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Personality Of The Month: Olisa Agbakoba

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Olisa Agbakoba, OON, SAN was born on 29 May 1953 to Chief Justice Godfrey Ubaka and Mrs Phina Agbakoba in Jos. He later moved to Onitsha in 1965, two years before the Nigerian civil war. He is a maritime lawyer but more popularly known as a human rights activist in the Nigerian human rights movement from the early to late 90’s.He is also a former President of Nigerian Bar Association

Olisa Agbakoba attended Government Primary School, Jos from 1959 to 1960, Hillcrest School, Jos; 1961, Government Primary School Jos, 1962 1963; Zixton Public School Ozubulu in 1964 and Christ the King College, Onitsha between 1966 and 1967. Agbakoba also attended College of Immaculate Conception, Enugu from 1970 to 1972; Government College, Ughelli; 1973, University of Nigeria Nsukka; 1973 1977, Nigerian Law School, Lagos, 1978; and London School of Economics & Political Science 1979 1980. He holds an LLB (Hons) of the University of Nigeria, BL of the Nigerian Law School and LLM (1980) of the University of London.

Fresh out of law school, He served as a research fellow in the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs’ (NIIA) Law and Intelligence Department. Agbakoba left NIIA after a year and formed his own law firm, Olisa Agbakoba and Associates, which specializes in commercial and maritime law. He has also been a key leader in the country’s pro-democratic movement, and is the President of Afronet, an international NGO dedicated to furthering the human rights cause. He is also a Principal Partner and founder of Human Rights Law Services (HURILAWS) an NGO that specializes in advocacy and law.

Aside from human rights, his work in maritime law in Nigeria has been profound, he is the founder and first president of the Nigerian Shipping Chamber of Commerce (NCS).

Olisa Agbakoba, is the former president of the Nigerian Bar Association from 2006–2008 and a founding partner of Olisa Agbakoba and Associates, a leading maritime specialist law firm in Lagos. He is also the founder of Nigeria’s foremost human rights organization, the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO).He became known through his work in human rights and democracy movement in Nigeria. He was also the founder of United Action for Democracy and the Zambian pan-African human rights organization AfroNet. He was a defender for the Civil Rights activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa who was executed and was arrested several times because of his pro – democratic activities.

In 1990 he was honoured with Roger Baldwin Medal for Civil Liberties.Also in 1993, he was honoured with the Human Rights Award of the German Association of Judges and in 1996 he was given the Aachen Peace Award.

Other awards and honours include the receipt of the 15 Great Legal Practitioners of Distinction in Nigeria (1993), Vanguard’s 40 Outstanding Young Nigerians Award (1993), Fellow and award recipient, Institute of Administrative Management of Nigeria, Co-director, British Council Conference on Managing Human Rights, Abuja, Nigeria, the International Human Rights Award of the American Bar Association, in recognition of extraordinary contributions to the causes of Human Rights, the Rule of Law and Promotion of Access to Justice (1996),Dr Kwame Nkrumah African Leadership awards in 2006 and FRA Williams Legal Practitioner of the year 2006 amongst others.

Culled from: Wikipedia




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