Law And Society Forum, presents to you their chosen Personality of the week;
The Man; Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN, LL.M (Jos), LL.M (Lazarsky), FCIArb (UK)
Please permit me to say few things about him.
Mazi Afam Osigwe (AJ or MAO), was called to the Bar in September 1999. He became a Notary Public of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, in 2006. He holds a Master of Laws Degree (LL.M) from the University of Jos (2010) and another Master of Laws (LLM) degree in (Transnational Commercial Practice) from the Centre for International Legal Studies, Austria (in collaboration with the Lazarsky University, Poland.
In pursuance of his quest to diversify his legal practice as well as deepen his knowledge of alternative dispute resolution, he concluded a face-to-face tutorial at Keble College, Oxford, United Kingdom, and obtained a Diploma in International Commercial Arbitration, of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK). He became a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) in 2011.
He has served the NBA in various capacities. He served as Publicity Secretary (2006-08), at NBA Abuja and as the Chairman of the Branch (2010-12). As a member of the NBA Abuja Branch, he had the privilege to serve in the following Committees of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja Branch: Law Reporting Committee – 2003-2005, NBA Abuja Bar Dinner/Awards Committee – 2004, Secretary, Committee on Continuing Legal Education – 2005-2007, Secretary, Committee on Continuing Legal Education – 2004-06 and 2008 -2010, Alternate Chairman for the LOC of the NEC hosted by NBA Abuja Branch – June 2011, Alternate Chairman of the LOC for the 2012 Annual General Conference, Co-opted member of the TCPC of 2012 Annual General Conference.As Chairman of the NBA Abuja Branch, the Branch hosted a NEC Meeting in June 2011, NBA Delegates Conference in July 2012, and Annual General Conference in August 2012. He was a member of NEC from 2011 to 2013 but was an observer for many years before then. He was also the Editor-In-Chief of the Unity Voice (the monthly newsletter of NBA Abuja) from 2011-2013. Under his able leadership the Unity Bar FC (the football club of NBA Abuja), was transformed into a laurel-winning team. The team won the silver medal at the Football Tournaments during the Annual General Conference held in Port Harcourt, and the Gold medal during the Annual General Conference held in Abuja, respectively. The successes achieved by the team would rightly be attributed to his unwavering dedication to sports and physical development as well as settling for nothing but the best.
He was the last person to hold office as the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja Branch (Unity Bar) for the whole Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Bwari and Gwagwalada Branches were created during his tenure as Chairman of the Unity Bar. By 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.
Aside from being a member of the Committees of NBA, Abuja, Afam was also appointed a member of the following Committees by the Chief Judge of the FCT, Abuja, Committee for the Review of High Court (Civil Procedure Rules) of the FCT- 2011- 14 and 2023, Committee on the Review of ADR Laws and Rules – 2011-14.
He served as General Secretary of the NBA (2014-16). He was a member Legal Aid Council of Nigeria (2014-16), a member Council of Legal Education (2015-18), a member General Council of the Bar (2015-2022), and a Life Bencher (Life member of the Body of Benchers of Nigeria). Afam has been providing pro bono consultancy services to Non-Governmental Organizations on the subject of Human Rights in Africa. He has also provided pro bono legal representations to indigent persons undergoing criminal trials.Afam was, until he was elected the Secretary General of NBA, a prosecutor at the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee of the Body of Benchers from 2012-2014. He was also the Chairman of the NBA Election Working Group On the 2019 Gubernatorial And Houses of Assembly Elections, Chairman of the NBA Election Working Group On the 2019 Kogi & Bayelsa Gubernatorial, Elections, Alternate Chairman NBA Constitution Review Committee (2020-22), etc. He is the Chairman of the 2023 Nigerian Bar Association Annual General Conference Planning Committee.
He believes that we must have a Bar which will always be the strong voice of the Legal profession, cares about the welfare of its members as well as protecting them in the various spheres where they practise their profession. The NBA, he insists, must therefore put in place and implement policies to encourage wider involvement and participation of all demographics of its membership/ lawyers in its activities. He also believes that the Bar should help create opportunities where every lawyer can realize and maximize their potentials- those who dare, win; A Bar in which no lawyer is despised or discriminated against; where the young and the old have a role and a voice in its administration; where those who are dedicated to the actualization of their dreams receive a befitting recompense for their efforts; where every lawyer can use the power which lies within him/her to be men/women of destiny.
Afam is a member of the International Bar Association, Nigerian Institute of Management, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK), and Institute of Chartered Mediators & Conciliators, and he is also an Associate Member of the American Bar Association. He was conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in December 2020.
He has a special bias for advisory and litigation practice. Particularly, he offers a wide range of specialised legal services in respect of banking and commercial transactions, banking and corporate services, commercial and financial practice, cross-border commercial practice, intellectual property practice, money laundering, and financial crimes litigation. He has a special bias for advisory and litigation practice. Particularly, he offers a wide range of specialised legal services in respect of banking and commercial transactions, banking and corporate services, commercial and financial practice, cross-border commercial practice, intellectual property practice, money laundering, and financial crimes litigation.He is the Senior Partner of LAW FORTE, a firm of legal practitioners, arbitrators, and notaries.
Afam is a prolific writer, discussant, and public affairs analyst. He has presented papers at many conferences of the NBA and other Associations.