “technical expertise” makes him an asset in structuring complex transactions. Praised for her “professional approach”, Ayotunde Owoigbe is renowned for her expertise in high-value power, and oil and gas projects.

At AÉLEX, Soji Awogbade is recognised for his “standout knowledge of the Nigerian infrastructure market”, as well as his “invaluable experience” in the financing of power and energy projects, such as the West African Gas Pipeline. Lawrence Fubara Anga is “a seasoned expert”. His “commercial and innovative approach” to structuring transactions is highly recommended by clients who include major private and state-owned oil and gas companies.

At G Elias & Co, Gbolahan Elias SAN is renowned for his “fantastic work” advising sponsors and lenders on oil and gas, telecommunications and real estate projects. Alongside him, managing partner Fred Onuobia represents both public and private sector clients. He is widely recognised name in the market for advising on high-profile and complex projects such as the Lagos airport terminal development concession.

Oghogho Akpata at Templars is managing partner of the firm as well as head of the energy and projects group. He is “first port of call” for many respondents seeking “innovative and astute legal counsel”. He is joined by the “exceptionally smart” Chike Obianwu, who acts on some of the biggest projects in Nigeria, including advising the sponsors on the development of the $1 billion Second Niger Bridge and Toll Road project.

Detail Commercial Lawyers is represented by Ayuli Jemide, who is “highly sought after” for his “strong commercial acumen and deep understanding of the infrastructure sphere in Nigeria”.

At Olujinmi & Akeredolu, Olumide Olujinmi is “a well-reputed name in the field” and is particularly known for his work on real estate, power and energy projects.

Sola Arifayan runs “an accomplished practice” at Ikeyi & Arifayan with an emphasis on energy and utilities project finance. 

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