The Body of Benchers, Nigeria’s elite regulatory body for the legal profession, has appointed Chief James Akingbola Akinola SAN as a member of the organisation.

Rising from its recent quarterly meeting at its headquarters in Abuja, the body approved the nomination of Akinola as one of the representatives for the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). NBA has the largest number of lawyers in Africa as its members.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Akinola is also a Chartered Arbitrator and current Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Nigeria Branch).

The approval is the latest in Akinola’s harvest of appointments, having more recently been appointed as a Board Member of Axa Mansard Insurance Plc representing minority shareholders.

He was the President of the Maritime Arbitrators Association of Nigeria (MAAN) from November 2010 to November 2013 and a member of the Board of Directors of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce International Arbitration Centre (LACIAC).

Others who were also appointed as NBA Representatives include Miannaya Essien SAN, CArb; Ahmed Adeniyi Raji, SAN, FCIArb; Sir Steve Ojomeko Zakar Adehi, SAN, FCIArb; Olawole Fapohunda, SAN; Linda Rose Bala (Mrs.); Adesina Adegbite, Esq.; Amina Ka’oje Suleiman; Ndukwe Nnawuchi SAN, and Olusegun Mobolaji Abimbola, SAN.

Akingbola Akinola graduated Bachelor of Laws (LLB) with honours from the University of Lagos in 1986 after obtaining a B. Sc. with honours in Political Science from the University of Ibadan in 1982. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1987 and admitted to practice as a Solicitor and Barrister of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

He was a State Counsel in the Civil Litigation Department of the Federal Ministry of Justice (in the Attorney General’s Chambers) and later became the Special Assistant to the Solicitor General of the Federation of Nigeria between 1987 and 1988.

He joined the Corporate and Commercial law practice of George Etomi & Partners in January 1989 and became the Head, Litigation Department of the firm (1989-1992). He later established his private practice, Gbola Akinola & Co, in 1992. Prior to Gbola Akinola & Co’s merger with four other practices forming THE LAW UNION in May 1998, he developed a specialty in Corporate and Commercial law litigation, Arbitration, general Maritime and Aviation practice and Environmental issues.

He is a legal practitioner with cognate experience in Corporate and Commercial Law practice and a highly skilled advocate with extensive commercial legal advisory experience. He has acted on several occasions for ship owners, charterers, shippers and marine insurers including P&I Clubs. He has provided advice on several aspects of shipping law including ship arrests, cargo loss and damage, ship sale and purchase, disputes arising out of bills of lading, charter parties, collisions, insurance and other marine related matters.

He has also focused on Aviation, Environmental Law, Civil and Commercial Litigation and Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR). He has acquired considerable experience in negotiation and concluding commercial contracts bordering on acquisition and disposition of aviation and shipping equipment. His contacts are extensive in aviation, shipping, operational, regulatory, support service and corporate finance business within Nigeria and abroad.

He has experience of and continues to seek new challenges in the growing field of Environmental law and practice, waste management, industrial and marine pollution, and green issues both within and outside Nigeria. He has advised clients across the full range of environmental issues, from industrial and marine pollution through waste management and product liability to development control.

Akinola was appointed a Notary Public in May 1998, admitted as an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in November 1999 and became a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in January 2000.

He was appointed as a Special Assistant to the Honourable Minister of Information and later Honourable Minister of Cooperation and Integration in Africa in June 1999.

In June 2000, he was appointed a Special Assistant to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.

He was a Member of the Nigerian Legal Team to the International Court of Justice in the Hague representing Nigeria in the highly contentious Bakassi Case in March 2002.

Professional Association
His professional memberships include International Bar Association, Committee A (Maritime and Transport Law) and Section on General Practice, Committees 5 (Individual Tax and Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts and Succession) and 12 (Civil Litigation); Nigerian Bar Association; Nigerian Maritime Law Association, and Association of Business Law Firms.

Practice Areas
His practice areas include Competition, Construction & Infrastructure, Energy & Natural Resources, Entertainment & Media, Environment, Food & Beverages, Hospitality & Leisure, Insurance, Intellectual Property, International Commercial Disputes, International Investment Disputes, Investment law, Joint Venture, Maritime, Professional Services, Shipping & Commodities, Taxation, Technologies, Telecommunications and Transport.

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