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Emeka Akabogu Celebrates 50th Birthday, Launches Maritime Law Books

Emeka Akabogu Celebrates 50th Birthday, Launches Maritime Law Books

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It was an evening of ecstasy and joy as family, friends and associates graced the 50th birthday occasion of Dr. Emeka Akabogu, a maritime legal expert. The celebration was followed by the launching of two books, Ship Arrest in Nigeria and Nigerian Ports Law for the maritime industry.

Focusing on the biography of Akabogu, initially he had in mind to study Biochemistry, but at the age of 17, he made his first big decision, a radical change of course from medicine to law. He went back to secondary school and enrolled for subjects in the arts and eventually he got admission to the law faculty of the University of Lagos. He graduated from the University of Lagos in 1998.

Akabogu is a commercial lawyer with specialist interests in maritime, energy and international trade law. He is a senior partner at the law firm, Akabogu and Associates which is active in shipping, maritime, petroleum and international trade representation. A litigator, an arbitrator, he combines his legal skills with an in-depth understanding of marketing oppressions in the shipping and petroleum sectors. His experience spans consulting, legal representation both disputes and transactions.

He has wide management capacity development and major academic contributions in his field and pioneering business promotional and industry engagement initiatives.

Akabogu worked under his boss, Olisa Agbakoba, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and it is therefore not surprising that he is instrumental to a number of significant legal instruments in the Nigerian maritime industry, including the coastal and inland shipping cabotage Act 2003, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Act 2007, the Nigerian ship detention regulations merchant shipping Act among others.

Akabogu has represented and continuously represent a diverse range of clients across multidisciplinary and specialist areas of law, achieve landmark successes and considerable commercial benefits for clients. He has also anchored crucial capacity development initiatives in the Nigerian maritime and petroleum sectors and trained thousands of operators and practitioners on markets, operations, policies and laws.

Dr. Akabogu holds a master’s degree (LLM) from the University College London in addition to Magistrate jurist and doctorate degrees from International Maritime Law Institute, Malta. He is the first African to receive a PhD in IMLI history. He is also the editor of Journal of Contemporary Nigerian admiralty law and publisher of Marine and Petroleum Nigeria. He is the author of Major Industry Tax, Maritime Cabotage in Nigeria, and those being presented. He is the Executive Vice Chairman of OTL downstream development African limited, a Pan African initiative for promotion of downstream petroleum business and policy. He’s also the founder of Nigeria International Maritime Summit (NIMS), which advocates for operators and professionals in Nigeria’s maritime industry.

The OTL African Downstream Week, a product of the mastermind of Dr. Akabogu has become the biggest downstream energy event in Africa, attracting worldwide participation for the energy oil and gas sectors for the past 18 years.

Recipient of numerous industry awards of excellence, Dr. Akabogu is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Shipping and a member of the Nigerian Bar Association, Maritime Association of Nigeria, Nigerian Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and Energy Institute.

He is also a member of the Board of Governors of the Center for Petroleum Information, and currently serves on the Executive Council of the Nigerian Maritime Law Association as Honourary Secretary. Deploying skills and resources, Dr. Akabogu undertakes a considerable amount of pro bono services in need of indigent persons and pretrial custody. As a result, he has a passion for justice sector reform towards civil administration of criminal justice.

He also has a strong interest in social economic development, facilitation of efficient transport and infrastructure development initiatives.

Speaking at the event, Director General (DG) of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh said in a lighter mood that “When they told me that he clocked 50 I begin to crack my brain. When did I know him? Today, I have almost spent thirty years in NIMASA and I met Akabogu and today is 50, so at what age did Doctor start the practice? That’s my concern. Is it 17 or 18?”

He added: “to the maritime practitioners here and stakeholders, you will attest to the fact that this young man can never be 50 I think when I look at him very well he looked like 17 with thirty-three years experience or alternatively we call him maybe 15 with thirty-five years wisdom. This is why we converge here today to wish him a happy birthday.”

The NIMASA DG said Akabogu has made impact in the maritime industry. “But I want to remind you that scientists say everything that goes up must come down but your age, experience and wisdom will never come down.”

“On behalf of the industry and stakeholders, we wish to congratulate and thank you for this gift of two books. This is what we are lacking in the industry, we don’t have much books for our younger generation, so anybody who has the opportunity to sacrifice his time and put pen to papers and keep such experience like this, the maritime industry in Nigeria will keep on growing. I sincerely wish you happy birthday on behalf of NIMASA, we say kudos and thank you for your contribution.”

Giving his appreciation speech, Dr. Akabogu told the audience, “I actually turned 50 last month in December 2023, but we are in the peak of Christmas celebration and I asked myself how will I mark my 50th birthday?” I guess everyone gravitates in the direction that he or she has a passion for.

“The books that were presented today constitute one of those things which have occupied my time. It’s valuable to the industry in which I work and puts food on the table for me.”

“I said let me present it as gift to the industry in my 50th birthday and this is the idea of this event.”

A question arose as I was discussing with my wife. How do we do this? Let’s call the industry, but if we call the industry will they respond? If we call the industry, will they have time?

The attendance here this evening gives me a lot of joy and encouragement.

Dr. Akabogu family members, school friends both in Federal Government College, Okigwe, University of Lagos, Nigerian Law School, colleagues in the industry graced the occasion.

He thanked and appreciated DG of NIMASA, MD of NPA and Minister of Transport and Blue Economy and Permanent Secretary were represented including Nigeria Shippers Council, Executive Secretary, through the Deputy Director for legal services were all in attendance.

Government establishment most of which are regulators of the maritime sector such as Nigeria Chambers of Shipping, President Ship Owners Association of Nigeria among others. The industry was fully represented including former Director General of Ghana Maritime Authority and former permanent representative at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), virtually all the agencies were in attendance.

It was not only the maritime industry, Akabogu’s friends in the oil and gas industry attended the birthday and book launch.

According to Dr. Akabogu, there is symbiotic relationship between maritime and oil and gas industry hence, the Executive Secretary of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Secretary of Depot and Petroleum Products Markets Association (DAPPA) were present at the event.

“I can’t really begin to say how deeply touched I am I just want to say thank you for all the encouragement that everybody here has given me.”

The grateful Akabogu made it known that the industry encourages him to do what he did and “in collaboration we’ll keep doing what we need to do.”

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