FESTUS ONYIA

Festus Onyia is a Partner in the firm’s dispute resolution practice and specialises in civil, corporate and commercial litigation, as well as in international commercial arbitration.  His other practice areas include labour, employment and industrial relations, and tax litigation.  He has trained as an international commercial arbitrator with several Nigerian and international arbitration institutions, including the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris, where he attended the Advanced PIDA Training in International Commercial Arbitration.

In the course of his practice, Festus has acted as counsel in both ad hoc and institutional arbitrations, including under the Rules of Arbitration of the ICC.  He has advised on issues of Nigerian law for determination in matters before foreign courts and arbitration tribunals.  Festus has extensive hands-on experience in arbitration, litigation and transactions, and recently represented a client at the Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in a claim for compensation and damages in excess of $700 million for alleged oil spillage and gas flaring.  He also represented an international oil and gas drilling company in an arbitration under the ICC Rules in respect of a claim against a Nigerian oil and gas company for the recovery of unpaid invoices in the sum of approximately $17.5 million.  In addition, he has represented several international drilling companies in tax disputes at the Tax Appeal Tribunal, Federal High Court, and Court of Appeal in respect of a dispute arising from additional tax assessments in the sum of $40 million (approximately) and involving the issue of whether recharges to their Nigerian support companies and/ or subsidiaries are allowable deductions from their turnovers for the purposes of computation of tax under the Companies Income Tax Act (CITA).

Festus was a member of the International Task Force appointed by the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR on the Revision of the ICC Rules as Appointing Authority in UNCITRAL and other Ad Hoc Proceedings.  He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Nigerian Tax Law Report and was in April 2019 appointed as the Alternate Chairman of the Energy and Power Committee of the Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators for a two-year term.

Festus is a thought leader in his core practice areas, with articles published in multiple issues of reputable international journals such as The European, Middle Eastern and African Arbitration Review; The Middle Eastern and African Arbitration Review; International Financial Law Review Dispute Resolution Guide; Chambers International Arbitration Country Practice Guide; Dealmakers Africa; The Gravitas Review of Business and Property Law, and Nigerian Tax Law Review.

Career

2017 Partner, Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie
2014 Managing Associate, Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie
2008 Senior Associate, Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie
2005 Associate, Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie
2005 Associate, Ahaneku, Ekwekwuo & Partners
2003 Associate, G.E. Ezeuko (SAN) & Co
2002 Legal Officer, National Assembly

Qualifications

2002 Nigerian Law School, BL
1999 University of Benin, Benin City, LL.B.

Bar admissions

2002 Nigeria

Professional membership

Nigerian Bar Association
International Bar Association
Associate, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Nigeria
Associate, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, United Kingdom