USORO, Mr. Paul (SAN)

Born September 07, 1958
in

Ukana Ikot Ntuen town in Essien Udim LGA, Akwa Ibom State

Mr

USORO

PAUL

LL.B., B.L. FCI Arb;

Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN, is the Founder and Senior Partner of Paul Usoro & Co. He has over 30 years’ experience and is acknowledged as a nationally acclaimed litigator and Nigeria’s foremost communications law expert. His expertise covers the entire gamut of commercial practice including finance, banking, oil and gas, power, election petition and communications practice areas. He has advised a wide range of blue chip Nigerian and foreign companies in the areas of project finance and development, equity raising, infrastructure development and management buy-outs. He has served as the Chief Legal Consultant/ Sole Legal Practitioner for Nigeria and the only African in the six-member Auction Control Team for the Global Systems of Mobile Communications (GSM) Spectrum Licence Auction that introduced Econet Wireless Networks Limited (now Airtel), MTN Communications Limited and NITEL GSM to the Nigerian market. On August 20, 2018, Mr Usoro was elected as President of the Nigerian Bar Association.
Gender: Male
Name of Spouse Mfon Ekong Usoro
State of Origin: Akwa Ibom State
Father's Name
Father's Status N/A
Mother's Name
Mother's Status N/A

Has Two Children

Profession Legal Practitioner , Telecommunications/ICT Law Expert , Administrator
Working Experience Benue State House of Assembly, 1982 , George Uloko & Co, 1982 -1983 , Sani Mohammed, Kuso & Co, 1983-1984

Founder and Senior Partner, Paul Usoro & Co (PUC), 1985-till date; Pioneer director, Econet Wireless Networks Limited (now known as Airtel Nigeria Limited), 2001-; Astute Trainer, Faculty of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS); Chairman, Board, Audit Committee, Airtel Nigeria Limited, 2010-; Director, (and Chairman, Board, People & Governance Committee) PZ Cussons, 2011; Director (and Member, Board, Audit Committee, Risk Management Committee and Credit & Finance Committee), Access Bank, 2014-; Chairman, Board, Remuneration Committee and Governance & Nomination Committee, Access Bank; Chairman, Board of Directors, Marina Securities Ltd, 2011-; President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), 2018-;

Previous Appointments:

– Director and Akwa Ibom State representative, Econet Wireless Nigeria ltd;

– External Counsel, Nigerian Telecommunications ltd;

– Consultant, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC);

– Member, Auction Control Team, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC);

– Member, Digital Mobile License and Spectrum Slots Auction, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), 2001;

– Leader, three-man team, draft Communication Bill, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC);

– Consultant and team leader, enabling legislation for the Communications Industry, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC);

– Consultant, Draft Communication Bill, Nigeria’s House of Representatives;

– Head, Team, final draft of the agreement, NITEL Carrier License to meet International standards; Legal adviser, Telnet consortium on its bid for 51% equity interest in NITEL;

– Leader/Legal Adviser, Interconnectivity Agreement between NITEL and licensed private network operators, 1995-97;

– Project leader, preparation of standard commercial agreement, between NITEL and value added service providers and payphone companies;

– Leader, final reviewed standard agreements, terms of NITEL interconnectivity and commercial agreement, min. of Communications, 1998;

– NITEL representative, negotiation of the construction and management Agreement for the laying of the SAT-3/SAFE/WASC transcontinental fibre-optic cable product;

– Consultant, incorporation, licensing and equipment purchases, telecommunications Companies;

– Consultant and alternate Chairman, Legal Sub-Committee, Multi Lateral Trade Issue, Federal Government of Nigeria;

– Member, Constitution review committee, Association of Communications Companies;

– Publisher, Communication, monthly Newsletter;

– Pioneer Director, Board of Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET);

– Pioneer Chairman, NBET Board’s Audit Committee;

– Director, Board, Premium Pensions Limited, 2008-2014;

– Chairman, Audit Committee, Premium Pensions Limited;

– Board Member, CR Services (Credit Bureau) Plc (representing Zenith Bank);

– Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators;
– Member, National Executive Committee, Legal Profession Regulation Review Committee and Founding Chairman, Communications Committee, Section on Business Law, Nigerian Bar Association;
– Member, International Bar Association;
– Founding Secretary General, Telecommunications Law Association;
– Member, Nigerian Economic Summit Group.

University of Ife, Ile-Ife, Osun State, 1981; Nigerian Law School, 1982; Harvard Business School, Boston, USA; Fontainebleau Campus of INSEAD, France
N/A

– Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), 2003.
– ‘Best Pan African Telecoms Lawyer of All Times’ by the IT and Telecom Digest, Nigeria.

PAPERS AND SCHOLARLY WORKS:

– “Telecommunications Law and Regulations”. Paper presented at the Legal Advisers/Law Officers Course organized by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.

– “Drafting Commercial Agreements and Banking Documents: Telecommunications Contracts”. Paper presented annually from 2003 to Course participants at Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Lagos Campus.

– “Licensing Procedures under Communications Act 2003”. Paper presented at the Nigerian Bar Association, Port Harcourt Branch Bar Seminar/Law Week in Port Harcourt.

– “Emerging Nigerian Communications Industry and the Role of Lawyers”. Paper presented at the 2004 Annual Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association held in Abuja.

– “Frontloading under Akwa Ibom State High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2009”. Lead Presentation at Joint Workshop by the 3 Nigerian Bar Association Branches (Uyo, Ikot Ekpene and Eket) in Akwa Ibom State.

– “E-Legal Practice and the Prospects of Litigation in Nigeria”. Lead Paper presented at a Session of the Nigerian Bar Association’s Section of Legal Practice Maiden Conference in Abuja.

– “Creating an Enabling Legal Environment for Information Technology”. Presented at NITDA organized “E-Nigeria” Workshop in Abuja.

– “Nigerian Issues on Interconnectivity Arrangements”. Presented at the International Conference on Electronic Commerce and Telecommunications in Lagos.

– Commentary on Paper presented by Chief E A O Idowu titled “Bills of Lading: Practical Implications – Today and Tomorrow”. Commentary made at 6th Annual Maritime Seminar for Judges in Abuja.

– “Legal Significance of and Issues on Electronic Bill of Lading”. Presented at the Annual Maritime Seminar for Judges in Abuja.

– “Legal Framework for Introduction of E-Commerce”. Presented at US Embassy organized CTO Week in Lagos.

– “Digital Mobile Licence Auction: The Success Story and the Challenges therefrom”. Presented at the Lagos Business School in Lagos.

– “Drafting Commercial Agreements Banking Documents: Telecommunications Contracts”. Presented at Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Lagos.

Mr Usoro was the first student from Nigeria’s ethnic minorities as at that time to occupy the office of the President of the Law Society of Ife, University of Ife, Ile-Ife, Osun State.

SOME OF HIS ADVOCACY EXPERIENCE ARE PRESENTED HEREUNDERː

– Mr Usoro was pivotal to the recovery of N16 billion for Access Bank Plc in a highly controversial multijurisdictional dispute against a Nigerian company. The dispute involved multiple complex cases: 8 (eight) within Nigeria and a few others spanning over a number of jurisdictions including, the United Kingdom, Greece, Netherlands and South Africa. He played the leading role in the negotiation of a global settlement agreement between the parties.

– Mr Usoro represented the immediate past Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Governor Godswill Obot Akpabio, CON in three (3) 2011 pre-election matters. All 3 matters traversed the rungs of Nigeria’s superior Courts, starting from the Federal High Court and terminating at the Supreme Court and the judgments at each point were in favour of the former Governor.

– Mr Usoro was the strategist and coordinating anchor for the defence of Akwa Ibom State in the Supreme Court oil well matters between Akwa Ibom State on the one hand and Rivers and Cross River States respectively on the other hand. These cases were determined in 2011 and the outcome thereof was Akwa Ibom State’s retention of most of its oil wells that were the bone of contention in the suits.

– Mr Usoro represented the immediate past Group Managing Director of Access Bank, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede and the current Group Managing Director of Access Bank, Mr Herbert Wigwe in a Suit against the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN). The Suit challenged the statutory powers of FRCN to investigate issues of mergers and acquisitions and other business combinations and in particular the acquisition of Intercontinental Bank Plc (IBPLC) by Access Bank Plc. The Court in an erudite judgment delivered on 24 October 2014, granted all the reliefs claimed and perpetually restrained FRCN from investigating the acquisition of IBPLC by Access Bank Plc which was declared a closed transaction.

– Mr Usoro championed the amicable resolution of the dispute between Stanbic IBTC Bank, Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria FRCN and the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP). Paul’s stellar dispute resolution skills ensured that the parties resolved the most contentious issues out of court, following which FRCN issued its written approval of Stanbic IBTC’s restated 2013 and 2014 Financial Statements.

– Mr Usoro represented the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel and his political party in about 35 pre-election lawsuits from 2015, particularly at the Governorship and National Assembly levels. All the cases were successfully defended by Paul and his Team. Not a single one of those matters was lost at any of the Courts.

– Mr Usoro was the anchor, strategist and coordinator for the defense of Governor Udom Emmanuel in the 2015 Election Petition right from the Tribunal and up to the Supreme Court. The victory at the Supreme Court indeed vindicated the strategy designed by Paul and his Team.

– Mr Usoro successfully defended the 2015 elections of 11 National Assembly Members from Akwa Ibom State including those of the current Senators, at the Tribunals and the Court of Appeal. It is indeed a testimony to Paul’s legal sagacity and skills that not one of the election-related matters handled by him was lost in 2011 and 2015.

– Mr Usoro successfully defended the Power Holding Company of Nigeria in an arbitration instituted by the Lagos State Government in respect of a dispute pertaining to the terms of a Barge Power Purchase Agreement and a Contribution Agreement. The Lagos State Government’s claim in the sum of over 12 billion Naira was rejected by the arbitrary panel on the basis of PUC’s compelling submissions.

– Mr Usoro played a crucial and leading role in the team that represented a France-based multinational oil servicing company in a landmark litigation against a Nigerian company for the recovery of judgment sums of US$11,628,962.11; US$5,214,939.98; DM212,252,751.11; N26,349,753.61 and US$7,157,865.87. The judgment delivered by the Court of Appeal in the second quarter of 2015 has become alocus classicus in Nigerian jurisprudence on the principles of subrogation of one party for another for purposes of realizing a judgment debt. It is significant to note that Paul was not involved in the proceedings at the High Court of Lagos State which gave rise to this appeal. Indeed, he was engaged for a rescue mission after the appeal had been lodged against the subrogation orders and had to re-engineer the entire strategy of the case for a successful outcome. It is a tribute to his skill that the subrogation orders earlier made against the French Company were completely overturned and it was found not to be liable howsoever for the judgment debts.

– As part of the legal team representing the Senate President, Dr. Olubukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Mr Usoro’s winning litigation strategy totally reversed the narrative surrounding the much-publicized trial of the Senate President from hopeless to not guilty. Mr Usoro’s strategic cross examination succeeded in discrediting both the oral and documentary evidence adduced at trial by the Prosecution. The legal team’s success resulted in dismissal of the case by the Code of Conduct Tribunal on the ground that noprima facie case was established against the Senate President. The success indeed represents a landmark victory and one of the few instances where a “No Case Submission” has been upheld in a controversial matter of such nature.

SOME OF HIS CORE ICT REGULATORY AND TRANSACTION EXPERIENCES ARE HIGHLIGHTED HEREUNDER:

– He drafted the Nigerian Communications (Enforcement Processes etc.) Regulations, 2005;

– He drafted the Annual Operating Levy Regulations, 2014;

– He acted as sole legal consultant to the NCC in respect of the Mobile Number Portability and drafted the Mobile Number Portability Regulations, 2014 as part of that assignment;

– He was involved in the preparation (on behalf of NCC), of a National Carrier Licence and an International Gateway Licences for NITEL, a hitherto unlicensed monopoly;

– He acted as lead legal consultants to NCC for the Second National Operator licensing processes, including the auction and preparation of the 3 SNO licences; the process produced Globacom Limited as Nigeria’s Second National Carrier;

– He assisted in the preparation of the Interconnectivity Agreement between NITEL and licensed private network operators;

– He represented NITEL in the negotiation of the Construction and Management Agreement for the laying of the SAT-3/SAFE/WASC trans-continental fibre-optic cable project which spans the sub-Saharan African Continent and extends to Far East Asia through Southern Africa, with European landing points. This was the first trans-continental cable project in sub-Saharan Africa

Mr Usoro is known for his ability to effortlessly function as a team player and a team leader. His keen attention to details and talent for logical analysis, even under the riotous waves of pressure, have produced, and will keep producing towering achievements.

As a matter of practice and personal conviction, Mr Usoro believes in and is committed to youth empowerment, diversity and inclusion.

Mr Usoro and his firm, Paul Usoro & Co. (PUC) sponsors the Lawyers’ Table Tennis Open (Mfon Usoro Cup), a Table Tennis tournament open to lawyers from within and outside Lagos. It is nicknamed the largest sporting event among lawyers. Prizes include fully paid return flight ticket to the International Bar Association (“IBA”) Conferences and other attractive prizes for 2nd and 3rd positions.

OFFICIAL ADDRESSESː

LAGOS OFFICE

3rd Floor, Plot 1668B Oyin Jolayemi Street
P O Box 71605,
Victoria Island,
Lagos, Nigeria.
Tel: +234 (01) 2714842-5
Fax: +234 (01) 2714846

ABUJA OFFICE

Abia House
Central Business District,
Abuja, Nigeria.
Tel: +234 (09) 623 2182

UYO OFFICE

1st Floor, Left Wing,
APICO House, Abak Road,
P. O. Box 2212, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.
Tel: +234 85 203690

KADUNA OFFICE:

A3, Ahmadu Bello Way,
P O Box 2650,
Kaduna, Nigeria.
Tel: +234 (62) 214 400

EMAIL: info@paulusoro.com

WEBSITE: www.paulusoro.com

+234 (0)1 271 4840
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