The Nigerian Society of International Law (NSIL) and other renowned legal practitioners are soliciting for stronger positioning of Nigeria amongst the comity of nations, emphasizing that the country needs more international lawyers.
This is coming as the society, yesterday, in Lagos awarded renowned legal luminaries, Professor Bola Akinterinwa, Professor Akin Oyebode and Professor Momodu Kassim-Momodu as fellows of the society, which has been in place since 1968.
Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, President of the society, stated that Nigeria’s roles would be strengthened in the comity of nations with strong international lawyers. Omorogbe, in his words at the award dinner, stated that young Nigerians in the legal profession must be encouraged to embrace international law.
“We need more international lawyers. There’s a need for more information about it. We are one country among a comity of nations and within the comity of nations, it is good to have people that understand the relationships between different sovereign states and the rules of international organizations and who understand the workings because international law impacts on you in every area. It gives meaning, it gives body and substance to whatever you do within this state,” Omorogbe said.
Speaking on the merit award, Omorogbe noted that the awardees have not only contributed in great measures towards the development of international law in Nigeria, but are well known globally.
One of the awardees, Oyebode, a book scholar and Professor of International Law and Jurisprudence, was the pioneer Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ado-Ekiti.
A member of the Board of Directors of the African and African-American Foundation on Science, Education and Economic Development Inc.; Center for Advanced Social Science; Chair of the Board of Trustees, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center; Chair, International Advisory Board, Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law; Consultant, UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, Vienna; former Chair, Catholic Secretariat Think-Tank, Oyebode drafted the African Union Cross-border Cooperation in Africa. He’s also a fellow of many bodies.
Professor Kassim-Momodu, awarded by the society, was formerly a Senior Lecturer Department of Jurisprudence and International Law, University of Lagos, before moving to Gulf Oil Company Nigeria Limited (now Chevron Nigeria Limited).
A member of London Court of International Arbitration, and pioneer and current editor of Petroleum Technology Development Journal, Kassim-Momodu was the National Chairperson and Chairman Board of Trustee, Amnesty International, Nigerian and member of Amnesty International Secretariat’s Section Development Committee as well as co-founder and Trustee of Mofeos Foundation, and Chairman of the Board of Resources Center for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED).
Akinterinwa, who was also awarded a double promotion in the International Law Class at the University of Paris 2 and obtained his PhD degree with ‘Special Commendations,’ from the University of Paris 1, Panthéon Sorbonne.
A one time Embassy Translator at the Embassy of Nigeria, Paris, Akinterinwa is a Ford Foundation Fellow at the University of Maryland Foreign Policy Process and a Research Fellow at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs.
A Monday/Sunday Columnist (Vie Internationale) with, ThisDay Newspapers since 1996, he was member of the Editorial Board, from 1989 to 1994, and Editor, from 1994 to 1999, of the Nigerian Journal of International Affairs.
Speaking at the event for the awardees, Oyebode, who also noted that Nigeria needs more international lawyers said that it is pleasing for them to be accorded the highest distinction in international law.
Oyebode, who also said he has taught over 70 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) disclosed that the choices of the society was well thought out, adding that the fellows would live up to expectations emphasizing the need for more international lawyers, Oyebode said that young people especially must be encouraged to join international law.