Tonye is a Partner heading the Firm’s Port Harcourt office. He handles complex instructions from diverse clientele and advises on commercial transactions, banking, immigration, regulatory compliance, taxation, finance and regulation of financial services, employment law, land law, oil and gas, environment, energy and natural resources, shipping and other aspects of law practice in Nigeria. He holds an LLM degree with a focus on International Business Law from the University of Liverpool.
He has been recommended by The Legal 500 for his litigation experience. He has also been recommended by Who’s Who Legal 500 as a lawyer with “great interpersonal skills” and “excellent expertise in the field” of labour and employment.
He was a Speaker at the 2019 Africa Business Conference of the Lagos Business School where he shared insights on various aspects of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA). He is currently the chair of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators UK Nigeria Branch Port Harcourt Chapter. He was Secretary of the Section on Legal Practice of the (NBA). He is a member of NBA Port Harcourt Branch, where he currently chairs the Continuing Legal Education Committee of the Branch.
- Nigerian Bar Association
- International Bar Association
- Section of Business Law, Nigeria Bar Association
- Section of Legal Practice, Nigerian Bar Association
- Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, United Kingdom, Nigeria Branch
2013: University of Liverpool [LL.M]
1991: Called to the Nigerian Bar
1990: Rivers State University of Science & Technology [LL.B. Hons]
2008 – Date: Partner, Aluko & Oyebode:
2000 – 2007: Senior Associate Aluko & Oyebode:
1995-2000: Associate, Aluko & Oyebode:
1992-1995: Counsel, S.M. Olakunrin & Co:
1991-1992: Counsel, Lagos State Ministry of Justice
Awards & Accolades
- Recogniseded by Who’s Who Legal
- Recognised by Legal500
Lawyer with “great interpersonal skills” and “excellent expertise in the field” of Labour and Employment. – Who’s Who Legal 500
Energy and Natural Resources
- Acting as lead counsel for Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NOAC) in connection with the oil spill case of NAOC v Onyemachi Ogbu (2019) where he successfully unturned the judgment of approximately NGN 3 billion by persuading the Court of Appeal to hold for the first time that common law remedies are no longer available for oil spill victims in Nigeria in view of the adequate compensation regime under the Oil Pipelines Act (OPA).
- Acting as lead counsel for The Shell Development Petroleum Company of Nigeria (SPDC) in connection with the oil spill case of Suit No. FHC/PH/CS/83/2014 – Chief Marshall Da-Ochiya Oforibokakaka & 2 Others v SPDC where he successfully persuaded the court to strike out the Plaintiffs’ claim of NGN 13.4 billion.
- Acting as a co-lead for Debevoise & Plimpton, an English law firm, in connection the bonga spill litigation (Claim No. HT-2017-000383 – Harrison Jalla & Ors v Royal Dutch Shell Plc & Ors) in the High Court of England and Wales against SNEPCO and two other Shell entities.
- Acting as lead counsel for Niger Delta Petroleum Resources in connection with the case of Suit No: FHC/PH/CS/195/2014: Gramac Farming And Investment Co. (Nig) Ltd v. NDPR, successfully defending the gas flaring and environmental pollution claim of NGN 185.5 billion initiated against NDPR.
- Advising Dover Engineering in connection with a proposed joint venture agreement with Wood Group Holdings (International).
- Advising Schlumberger Nigeria in connection with its Chemical Regulatory Orientation Guidelines (CRO), document retention policy, transfer of shares and local content compliance and several other internal policies.
- Advising Indorama Eleme Petrochemical in connection with the various superior courts’ decisions regarding the 2.5% equity shares of Indorama Eleme Petrochemical and options open to Indorama Eleme Petrochemical.
- Acting as lead counsel for Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) in connection with the case of Suit No. PHC/2650/2018: Elder Bara Brown Esq. & Ors. v. NLNG & Anor where he successfully defended the claim for forfeiture against NLNG in respect of 525.63 hectares in Finima being used by NLNG for its plant site, residential areas and access road in the development of several NLNG projects.
Tax and Revenue
- Acting as lead counsel for NAOC in connection with the case of NAOC v DELSEPA (2019) LPELR-46825(CA) where he successfully persuaded the Court of Appeal to hold for the first time that state governments cannot impose effluent discharge fees on IOCs, which was a common practice in Nigeria.
Employment and Labour (Oil and Gas)
- Representing several companies, including Exterran Nigeria and Corelab Nigeria in connection with their negotiations of the Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) with their staff trade union members.
- Advising Exprotech Nigeria and Exterran Nigeria in connection with whether the Companies are required to implement contributory pension scheme, insurance and other statutory employee benefits for its contractor personnel.
- Acting as lead counsel for NAOC in connection with an employment case Suit No. NIC/PHC/38/2018 – Martins Agabi v NAOC where he successfully defended the claims brought against the Company by its ex-employee
- Acting as lead counsel for the Defendant in connection with the criminal case of Charge No. PHC/69CR/2015: The State v. Eze Chima Worlu where he successfully persuaded the court to discharge and acquit the Defendant of illegal possession of firearms.
- Acting as lead counsel for the Defendant in connection with the criminal case of Charge No. FHC/PH/131C/2016: Attorney General of the Federation v Etop Friday Jim where the Defendant was discharged and acquitted of illegal dealing in petroleum products.
- Acting as lead counsel for the Defendants in connection with the criminal case of Charge No. FHC/PH/178C/2015: Attorney General of the Federation v. Venus Ibilumo & Elijah Prince where he successfully persuaded the court to discharge and acquit the Defendants of offences of conspiracy to deal in petroleum products without appropriate license and illegal dealing in petroleum products.
- Acting as lead counsel for the Defendants in connection with the matter of Mamman v State (2017) LPELR-43188(CA) and Usman v. State (2018) LPELR-46568(CA).
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