Mrs. Joyce Oduah ACFE, FICMC is a Legal Practitioner and the Managing Partner of Joyce Oduah & Co., a law firm situate in Festac Town, Lagos. She is from Akwa Ibom State by birth and from Anambra State by marriage. She attended Army Children Primary School, Oron, then Cross River State (now Akwa Ibom State) from 1974 to 1980 where she started to portray leadership qualities and was made the Senior Prefect. Her secondary education was in Comprehensive Secondary School, Okobo from 1980 to 1985 where she was also made the Senior School Prefect because she was always top of her class academically, possessed integrity and exhibited strong leadership traits. She obtained her ‘A’ levels at School of Basic Studies, Akamkpa, Cross River State 1985 – 1987.

In the year 1990, Joyce obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Law from the University of first choice, University of Lagos. She was duly called to the Bar on the 10th of December 1991. She worked with the Ministry of Justice, Ogun State from 1991 to 1992 during her National Youth Service. Immediately after completion of the NYSC program in 1992, she joined the corporate world as a Legal Officer in General Oil Ltd. Due to her hard work, diligence and dexterity, she was promoted in 1994 to the position of Legal Coordinator of the Company and as a result of her commitment to service, became the first lawyer in the history of General Oil to attend the Company’s Board meetings. In this capacity, she was able to proffer solutions to difficult issues which the company was confronted with.

Due to her cravings and desire for active legal practice, she voluntarily relinquished her position in the corporate world in 1996 to join the law firm of Steve Nwagbo & Co. where she sharpened her edge in litigation and corporate practice before proceeding to set up her law firm, Joyce Oduah & Co. At this time, she had successfully completed her Masters’ Degree Program in the University of Lagos in 1997.

At the core of Joyce life is the desire to uplift the downtrodden in the society. She derives joy from catering for the needs of the poor and needy. She believes in putting a smile on the faces of the people around her. According to her, life is not only about living but letting others live. In this vein, she established Fountain of Life for the Needy Foundation which is a non-governmental, non-profit and charity organization aimed at providing for the needs of indigent women, children and youths in the society. She is the President of the foundation which celebrated its 10th Anniversary in 2018.

Her life of service and leadership is manifested in her activities in the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). She was introduced to the National body of the NBA in 1992 during her days as a Youth Corper where she was selected as a rapporteur to a meeting of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Abeokuta, Ogun State. Her effectiveness as a rapporteur was proved in the comprehensive and eloquent report she submitted. As a result of this, a letter of commendation was given to her and she was invited to be a rapporteur in the NBA conference in Port Harcourt that same year. This was during the leadership of Chief Mrs. Priscilia Kuye after which the NBA went comatose till 1998. The events of that conference left an indelible mark in Joyce; having witnessed first-hand the disagreement that led to the breakup of the NBA in 1992, Joyce is committed to ensuring the unity and growth of the association.

Since then, she has been an active member of the NBA and has not looked back. Her love for the Association has led her to serve in various capacities. She was the 1st Assistant Secretary 2000 – 2002 (Lagos Branch), Publicity Secretary 2007 – 2009 (Lagos Branch), Social Secretary 2009 – 2011 (Lagos Branch). As Publicity Secretary, she observed the apathy of members towards attendance of monthly meetings and realized that this was caused by an emotional disconnection between the members and the association. Her strategy to solve this problem was to ensure that members felt loved and cared for. She put up a comprehensive register of members, painstakingly transferred them to the telephone and sent each member messages prior to meetings. Knowing that members usually came for meetings straight from court or office and would be hungry, she made a proposal for the incorporation of feeding into the monthly meetings. She also proposed the cutting of cake to celebrate members’ birthdays for the month. These proposals were accepted by the Executive Committee. This not only boosted participation at monthly meetings but also increased the revenue of the branch because members were more willing to pay monthly dues as they felt cherished. The effectiveness of this strategy led other branches to adopt the feeding and cutting of cake into their monthly meetings.

Due to the fact that Joyce is an achiever who comes out with the best result in any given task, she was always given positions in various NBA committees. She was the Chairperson, Committee to Inaugurate the Standing Committees of Lagos Branch & the Ceremony to Honour Chief G.N. Uwechie SAN on his appointment as the Chairman, Body of Benches 2010. She was also the Chairperson, Committee to Honour Newly Appointed Life Benchers, Benchers & Newly Elected President of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association 2011. In her tenure as Social secretary she was the Alternate Chairperson, Welfare Committee, Chairperson, Sub-Committee on Media & Communication, Law week. In 2012 she was Chairperson, Committee on Research & Planning of the Law week. She was a Member, Law Week Committee, Lagos Branch from 2007 – 2012. She was also a Member, Bar Dinner Committee, Lagos Branch from 2007 – 2011. She participated as a Member, Continuing Legal Education and Mentoring Committee, Lagos Branch from 2017 – 2019, and she is presently the Secretary of the Welfare Committee NBA Lagos 2019 – 2021.

In 2012, she was elected the National Treasurer of the NBA and served till 2014. Serving in this position as Treasurer, she introduced the Branch Bar Code system which is a legacy she has left for the NBA. The old model for payment of bar practicing fees was burdensome for the individuals, the branches and the national body. Initially, when one pays the fees in the bank, the teller was presented to the branches who in turn sent the tellers submitted to the National Secretariat, Abuja in bulk or batches. The National body then had to sort the receipt and allocate 10% of the total sum to the branches based on the numbers of tellers submitted by the branches. The problem was that not all lawyers submitted their tellers to the branches, and so the branches could not claim the exact amount they were entitled to. This was cumbersome and ineffective for all stakeholders concerned. Before taking up the position as Treasurer, Joyce had noted this as a problem and began to think of a creative and strategic means of solving it. The resolution was in the Branch Barcode system which she implemented whilst in office. Now, with the software for NBA barcode and customized teller, members can pay their bar practicing fees from anywhere in the world. With the barcode, the branch is identified and the percentage for individual branches are calculated and sent automatically. This has proven to increase the revenue for the branches. For example, Lagos which barcode is 058 used to receive about four hundred thousand naira (N400,000) as at 2012, but after the introduction of the Barcode by Joyce, the revenue accruing to Lagos increased to Six million, fifty-six thousand, five hundred naira (N6,056,500) as at 2013. Currently, in 2019, Lagos received Thirteen million, five hundred thousand naira (N13,500,000) as a result of the Branch Barcode.

She has been a member of various committees and subcommittees for the National and Branch law weeks and events. Also, she has served as a National Executive Committee (NEC) member for various NBA administrations from 2008 till 2018. They include the regimes of His Excellency, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN 2008-2010, Okechukwu Wali SAN 2012 – 2014, Augustine Alegeh SAN 2014 – 2016 and Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud SAN 2016 – 2018. She was a Member, NBA National Secretariat House Fund Raising Committee; Member, NBA Finance Committee 2012 – 2014 and Member, Technical Committee on Conference Planning 2014 – 2015. Joyce is a member of several NBA Sections including; Section on Business Law (SBL), Section on Legal Practice and Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL). In the 2019 SPIDEL conference, she was a panelist and presented a paper titled “Executive Orders as Tools of Governance: Prospects and Challenges.” Other papers she has presented include “Nigerian Security Challenges, Restructuring an Option?” in the NBA Badagry Law Week 2020. In her continuous passion for the development of young lawyers, she sponsored five young lawyers to participate in the SPIDEL conference. She also sponsors young lawyers to attend NBA conferences and seminars. She is a member of the Federation of International Women Lawyer (FIDA) and was in the Publicity Committee of FIDA, Lagos from 2011 – 2012. She is presently the Chairperson, FIDA Lagos Property Development Committee 2019 – 2021 and Member, FIDA Lagos Litigation Committee 2019 – 2021. She has been a member Eastern Bar Forum since 2012.

Due to Joyce’s commitment to the NBA and her desire to network with other legal practitioners, Joyce has attended several state, national and international conferences and seminars. She has never missed the Nigerian Bar Association General Conferences from 1992, 2002 to 2019. She was a part of the conference on Section of Legal Practice in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2018, 2019; Conference on the Review of the Criminal Justice in Nigeria from 2012 to 2018; Conference on the Review of Electoral Justice System in Nigeria 2012, Section on Business Law (SBL) Conference from 2007 to 2019, Anti-Corruption Seminar 2013; Peace & Security Summit 2013 and NBA Rule of Law Action Group 2013. She took part in the, International Bar Association (IBA) conference in Singapore 2007, Argentina 2008, Boston 2013. In Boston, she was required by the NBA to understudy the functioning of the IBA Secretariat and its Conference Planning Committee. She participated in the IBA Regional Conference Lagos 2009 and 2013.

Joyce has a deep yearning for knowledge in order to develop her professional career. This has led her to partake in several professional courses and trainings within and outside Nigeria. She partook in the Potomac Kaduna. Lecture on Drafting of International Lease Agreements, Joint Ventures Agreements, Licenses etc. in 1995; USAID National Centre for state courts, Bar Cle Workshop Fundamental issues of case flow management practitioners’ perspective, 2002. She also took part in the Effective Report Writing for Fraud Examiners and Financial Statement Fraud Seminar by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) in Philadelphia, USA in 2013. She is an Associate Member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. Also, she took the Train the Trainers course on Human Right and Criminal Justice Responses against Terrorism from 2016 to 2017 and Assisting Nigeria to Strengthen Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism: Gender Dimensions of Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism in 2017 organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). In 2019, she participated in the Fellowship Programme by the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators. She is a member of the ICMC African Mediation Conference Planning Committee 2020. She is a Fellow of the Institute.

Joyce always has a desire to make an impact wherever she is which has led her to take up, accept and be elected in various leadership and service positions in religious and social circles. She was Treasurer, Mothers Union, Festac Archdeaconry (Anglican Communion) 2001 – 2011; Treasurer, Mothers Union, All Saints Church (Anglican Communion), Festac Town, Lagos 2006 – 2013; Member, Board of Governors, Anglican Girls College, Lagos, 2012 – 2015; Sunday School Superintendent, All Saints Church, 41 Road, Festac Town, Lagos, 2011 – 2013; Treasurer, Parent Teacher’s Association (PTA) CMS Grammar School, Bariga, Lagos 2013 – 2018; Member, Board of Governors, CMS Grammar School Lagos 2013 – 2017. She has been the Grand Patron, Boys Brigade of Nigeria, Ojo Battalion Council since 2013 and Legal Adviser, Boys Brigade Nigeria, Ojo Battalion Council and Amuwo-odofin Battalion Council since 2015. She began her service as a Lay Reader in All Saints Anglican Church, Festac Town, Lagos in 2016 after successfully completing her Bible School Program in Lagos Anglican Diocese Bible College (LABICO) in 2014. Prior to this time, she had completed programs in the Redeem Bible College in 2000, Redeem Deliverance College in 2002 and Patmos Bible College of Christ Chapel International Churches (CCIC) in 2010. Joyce is an Appointee on Political Matters to the Lord Bishop, Diocese of Lagos West, Anglican Communion, Rt Revd. Dr. Olushola James Odedeji. This automatically makes her a Member of the Church Parish Council of her local parish, a Member of the Archdeaconry Board, a Member of the Diocese Board and a Member of the Synod. She was the Editor Elim Magazine, a Publication of Christian Mothers’ Festac Archdeaconry, and she is presently the Editor Wise Builder Magazine, a Publication of Christian Mothers’ All Saints Anglican Church, Festac, Lagos. She was the Chairperson Pastorate Anniversary, Festac Archdeaconry, Anglican Communion 2016. She was also Chairperson Festac Archdeaconry Harvest Committee 2017, 2018 and 2019. She is a member of Diocese of Lagos West, Anglican Communion Internal Control Committee 2015 till date.

She has had under her belt a number of National and State Appointments which include: Board Member, Gurara Water Management Authority 2009; Member, Law Reform and Administration of Justice Reform Committee, Akwa Ibom State 2007 – 2009; Member, Lagos State Blueprint Committee on the Administration of Justice 2017.

She has received numerous awards for her commitments and dedication to the service of God and humanity. They include; Lagos West Diocesan Christian Mother’s Anglican Communion, Family of Honour Award, 2006; Patmos Bible School of Faith, Best Student’s Award, 2010; Diocese of Lagos West Anglican Communion, Holy Trinity, Special Award, 2011; Ogbaru Neighbourhood Community Development Association Special Award, 2012; Archbishop Abiodun Adetiloye schools, Appreciation Award, 2012; National Association of Students of English & Literary Studies (NASELS), Award of Recognition, 2014 & 2019; The Bible Society of Nigeria, Festac Town Auxilliary Lagos Area 1, Award of Honour, 2014; All Saints Church Anglican Communion, Award of Honour, 2015; CMS Grammar School (Board of Governors), Recognition Award, 2017; Patmos Bible School of Faith, Meritorious Alumni/Patrons Award, 2018; CMS Grammar School, Recognition Award, 2018. She has also been a recipient of a number of awards for her commitments and service to the NBA, amongst which are; Award of Selfless Service by the NBA 2014; Award of Recognition by NBA, Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL) 2019; Service Award by NBA, Lagos Branch 2019, Award of Excellence by NBA, Owo Branch, 2019. Joyce was also appointed as a Patroness of NBA, Owo Branch in 2019.

Joyce is happily married to her heartthrob, Mr. Okechukwu Oduah, who was her classmate in Law School in 1991.

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