Dispute resolution in Nigeria

AELEX

At AELEXFunke Adekoya is highly regarded for her expertise in commercial and tax dispute resolution, with a focus on arbitration. She is an experienced arbitrator in investor–state arbitration disputes under the auspices of ICSID and UNCITRAL rules. Other key partners are Adedapo Tunde-Olowu and Lawrence Fubara Anga; the latter has extensive experience acting as counsel in commercial litigation and arbitrations in the banking, aviation, maritime, telecommunications and energy sectors. Davidson Oturu is the lead partner in intellectual property and TMT disputes, while Olanipekun Orewale represents financial institutions, multinational corporations and government agencies in matters concerning winding-up petitions, bankruptcy, debt recovery and corporate transactions at the high court and appellate courts in Nigeria.

Practice head(s):

Funke Adekoya, Adedapo Tunde-Olowu

Testimonials

‘The Aelex dispute resolution team is very experienced and pays attention to details.’

Key clients

General Electric

Embraer SA

Nokia Siemens Nigeria

Shoprite Checkers Pty Ltd of South Africa

Exxon Mobil

British American Tobacco Ltd

Sproxil Nigeria Limited

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented Chevron Nigeria at the Tax Appeal Tribunal in an appeal against petroleum profits tax assessments in relation to the client’s gas utilisation projects. The firm is currently representing the client in the appeal of the judgment to the Federal High Court.
  • Defending Retail Supermarkets Nig. Ltd in a claim for breach of contract, interference with a contract, alleged creation of a monopoly in the payments system industry, loss of economic opportunity. The lawsuit was allegedly filed in violation of an arbitration agreement on the ground that there are third party rights that can’t be catered for in arbitration.
  • Representing Westfield Energy Resource to recover its property that was forfeited to the Government on the basis that the person who sold the property to the client had purchased the property with proceeds of fraud.

Aluko & Oyebode

Aluko & Oyebode's 'top-tier' dispute resolution team is best known for handling the most significant disputes in the Nigerian petroleum industry. The firm also continues to work on mandates from five international oil companies (IOCs) in respect of claims made against them by the Nigerian government over the alleged under-declaration by the IOCs of the volumes of crude oil exported from Nigeria. The practice is very active in international arbitrations under the auspices of ICC, LCIA and ad-hoc UNCITRAL. Babatunde Fagbohunlu is an 'outstanding litigation lawyer with a deep understanding of Nigerian law and international arbitration regulations '. Other recommended litigators include Mark Mordi and Hamid Abdulkareem.

Practice head(s):

Babatunde Fagbohunlu

Testimonials

The Aluko & Oyebode dispute resolution team is led by experienced senior lawyers supported by a well resourced team. Tunde Fagbohunlu has successfully conducted two international arbitrations for my company and other litigation in which we have emerged victorious.’

‘Impresses with their analytical skills and research skills. They always respond quickly to issues brought before them.’

‘Tunde Fagbohunlu has proved himself to be an outstanding litigation lawyer with a deep understanding of Nigerian law and international arbitration regulations. He is able to think strategically and widely about issues developing options for various scenarios.’

‘Mark Mordi is articulate, a good listener and quickly understands issues brought before him.’

Key clients

Chevron Nigeria Limited

Nigerian Agip Oil Company

Shell Petroleum

Development Company

Guinness Nigeria Plc

Total E & P Nigeria Limited

MTN Nigeria

Work highlights

  • Represented MTN Nigeria in an action challenging the circa $8.1m demand by the Central Bank of Nigeria over alleged violations of the Foreign Exchange Act 1995 and the Foreign Exchange Manual 2006 by remitting foreign currency using ‘irregular’ Certificates of Capital Importation.
  • Represented Brasoil in a $54m action instituted by the Federal Government of Nigeria over undeclared crude oil shipments.
  • Acted for the Coca-Cola Company in challenging an infringement of the Eva trade mark by Ekulo Foods Limited and Ekulo International Limited.

Banwo & Ighodalo

Banwo & Ighodalo acts for a wide spectrum of clients, such as international oil and gas companies, multinational companies, banks and other financial institutions, government agencies and private clients. Abimbola Akeredolu is a specialist in commercial litigation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution in the banking, construction, consumer goods and energy sectors. Chinedum Umeche focuses on commercial litigation connected with commercial contracts and oil and gas transactions.

Practice head(s):

Chinedum Umeche

Testimonials

‘Very professional; very commendable response time; very accessible through multiple channels of communication. Of special mention is Abimbola Akeredolu and her team who has been exceptionally professional in handling our matters.’

Key clients

Total E&P Nigeria

Chevron Nigeria Limited

Exxon-Mobil Corporation

Petrolink International

Dangote Group

Work highlights

  • Representing GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria Plc in a series of 26 labour cases brought by its former employees following the divestment of its health drinks business to Suntory Beverages & Food.
  • Successfully defended Total E&P Nigeria Limited interests in an action initiated by the Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service seeking to compel Total E&P Nigeria Limited to pay a suite of taxes levied on it in the sum of $510m.
  • Defending the Bank of Beirut in an action brought by the minority shareholders of Setraco Nigeria Limited, who are seeking to invalidate its powers to place restrictions on Setraco Nigeria Limited’s bank accounts.

G. Elias & Co

The litigation team at G. Elias & Co has extensive experience of representing individual clients, and local and multinational companies, in commercial, financial and tax disputes at all court levels in Nigeria. The practice also has a strong track record defending multinational corporations in product liability cases. Employment disputes are another key area of specialisation. Gbolahan Elias is the chair of the practice. Senior associates Okechukwu Okoro and Steve Arubike are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Gbolahan Elias

Olaniwun Ajayi LP

Olaniwun Ajayi LP fields 'a very versatile team of lawyers with cutting edge competence', who are regularly sought out in technically complex and business-critical disputes; the aviation, oil and gas, maritime, infrastructure and finance sectors are key areas of strength. In the white collar space, the firm also assists clients with mitigating legal and business risks arising from investigations and enforcement actions. Konyin Ajayi, Seye Opasanya and Khrushchev Ekwueme are recommended.

Practice head(s):

Konyin Ajayi

Testimonials

‘I find the firm to be very good at helping to develop possible solutions to problems. Legal advisory work is exceptional with excellent commercial knowledge of the industry.’

‘Olaniwun Ajayi fields a very versatile team of lawyers, who are very knowledgeable about their diverse areas of specialisation. They strive very hard to maintain cutting-edge competence, adjusting very quickly to new regulations/legislations and keeping their clients informed about changes as they occur.’

Key clients

Central Bank of Nigeria

First City Monument Bank

ATC Wireless Infrastructure

Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria

Standard Metallurgical Company

Work highlights

  • Acting for Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria in relation to the receivership of Arik Air Limited (in Receivership). This matter is the largest single receivership in Nigeria’s history, with an outstanding debt exposure of circa ₦400bn, due to both local and international creditors.
  • Advising the Nigerian Federal Inland Revenue Service on the recovery of tax due to the Federal Government of Nigeria from the operations of Seadrill Group of Companies.
  • Assisting the Federal Republic of Nigeria with prosecuting a criminal charge against the former managing directors of some banks relating to various white-collar crimes committed whilst at their respective banks.

Templars

Templars' strength in big-ticket energy disputes is underpinned by Adewale Atake's 'outstanding competence' and substantial courtroom experience, as well as his expertise acting as counsel in domestic and international arbitrations. Another name to note is Godwin Omoako, whose wide-ranging practice covers commercial litigation, oil and gas litigation, arbitration and conciliation, tax disputes and maritime law.

Practice head(s):

Adewale Atake

Testimonials

‘The dispute resolution team at Templars is on top of the law and clearly focused on proactively thinking outside the box in proffering solutions to problems. A clear strength is in having lawyers of character who are both inquisitive and have inquiring minds infusing them with a high level of confidence in their work.’

‘Adewale Atake and Godwin Omoaka are clearly lawyers of distinction. They are calm in their disposition, deliberate in their inquiries and acutely proficient in their advocacy. They are always available to address your issues and their response is prompt, irrespective of their location globally. They also bring a commercial savviness to the advice they give. An in-house counsel’s dream as external counsel.’

Key clients

ExxonMobil

Total E&P Nigeria Limited

Halliburton

Heinz India Private Limited

Societe Internationale de Telecommunication

Aeronautiques (SITA)

General Electric

Sahara Energy Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented the Erha Contractor Group in an ad hoc international arbitration against the Nigerian owned oil corporation (NNPC) in respect of a crude entitlement dispute arising under a product sharing agreement, resulting in a favourable award of over $2bn against the NNPC.
  • Representing a PSC Contractor Group in a $1.5bn arbitration claim against the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
  • Successfully represented Total Upstream Nigeria in a high-profile dispute against Samsung Heavy Industries over the sail-away of the Egina FPSO, the first FPSO unit to berth at an integration quay in Africa for the installation of modules that were fabricated in Nigeria.

Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie

At Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie, practice head Uzoma Azikiwe specialises in civil and commercial litigation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution (ADR). He is particularly strong in disputes connected with the energy, maritime, taxation, construction and telecoms. Elsewhere, Mena Ajakpovi is a name to note for IP disputes, with a focus on copyright and trade mark enforcement, licensing and broadcasting contracts. Festus Onyia is the other key partner for high-value commercial arbitration and litigation.

Practice head(s):

Uzoma Azikiwe

Key clients

Equinor (formerly known as Statoil Nigeria Limited)

Abbot Investment (North Africa)

Schlumberger Nigeria Ltd

HSBC Bank

Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing Statoil Nigeria as defendant in an appeal before the Supreme Court on a suit brought by Inducon Nigeria Limited and Dr. John Abebe claiming that they were entitled to an assignment of 1.5% net profit interest in all of Statoil’s oil and gas interests in Nigeria.
  • Advised Virgin Atlantic Airways on a lawsuit brought against it and a Nigerian company, Aviation Logistics and Management Limited, by 20 former employees of ALML who were seconded to and worked with VAA as cabin crew.
  • Successfully represented the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in a claim before the Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West Africa States for the sum of $722m for compensation for environmental degradation resulting from exploration and gas flaring activities of the major International Oil Companies.

Oditah

Oditah represents clients in ad hoc and institutional arbitrations under the UNCITRAL, ICC, LCIA, AAA, ASA and ICSID rules. Its work spans a broad range of areas, including banking, oil and gas, telecoms,  international trade and investments, and state contracts. Name partner Fidelis Oditah QC has considerable experience of local and international commercial and investment arbitration. In addition, he also has an excellent track record acting for clients in complex disputes in the highest courts in Nigeria.

Practice head(s):

Fidelis Oditah

Olajide Oyewole LLP

Olajide Oyewole LLP's team of 'very articulate professional lawyers' leverages strong cross-departmental support, and also offers multijurisdictional capabilities as part of the wider DLA Piper Africa network. The firm handles complex litigation across a range of sectors, with a particular specialism in shareholder dispute resolution. Sola Oyebolu leads the 'experienced team', which 'adopts a very commercial and proactive approach to resolving disputes'. Other key lawyers include deputy managing partner Oluseye OpasanyaMuyiwa Ogungbenro and Tunde Oyewole.

Practice head(s):

Sola Oyebolu

Testimonials

‘The team is very experienced in this area with active participation on all engagements from the relevant lead partner, as well as senior associates and associates. The firm adopts a very commercial and proactive approach to resolving disputes and has a strong record of winning cases that go to court.’

‘This practice is made up of a team of professionals who are very articulate and demonstrate attention to detail; it is apparent from the zeal and passion with which they take on each case.’

Key clients

Samsung Heavy Industries

Mainstream Energy Solutions Ltd

SHI-MCI FZE

O&O Networks Ltd (Ecobank Group)

Lagos State Government

Arcadia Energy (Suisse) SA

Naspers (Supersport)

Aero Contractors Company of Nigeria Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acting as co-counsel to Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria Ltd and SHI-MCI FZE in a dispute with LADOL group over an alleged tax liability of $33m.
  • Co-counsel to Samsung Heavy Industries in its application for injunctions restraining LADOL Group from ejecting them from LADOL Free Zone until disputes between the parties are resolved by LCIA arbitration.
  • Representing the Falae family in an appeal against a judgement delivered by the Federal High Court holding the operator and the regulator responsible for the Flight 361 crash.

Punuka Attorneys and Solicitors

Punuka Attorneys and Solicitors represents various clients in the highest courts, including private individuals, institutions and companies. Nnamdi Oragwu, who heads up the litigation department, specialises in commercial and contractual disputes in the energy, maritime and transport sectors. Contentious insolvency matters are another key workstream.

Practice head(s):

Nnamdi Oragwu

Uche Nwokedi & Co.

Uche Nwokedi & Co. primarily focuses on dispute resolution in the energy sector and has a strong specialisation in the oil and gas arena. It is a popular choice for leading oil and gas companies, such as Nigerian Agip Oil, ExxonMobil and Chevron Nigeria. Uche Nwokedi is the lead litigator, and is supported by Asimiyu Ayodeji and Pascal Ememonu.

Practice head(s):

Uche Nwokedi

Work highlights

  • Representing Nigerian Agip Oil Company as the claimant in a dispute arising from the failure of Oando Oil Limited to honour its cash call obligations under certain oil mining leases and a joint operating agreement.
  • Advised Chevron Nigeria and BNP Paribas on a dispute arising from the bid for Chevron’s interests in certain oil and gas assets in Nigeria.
  • Representing MTN Nigeria Communications in the Supreme Court of Nigeria in a dispute arising from the alleged infringement of certain copyrighted works by recording artists.

Abdulai, Taiwo & Co

Led by Akin Osinbajo, the disputes practice at Abdulai, Taiwo & Co is active in commercial litigation, arbitration and ADR. It has an emphasis on tax, intellectual property, contractual disputes and multijurisdictional regulatory enforcement matters.

Practice head(s):

Akin Osinbajo

Key clients

Procter & Gamble

Transmission Company of Nigeria

Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS)

Asset Management Company of Nigeria

First Bank of Nigeria Plc.

Work highlights

  • Represented Ikoyi Hotels Ltd. at the Tax Appeal Tribunal in Ikoyi Hotels Ltd. vs Lagos State Internal Revenue Service.
  • Representing Proctor & Gamble (P&G) in an appeal brought by Global Soap following the Court of Appeal judgement which had ruled that use of the mark “Global Ariel” constituted an infringement of P&G’s registered and well-known “ARIEL” trade mark.
  • Represented the Federal Inland Revenue Service in the Federal High Court in a tax dispute against The Shell Petroleum Development.

Bloomfield Law Practice

Bloomfield Law Practice predominantly focuses its disputes practice on shipping disputes, labour and employment, and general commercial litigation and arbitration. Adedoyin Afun is the key contact for disputes related to international trade, oil and gas and transportation matters in Nigeria. Adekunle Obebe specialises in commercial litigation and tax disputes.

Practice head(s):

Adedoyin Afun

Key clients

Monjasa AS

Telford Offshore Limited

Sea Trucks Group Limited

Aramex Delivery Services

Quest Shipping Limit

Work highlights

  • Acting for Mocoh Oil and Gas in lawsuit filed at the Lagos State High Court for recovery of $3.1m in connection with the sale of AGO to a Nigerian oil trading company.
  • Successfully represented the employee of a multinational oil and gas company at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria in a claim for outstanding redundancy benefits.
  • Representing Quest Shipping Ltd in the Federal High Court concerning a maritime claim arising from a ship collision.

Odujinrin & Adefulu

Core areas of activity for Odujinrin & Adefulu include representing corporate clients in civil lawsuits, as counsel in arbitration proceedings and also handling mediations. Lucky Ayeki, who heads up the practice, recently represented a multinational company in a ₦500m lawsuit concerning environmental pollution.

Practice head(s):

Lucky Ayeki

Royal Heritage

Royal Heritage focuses on commercial, civil and corporate litigation. It is notably strong in cases centred on insurance, personal injury, product liability, financial services and commercial fraud. In addition, other contentious matters concern admiralty, shipping and insolvency. Key contacts include managing partner Adremi Adekile, who is often supported by Sussan Oluchi Agu and Okon Uye.

Practice head(s):

Adremi Adekile

The New Practice (TNP)

The New Practice (TNP) handles a myriad of disputes, including those connected with the banking and financial services, real estate and construction, telecoms, tax and oil and gas sectors. Commercial litigation and arbitration specialist Babajimi Ayorinde is the head of the practice.

Practice head(s):

Babajimi Ayorinde

Key clients

Flour Mills of Nigeria

Persianans Properties

Pagatech Limited

Primera Africa Finance

Krane Grinaker-LTA Construction Ltd

Work highlights

  • Represented Krane Grinaker-LTA Construction Ltd in a major complex construction contract dispute and got a judgment of over N3bn against Mobil Nigeria Plc.