Legal Luminary Profile: Joe-Kyari Gadzama, OFR, MFR, SAN…


Joe-Kyari Gadzama, OFR, MFR, SAN, FNIALS, FICMC, DiplCArb, FCIArb, FNICArb, C.Arb. was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1986 and enrolled at the Supreme Court of Nigeria the same year, after undergoing his undergraduate studies at the University of Maiduguri where he emerged as the best graduating student in the Common Law Department. He obtained a diploma in International Commercial Arbitration from Keble College, Oxford University, UK in 2006. Shortly after, he graduated from the Institute for Public-Private Partnerships (IP3), Allington, USA in 2009 before completing a short course on regulation at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2010.

He was appointed Notary Public in June 1996 and was elevated to the worthy rank of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in 1998. His professional experience spans a vast area of adjectival and substantive law. As one of the Country’s most highly regarded lawyers, he has for three decades been an external solicitor to several Merchant, Commercial, Development, and Industrial Banks; adviser to major multinational corporations, indigenous companies, organizations and a network of high net-worth individuals in Nigeria. He was the lead Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and major political parties in the Country.

He is registered with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), Abuja as a Capital Market Consultant and was a partner in the legal consortium of Legal Advisory Partnership (LAP); comprising of foreign and indigenous lawyers charged with the responsibility of providing legal services to the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), from April 2004 to July 2007. He was a Legal Consultant to the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), the Secretariat of the National Council on Privatization (NCP) – chaired by the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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J-K’s expertise is also valued internationally. His expert opinion on the nature of damages recoverable under Nigerian Law was sought in Toulouse, France in a Litigation filed in 2015 involving one of the world’s largest aircraft manufacturers. He has been recognized by the Intercontinental Finance Magazine (ICFM) in 2015 as one of the 500 leading lawyers in the world. He was appointed as a Liquidator to wind up the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) PLC and to also provide Legal Advisory Services for the winding-up process.

Due to his strong anti-corruption record, he was appointed Chairman, Legal Team of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Chairman, National Working Group on the Rome Statute constituted by the office of the Hon. Attorney-General of the Federation. Until recently, J-K was a Federal Commissioner/Board Member of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission of Nigeria (ICRC) under the Chairmanship of Chief Ernest Shonekan, Former Interim Head of State of Nigeria; Board Member, Diamond Pension Fund Custodian, and Board Member, University of Benin Governing Council.

J-K is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and one of the few Chartered Arbitrators in Nigeria. He has been featured on “Who’s Who Legal” as an Arbitration Expert and is the current Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Janada International Centre for Arbitration and Mediation (JICAM). He was also a former Chair of the Abuja Chapter of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Nigeria.

J-K is a Life Bencher of the Body of Benchers in Nigeria; a body consisting of legal practitioners of the highest distinction saddled with the responsibility for the formal call to Bar of persons seeking to become legal practitioners as well as the disciplining of erring practitioners. As a result of his commitment to the development of young lawyers in the profession, he was recently appointed in 2021 by the Chief Justice of Nigeria as the Chairman of the Mentoring Committee for Young Lawyers of the Body of Benchers.

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Due to his support for the Nigerian Bar Association and his ability to provide solutions on issues affecting members of the Nigerian Bar Association (‘NBA’), he was recently appointed on the 16th day of December,2021 by Mr. Olumide Akpata the President of the NBA as the Chairman of the NBA Security Agencies Relations Committee.

J-K is a successful family man with six children and two grandchildren. Two of his children have been called to the Nigerian Bar. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, travelling, golfing, hiking and swimming.


  • International Bar Association
  • Nigerian Bar Association
  • Lincoln’s Inn, United Kingdom
  • American Bar Association
  • International Division of the Law Society of England and Wales
  • Bar of England and Wales
  • South Eastern Circuit of the Bar of England and Wales
  • American Arbitration Association
  • Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK)
  • Nigerian Institute of Arbitrators
  • African Bar Association (Council Member)
  • Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association
  • Pan African Lawyers’ Union
  • West African Bar Association
  • British Nigerian Law Forum
  • Body of Benchers, Nigeria
  • Abuja Chamber of Commerce ADR Council
  • Chairman, Vox Populi Foundation for Leadership
  • Chairman, Janada International Center for Arbitration and Mediation (JICAM)
  • Pioneer Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL)
  • Pioneer Vice Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Section on Legal Practice
  • Pioneer Council Member, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Section on Business Law
  • Pioneer NBA Golf Captain
  • Former Chairman, Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association
  • Former Chairman, NBA Conference Planning Committee, Jos, 2005
  • Former Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja Branch
  • Pioneer Member, Lagos Court of Arbitration (LCA)
  • Former Member, University of Benin Governing Council
  • Former Captain, IBB International Golf and Country Club
  • Trustee, Lake Chad Club, Maiduguri, Borno State
  • Trustee, Seriake Dickson Golf Club, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State
  • Member, Arewa Consultative Forum
  • Member, Middle Belt Forum
  • Chairman, Board of Trustees of University of Maiduguri Alumni Association
  • Elected Leader, Class 1986 of the Nigerian Law School
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