A senior lawyer and foremost legal scholar, Professor Uche Uko Uche is dead. He was almost 60 years at the Bar, having been admitted to the English Bar, Gray’s Inn, London in 1963
Uche is touted as perhaps the first Black lecturer at the University of London where he rose to the position of Professor of Law. He was also a visiting lecturer at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA).
CITY LAWYER gathered from unimpeachable sources that Uche died in London where he had gone for medical treatment some weeks ago.
Born on November 9, 1934 in Ohafia, Abia State, the senior lawyer had his early education at Aggrey Memorial College, Arochukwu between 1948 and 1952 before gaining admission to Teachers’ Training College, Uyo (1954-1955). He proceeded to the University of Ghana, Accra (1958-1961) and was subsequently admitted to the University of Oxford, England for his Master of Laws and PhD degrees (1962-1965).
He was engaged in private legal practice at Messrs A. K. Uche Chambers, Aba between 1965 and 1966. He returned to England and became a Lecturer in African Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London between 1965 and 1976.
A Queen’s Counsel at Messrs Dingle Foot and Desmond Ackner between 1967 and 1972, Uche was appointed Professor of Public Law at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. He became a Consultant at Waruhiu and Waruhiu in Nairobi, Kenya between 1972 and 1977 and established a partnership with Professor Sundstorm in Nordic Law and a Consultancy with Common Market Practice in Brussels, Stockholm and Geneva between 1973 and 1982.
According to BLERF’S Who is Who in Nigeria, Uche has been the Managing Partner of U. U. Uche and Associates, Lagos since 1978 aside from his role as a Senior Legal Consultant for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). He was the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Centre for African Family Studies, Nairobi, Kenya and a member of the Board of Directors of Development Law and Policy Programme, Centre for Population and Family Health, Columbia University, New York, USA (1981). Uche was also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of African Continental Bank (ACB), Lagos and a member of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL).
A prolific text writer and former President of Otu Oka Iwu (Law Society), Uche holds the traditional title of Ugwumba of Isiama, Ohafia, Abia State. His publications include Contractual Obligations in Ghana and Nigeria (Cass, 1971); Law and Population Growth in Kenya (1974); Law and Population Change in Africa (East African Literature Bureau, 1976), and Civil Procedure in Anglophone Africa (East African Publishing Bureau, 1976). His hobbies included lawn tennis and golf.
Speaking on his return to Nigeria, Uche told a national daily that “Before I finished my Masters programme and register for my PhD in the University of London. I was appointed a lecturer at the University teaching law at the School of Oriental and African studies which was one of the five colleges of the University of London.
“As a staff, I got seconded to the University of Nairobi, Kenya as Dean of Law originally for two years and after two years they wanted a second helping for four years and four years, they wanted some more helping for six years but I said no that I have to go back to London.
“I went back to London but the pressure to come back to Nigeria was strong because my uncle who was then the first Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos told me he was in bad health and that I should come back to Nigeria. I was visiting professor at the Institute of International Affairs for one year and in 1978 started a law practice.”
Uche got married to Gladys Adaibe Nwuke, a former Director of National Library of Nigeria in 1964. They had two sons and three daughters, including Mrs. Ijeoma Onyeator of CHANNELS Television.
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