Biography of Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN Top Contender, NBA President.

Mazi Afam Osigwe was born on October 25, 1972. He graduated from the University of Nigeria Enugu Campus in 1997 and was called to the Bar in 1999. He started his law practice with Chike Chigbue and Co, Abuja Office in 1999 and left in 2002 to set up his firm, LAW FORTE (Legal Practices, Business Advisors and Notary) which was incorporated in 2002.

In 2006, he was appointed Notary Public of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. In 2010, he completed a face-to-face tutorial at Keble College, Oxford, and obtained a Diploma in International Commercial Arbitration. In 2011, he was appointed Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK).

In 2010 he completed a face-to-face tutorial at Keble College, Oxford, and obtained a Diploma in International Commercial Arbitration. Afam became a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) in 2011.
In 2007, he obtained a Master’s of Laws Degree (LL.M) from the University of Jos. Afam also holds an LL.M in (Transnational Commercial Practice) from the Centre for International Legal Studies, Austria (in collaboration with Lazarsky University, Poland). He is yet to complete his doctoral program.

Afam has at various times had occasion to do research and litigation in various areas of law including corporate law, land law, banking law, intellectual property, international trade law, telecommunications, energy, oil and gas law, domestic arbitration, international commercial arbitration etc. He has a special preference for commercial and financial practices and litigation. He is also the company secretary/legal advisor to many companies.

Afam continued to work with a number of law firms in Nigeria and has worked with them on various occasions on issues of international trade law as they arose in the provision of legal services to their clients.
Afam has acted as a lawyer in many arbitration proceedings and has also served as a sole arbitrator or member of arbitral tribunals in commercial disputes. He is an avid reader and researcher.

As a member of the NBA Abuja Branch, he has at various times had the privilege of serving on the following committees of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja Branch:

  1. NBA Abuja Law Reporting Committee – 2003-2005,
  2. NBA Abuja Bar Dinner/Awards Committee – 2004.
  3. Secretary, Commission for Continuing Legal Education – 2004-2006.
  4. Secretary, Commission for Continuing Legal Education – 2008-2010.
  5. Deputy Chairman of the LOC of the NEC organised by NBA Abuja Branch – June 2011.
  6. LOC Vice President for the 2012 Annual General Conference.
  7. Joined the TCPC of the 2012 NBA Annual General Conference.
  8. Ex-officio member of the TCPC for the NBA Annual General Conferences in 2015 and 2016.
    Besides being a member of the NBA committees, Abuja Afam was also appointed a member of the following committees by the Chief Justice of the FCT, Abuja –
  9. Commission for the Revision of the Rules of Civil Procedure of the Supreme Court from 2011 to the present.
  10. Committee for the Review of ADR Laws and Rules – 2011 to date.

NBA LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE
Afam was Publicity Secretary (PRO) of NBA Abuja from 2006 to 2008. From 2010 to 2010, he was the chairman of the department.
As Chairman of NBA Abuja Branch, the Branch organised an NEC meeting in June 2011, an NBA Delegates Conference in July 2012 and an Annual General Conference in August 2012. He was a member of NEC from 2011 to 2013 but was an observer for many years before that. He was also the Editor-in-Chief of Unity Voice (NBA Abuja’s monthly newsletter) from 2011 to 2013.

Under his able leadership, Unity Bar FC (NBA Abuja football club) was transformed into a laurel winning team. The team won the silver medal at the Port Harcourt football tournament, the annual general conference and the gold medal at the Abuja annual general conference respectively. The successes the team achieved would rightly be attributed to his unwavering dedication to sports and physical development as well as his unwavering commitment to nothing but the best.

He was the last person to hold office as Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja Branch (Unity Bar) for the entire Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Bwari and Gwagwalada Branches were created during his tenure as Chairman of the Unity Bar. With the consent of the Chairmen of Bwari and Gwagwalada Branches of the NBA, he became the first Chairman of Chairmen of NBA Branches in the FCT in 2012.
He was sworn in as Secretary General of the Nigerian Bar Association in August 2014 and served in that capacity until the expiration of his term on 26 August 2016. He served as Secretary General under President Augustine Alegeh SAN, during whose tenure the following programmes were successfully introduced:

  1. The personalized NBA adhesive stamp, approved by the NBA National Executive Committee pursuant to Rule 10(1) of the Rules of Legal Conduct, for mandatory use on all legal documents.
  2. E-voting, universal suffrage and uniform statutes for departments, sections and forums in the NBA constitution;
  3. Introduction of a uniform NBA identity card (Bar Card) which will function as a payment card for ATM, POS and online transactions and will also entitle lawyers to various discounts and other packages negotiated by the NBA;
  4. Automatic insurance coverage for all lawyers who have paid their attorney fees;
  5. Reduction of the dues for our annual general conference;
  6. NBA Partner Discounts with business partners who offer attorneys discounts on their goods and services;
  7. The development of the new NBA House in Abuja’s Central Business District has been completed.
  8. Topics to be discussed during the NEC are written proposals/counterproposals that are submitted and circulated to all NEC members.

DISCUSSION AND/OR PRESENTATION OF PAPERS AT CONFERENCES
Afam has been a paper presenter and/or discussant at the NBA Annual General Conferences in Calabar, Owerri, Port Harcourt, Abuja since 2011. He has also presented a paper at the Young Lawyers Forum at the YLF National Summit in Abuja, Benin and Uyo in 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively. He has also presented and/or discussed papers at Law weeks of many branches.

In 2015, Afam presented a paper at the IBA Bar Issues Commission session during the IBA Conference in Vienna. His paper entitled ‘Legal Ethics Involved in the Struggle for Self-Regulation of the Legal Profession in Nigeria in Respect of the Provisions of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011’ was delivered during the session that focused on ‘Managing Conflict in a Global Practice – 21st Century Challenges in Legal Ethics and Common Morality’.

COMMUNITY SERVICE
Afam provides pro bono legal assistance to needy persons who are facing criminal proceedings, are in prison or whose rights have been or are at risk of being violated.
He was also secretary and deputy legal advisor to his city’s trade union.
Afam served as a Public Prosecutor at the Lawyers Disciplinary Commission of the Body of Benchers from 2012 to 2014. In 2014, he was elected Secretary General of the Nigerian Bar Association.

MEMBERSHIP OF CERTAIN BODIES
He has been a member of the following organizations:

  1. Member of the Benchers Body – from May 2016
  2. Member of the Council for Legal Education from 2015-
  3. Member of the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria – from September 2014 to August 2016.
  4. Member, NBA National Executive Committee – 2010-2012
  5. Member of the General Council of the Dutch Bar Association – from 2015-
  6. Member of the NBA National Executive Committee for Life – since August 2016
  7. Member of the NBA Abuja Elderly Committee, December 2010 – August 2015.
  8. Member, Advisory Committee, NBA Abuja September 2015-

MEMBERSHIP OF PROFESSIONAL BODIES
Afam is a member of the International Bar Association, the Nigerian Institute of Management, the Fellow Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) and the Institute of Chartered Mediators & Conciliators.
He is a Knight of Saint Christopher.

HOBBIES
Reading, researching, writing, sightseeing and taking photographs.

FAMILY LIFE
Afam is married to his college sweetheart, Ukamaka Osigwe, LL.M (Turin). Their marriage is blessed with three children: Chilbuzor, Chiemelie and Chidumebi. He is also a foster father to Amarachukwu, his late elder brother’s daughter.

About the author