Here comes Festus Keyamo, the newest Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). See the biography/profile of the lawyer.
Festus Egwarewa Adeniyi Keyamo, Esq., lawyer, social crusader, critic and columnist is an intriguing personality. Born in Ughelli, Delta State of Nigeria on Wednesday, January 21, 1970 by a father who hails from Effurun, Warri, in Delta State and a mother from Ilaro in Ogun State, Festus Keyamo attended OHARISI (Model) Primary School, Ughelli, 1975 to 1981, Government College, Ughelli, 1981 to 1986 and received his Higher School Certificate (HSC) course in the same school.
Armed with these certificates, he gained admission into Bendel State University, (now Ambrose Alli University (AAU)) Ekpoma, in Edo State, and obtained his LL.B degree (Second Class Upper) in 1992. He was called to the Nigerian Bar on December 15,1993 setting the stage for a colourful career in law.
Keyamo, as he is widely known, started his legal practice in Gani Fawehinmi Chambers in Lagos at the height of the agitation for the revalidation of the June 2, 1993 election. Even as a young lawyer, he was on the front row of legal activism representing icons like Dr. BEko Ransome-Kuti, Chief Frank Kokori and Ken Saro Wiwa as well as the duo of Chief M.K.O. Abiola and Anthony Enahoro who were arrested in 1994 and other NADECO leaders. These challenging responsibilities helped to build Keyamo’s confidence in trenchant advocacy emerging with the award of BEST LAWYER IN GANI FAWEHINMI CHAMBERS IN 1994.
He left Gani Fawehinmi Chambers in 1995, to establish his own law firm, FESTUS Keyamo CHAMBERS, which has since grown rapidly with the Head Office at No. 1 Festus Keyamo Lane, Anthony Village, Lagos State with branches in Abuja and Warri (Delta State), and liaison office in many states.
Keyamo has handled several controversial and landmark cases. He was counsel to the leader of the Niger-Delta Peoples’ Volunteer Force, Mujaheed Dokubo-Asari in his trial for treasonable felony, lead counsel in the treason trial of the leader of the Movement For The Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazuruike and other MASSOB leaders as well as counsel in the brutal murder of Elder Statesman, Chief Bola Ige. As one of the prosecutors for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), he has secured the conviction of six public officers by full and complete trial (not plea-bargain). Recently, he went to court to challenge the power of the Nigerian President to unilaterally appoint Service Chiefs without the approval of the National Assembly. In a landmark judgment, the court agreed with him and declared the appointments of the nation’s Service Chiefs without the concurrence of the National Assembly as null and void.
During the Abacha regime, Keyamo formed against Misguided Youths (YAMY) set up to challenge the Youth Earnestly Ask for Abacha (YEAA) of Daniel Kanu in 1997. He was mobilizing Nigerians on the streets to sign petitions to international bodies when Abacha died.
Recently, he initiated a probe of the leadership of the House of Representatives over alleged profligacy and mismanagement of public funds in the purchase of 380 units of 407 Peugeot Cars.
Keyamo’s brush with the authorities has been audacious. He has been detained several times in prisons and cells across Nigeria on account of his crusades for justice, human rights and against corruption.
He has helped many youths of Delta State unjustly arrested and detained by the authorities free of charge and has been working closely with his Uvwie community for some years now on several issues. For instance, he recently won a case for his community in which the inadequate census figures allocated to it in the last census exercise was cancelled by the Census Tribunal and he is also in court to reclaim their vast expanse of land compulsorily acquired by the Army in 1975, purportedly for public purpose, but now converted to private use. These matters are prosecuted free of charge for the community. He was decorated with the ‘Uvwie Son of the Year’ in 2010.
A man of amazing gusto and dogged spirit, his honours include, Best Single Advocate of Nigeria Law Students, (Taslim Elias Moot Trial Competition) 1992; Honorary Alumni, of various Students’ Associations; Activist of the year (2001) by the Students Union, University of Jos; Listed in the New Who is Who in Nigeria, 2003; and nominated for the World Medal of Honour, 2003, by the American Biographical institute, in 2005. He was conferred with the chieftaincy titles of Ogba-uri of Ogor Kingdom (Strong man of the law) 2005 and Omorokaro of Uvwie Kingdom (The child who leads the way) 2011 in Delta State but prefers to be called ‘Mr.’