Mrs. Ebele Nnaji obtained her law degree from the University of Nigeria in 1989 and the qualifying certificate of the Council of Legal Education (BL) in 1990. She began her legal career in 1991, as legal officer, Forestry Management Evaluation and Coordinating Unit, (FORMECU) a (World Bank/ADB assisted project). In 1992, she joined the law firm of Uche Nwokedi and Co (UNC) Lagos, Nigeria, a leading Energy and Natural Resources firm, as Junior Counsel and later rose to the position of Senior Counsel. She was at UNC for 8 years, within which period her career in the energy and natural resources law and other transactional work blossomed.
In 2002, upon her relocation to Port Harcourt, she joined the law firm of Alpha Juris Chambers as Principal Solicitor and Deputy Head, Corporate Practice Department and was there until 2007. On her return to Lagos in 2008 and on invitation, she rejoined Uche Nwokedi and Co., as Head of Chambers and was elevated to the position of Administrative Partner in 2009. She headed the commercial group of the firm while coordinating also, all the other practice groups. Her special areas while at UNC were in contracts, commercial transactions in oil and gas and environmental law, finance and capital markets issues, the compliance and regulatory aspects of the oil and gas industry, regulatory approvals, permits and licenses within the DPR, establishment of companies in Nigeria and offshore special purpose vehicles, environmental permitting and licensing.
Currently she is the Managing Partner, Whitehall Solicitors, Lagos, Nigeria and brings her wide corporate experience to the practice of the firm. Her notable career highlights include the following:
Successfully acted for Amni International Petroleum Development Company Limited in respect of its joint-venture with Abacan Resources of Canada for the development of OPL 469 and OPL 237.
Successfully negotiated various service contracts and related integrated service contracts, and participated in facility agreements such as FPSO and FSO agreements, production systems, financing agreement and contract pipeline agreements.
Successfully established multi-jurisdictional oil industry service companies together with related joint venture and technical services agreements.
Successfully acted as company secretary to Foster Wheeler Environmental Company Nigeria Limited.
Participated in the review of Nigeria's Production Sharing Contract Model as well as NNPC's equity participation in some of the major oil service companies operating in Nigeria.
Participated in the review of the Petroleum Industry Bill (The Bill) on the following issues:
- The significant differences between the Bill and existing legislation on the same issues especially any changes to the rights and obligations of Licensees and Lessees of upstream interests and the available mechanisms for the resolution of disputes;
- The significant changes to the roles and responsibilities of the various bodies responsible for the upstream petroleum industry;
- Significant inconsistencies with the Constitution or other reasons which render a provision invalid or unenforceable;
- Significant gaps in the legal regime related to the upstream petroleum industry that may have been created by the Bill
Successfully acted for an indigenous energy group in relation to its acquisition of a 12,000 Barrel Per Day Oil Refining Complex, including its associated equipment, materials, services and supplies to be located at the Free trade Zone, Calabar, Nigeria. The work scope included reviewing and negotiating the Engineering, Procurement and Construction Agreement in respect thereof and drafting the ancillary documents; the Management Agreement for the erection and operation of the Refinery and the Independent Contractor Agreement for the performance of services.
Successfully acted for Diamond Capital and Financial Markets Limited with respect to the refinancing of the Aba Independent Power Project (IPP) by Geometric Power Limited (GPL). The scope of work included due diligence, review of ownership structure of GPL in relation to its affiliates, review of existing financing arrangements and drafting of refinancing agreements and ancillary documents.
Actively participated, as transaction advisers, to a Mauritius Company, in cooperation with a UK law firm, with respect to the creation and issuance of bonds up to N9,000,000,000 (Nine Billion Naira) for a Nigerian conglomerate. The scope of services included, legal due diligence, drafting Nigerian law share pledges, reviewing the Nigerian law bond documentation, reviewing and providing a Nigerian law sense check of the English law Deed of Guarantee and English law Recourse Agreement.
Successfully represented a Consortium in respect of the acquisition of one of the Electricity Distribution companies in Nigeria (Disco). Scope of work included review of all transaction and industry documents, as follows: Final draft template Share Sale Agreement between the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), the Ministry of Finance Inc. (MOFI) and the Acquirer; final draft template Shareholders Agreement between the BPE, the Acquirer and the Disco; draft template Performance Agreement; draft Pre-Completion Liabilities Agreement; the Liabilities Transfer Agreement, amongst others
Served as Legal Adviser, Nigeria/Vietnam Chamber of Commerce;
Negotiated, drafted and concluded agreements for property and estates development and financing with major oil and gas companies;
Successfully negotiated various service contracts, including facility and financing agreements;
Successfully acted for indigenous exploration and production companies with respect to joint venture, joint operating and related agreements with foreign technical partners for development of concessions in OPLs and Marginal Fields.
Mr. Obiora E. Nnaji studied law at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, and graduated with honours in 1991. In 1992, he attended the Nigerian Law School, Lagos and obtained B.L Certificate of the Council of Legal Education. Mr. Nnaji is a member of Nigerian Bar Association, where he participated in different committees of the Port Harcourt Branch of NBA, and also is a member of Chartered Institute of Mediators & Conciliators, Nigeria.
Notable career highlights include:
Successfully acted for Del-Sigma Petroleum Company Nigeria Limited in respect of its joint-venture with Mart Resources Inc. of Canada for the development of KE Field marginal field in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria.
Successfully participated on behalf of a client in negotiations with Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) leading to grant of Electricity License to build and operate a captive power plant at Onne, Port Harcourt;
Represented clients with respect to negotiations with Power Holding Company of Nigeria and Federal Ministry of Power for execution of rural electrification projects in Imo, Enugu and Anambra States of Nigeria;
Successfully negotiated and drafted various service contracts and financing agreements, including the Share Purchase Agreement for Ascot Constructors & Fabricators Limited/Ascot Oil & Gas Limited.
Negotiated, drafted, and concluded agreements for property and estates development and financing with major property development, oil and gas E&P, and financial services companies.
Successfully established multi-jurisdictional oil industry and energy services companies together with related joint venture, management, and technical services agreements;
Participated in negotiation for the funding and establishment of Ureaus Telecommunications Nigeria Limited in Nigeria with a UK/South African group;
Participated as Solicitors to Gulf Petroleum & Crude Oil Resources of Dubai, UAE, in all negotiations leading to the execution of an MOU, with Lekki Worldwide Investments Limited (a Lagos State Government company) for a proposed billion United States� Dollars investment in Lekki Free Trade Zone, Lekki, Lagos.