Akutah Pius Ukeyiwa mfci: 2017 Presidential Civil Service Merit Award Recipient

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Profile of a humble, focused and visionary achiever.

A great sage once said that some men are born great while others achieve greatness by dint of hardwork. However, on deeper appraisal it is possible to situate both attributes of greatness in one man.

In Akutah Pius Ukeyima, both attributes can be said to be in fusion and at work.

A lawyer and career public administrator who is presently working at the Federal Ministry of Justice, he was born on 7th June, 1970 to the family of late Zaki Gbongbon Tyonor Akutah, a kindred ruler of Mbagwaza Council Ward in Ushongo Local Government Area of Benue State.

With signs of excellence and distinction showing quite early and strongly in his life, the young Pius embraced western education with much zeal and brilliance. This was a quest on which he received the quality support of his older brother, famed businessman, but now late, Sarwuan Akutah (SarAkutah).

Education;

He is variously a holder of the Senior Secondary School Certificate (SSCE), from Adikpo Comprehensive College, Adikpo, Benue State; Diploma in Law, from the University of Jos, Nigeria; the Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB) from University of Abuja, Nigeria, and Barrister at Law (BL) from the Nigeria Law School, Bwari, Abuja, both of which he bagged in 2006 and 2007 respectively.

He is therfore, a lawyer with 10 years post-law experience which is backed by a Master of Laws Degree with bias in Public International Law (Thesis completed awaiting defence) at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria.

Such is the quality of his professional cut that he was prominently on the team of counsel which prosecuted Senate President, Bukola Saraki, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Early Career Profile;

His career progress has been detailed through the Federal Civil Service which he joined in August 28, 1998 as an Assistant Executive Officer, rising to Litigation Assistant by January 2008, charged with such responsibilities as, assisting the Director, Legal in organising his daily schedules and activities; being responsible for the records of all Court files and the Court diary to ensure effective Court attendance and all other follow ups on the Court files.

He was also at that level the deponent to all the affidavits in all cases involving the Federal Civil Service Commission; was responsible for taking new dates for new cases and new dates for all other pending cases; opening new files and keeping the register of Court files; attending Court sessions with the lawyers and assisting in taking minutes of the proceedings, as well as taking minutes of the departmental meetings and other records as were directed by the Legal Director.

Advanced Career Profile;

His career progression took a strategically upward curve by January 2009 when he assumed the office of State Counsel at the Ministry of Justice and steadily moved from there to Principal State Counsel in 2013, to his present office as Assistant Chief State Counsel.

Presently working in the Central Authority Unit, International Cooperation in Criminal Matters, under the office of the Hon. Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Akutah Pius has so far handled various sensitive and top-level assignments, both domestic and international. Those include; having represented the Nigerian Federal Government in several high profile and sensitive criminal cases; utilised his Proficient skills in Legal opinion writing and advice on international criminal law matters with core competencies in the use of United Nations Treaties and other regional or Sub regional International instruments.

He has also handled complex International Criminal Law issues for the Nigerian Central Authority relating to all forms of Transnational Crimes, (organized and None organized); executed requests for Mutual Legal assistance and Extradition from several countries, leading to a fair understanding of legal systems of several countries; prepares requests for Mutual Legal assistance in criminal matters and Extradition for the Nigerian Central Authority, office of the Hon. Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice;

He has equally handled the preparation, vetting and negotiation of Bilateral Agreements between Nigeria and other Countries on Mutual Legal Assistance and Extradition;

He has worked on several requests for Mutual Legal Assistance and Extradition from various countries; prepared several Extradition requests and Letter Rogatories to various countries; represented the Nigerian Federal Government in several international and domestic criminal cases and successfully completed some.

It has also fallen to his brief to successfully conduct litigation in a variety of high-profile cases in the field of International Criminal Law resulting in the Extradition of several persons to and from Nigeria. As a result of these cases, Nigeria’s image before the international community in the area of international cooperation and the fight against all forms of Trans-national crimes was enhanced.

Also he has achieved favourable resolution of complex, often difficult to win cases through administrative and non-litigation based mechanisms; attained numerous experiences in international criminal litigation and practice in Federal Courts including the extradition of several individuals from Nigeria as well as working with other top practitioners on very high profile extradition cases including: HAGF Vs. Buruji Kashamu, HAGF Vs. Emmanuel Okoyomon and HAGF Vs. James Kenneth Tillery.

Some strategic national assignments ha has handled include; being the current representative of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the UNODC network of contact persons and Ministers of Justice for the Sahel and Maghreb Region on Criminal Justice cooperation in counter terrorism; together with other team of Nigerian experts under the chairmanship of Emmanuel Akomaye, then Commission Secretary of the EFCC, presented Nigeria’s position during the UNODC country review of Nigeria on the implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2013.

He also served as Secretary, Committee for the review of on-going cases involving the Federal Government of Nigeria; Secretary, Committee for the review of the sale of Daily Times of Nigeria by the Bureau of Public Enterprises, (BPE); Member/ Legal Adviser, Representing Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice on the Federal Government committee for negotiations with Labour Unions in the Power sector for the severance packages of their members; Secretary, Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation’s Committee on Prerogative of mercy and Amnesty.

He was also a member of the committee and extensively worked and drafted the Nigerian Electricity Health and Safety Code, in 2012 which was later considered by the entire committee, approved and issued by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Abuja.

In undergoing training and retraining for continually enhanced professional proficiency and trend evolution compliance, Akutah Pius Ukeyima has attended several professional courses, both at home and abroad, amongst them;

Abroad;

Training on Comparative Regional Integration Studies organised by the African Leadership Centre, United nations University and Kings Collage London, December,2010;

Regional Workshop of experts on Mutual Legal Assistance, Accra-Ghana, November, 2011;

Undertook a tour of the United Kingdom Central Authority, (UKCA), the Crown Prosecutions Service, (CPS) and the Metropolitan Police, Proceeds of Corruption Unit, (New Scotland Yard) on a working visit to share ideas and expertise knowledge with British counterparts, 2012;

Eastern African networking meeting of Experts on Cybercrime and Electronic Evidence, Kampala, Uganda, May, 2014;

Training Course on Financial Investigative Techniques, Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing organised by the Department of Treasury, United States of America, New York, 2012;

Completed the UNODC 1 month training Module on international Criminal Cooperation: a key tool in the Fight Against Terrorism and other Transnational Crime, Vienna, January, 2015;

Sub-Regional Workshop for Sahel Countries, Algeria and Morocco on cross-border criminal justice cooperation in countering terrorism, Dakar, Senegal, March, 2015;

Eastern African networking meeting of Experts on Cybercrime and Electronic Evidence, Nairobi, Kenya, August, 2015.

At home;

Legal Advisers and Law Officers Course organised by Abuja Law and development Institute, Abuja, September, 2011;

Training on Criminal Justice reform organised by the Nigerian Bar Association and the Institute of Advanced Legal Education as mandatory Continued Legal Education Programme for 2011, Abuja, 2011;

Workshop on electronic evidence organised by the Computer forensics Institute, Nigeria and Digital and Computer Forensics Associates, Abuja, 2012;

National Training workshop on International cooperation in Criminal Matters, organized by the UNODC network for the West African Central Authorities and Prosecutors against Organized Crime, Calabar, September, 2014;

Training workshop for prosecutors, Module II, held at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, November, 2014;

Training workshop on International Cooperation in Criminal matters related to Terrorism, organised by the UNODC, EU and CTED to strengthen Criminal Justice Responses for a multidimensional security, Abuja, January, 2015;

Training workshop on International Cooperation in Criminal matters related to Terrorism, organised by the UNODC, EU and CTED to strengthen Criminal Justice Responses for a multidimensional security, Abuja, March, 2015;

Training workshop on International Cooperation in Criminal matters related to Terrorism, organised by the UNODC, EU and CTED to strengthen Criminal Justice Responses for a multidimensional security, Abuja, April, 2015;

Training workshop on International Cooperation in Criminal matters related to Terrorism, organised by the UNODC, EU and CTED to strengthen Criminal Justice Responses for a multidimensional security, Abuja, April, 2015.

Paper and Speech Presentations;

He has in the course of his extensive work engagements presented papers and speeches at various international and domestic fora, those including;

Session Chair, panel of international cooperation experts discussion on the legal frameworks towards a regional cooperation through Mutual Legal Assistance in the fight against trans-national Organised crimes; the Regional Workshop of experts on Mutual Legal Assistance, Accra-Ghana, November, 2011;

An overview of Mutual Legal Assistance and Extradition law and practice in Nigeria; delivered at the UNODC training workshop on the role of international cooperation for the fight against Cyber Crime and Cyber Security within the East African States Community. (a meeting of experts to help share best practices with the East African States Communities, held in Kampala Uganda, 2014);

International cooperation mechanisms for effective corroboration in the fight against terrorism, presented at the meeting of Focal Persons, UNODC network of contact persons and Ministers of Justice for the Sahel and Maghreb Region on Criminal Justice cooperation in counter terrorism held in Rabat, Morocco, February, 2015;

Co-Chair, session on the effective use of informal communication techniques between Law Enforcement Agencies and the Central Authorities to bridge the gap associated with Diplomatic channels of communication at the UNODC Sub-Regional workshop for the Sahel Countries, Algeria and Morocco on cross-border criminal justice cooperation in countering terrorism, held in Dakar, Senegal, March, 2015;

The role and responsibilities of the Federal Ministry of Justice on Mutual Legal Assistance Process; a paper presented at the AC 110 Senior Financial Crimes and Anti-Corruption techniques course held on 21st October to 1st November, 2013 at the EFCC Academy, Karu, Abuja;

The effect of inter-agency cooperation on the fight against international organized crime, paper co-presented with Ms Trish Gibbs, head, FBI Legat, United States Embassy, Abuja at a refresher training workshop organised by the US Embassy for senior law enforcement officers held on December 4, 2013 at the EFCC academy, Karu, Abuja;

Extradition laws and processes in Nigeria; a paper presented at a UNODC training program for Judges of the Federal High Court held at the Denis Hotel, Abuja Nigeria, April, 2014.

Akutah Pius holds the following professional affiliations, alumunus and honours;

Alumnus of the United States of America Department of State’s International Visitor’s Leadership Programme (IVLP), 2012;

Member, Nigeria Bar Association, NBA;

Certified computer/mobile forensic examiner, Computer Forensic Institute, Nigeria, CFIN;

Honourary Special Agent, Department of the Treasury USA Internal Revenue Service; (expert training on Stolen Assets’ tracing and recovery methods).

It is in recognition and acknowledgement of the sterling quality of Akutah Pius Ukeyima’s professional pedigree, as well as proficiency and dedication to duty that no less a person than the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria conferred on him the 2017 Presidential Civil Service Merit Award.

His has indeed been the steady rise of a focused achiever with an eye on the top.

Akutah Pius Ukeyima is married Barr. Mrs. Patricia U. Akutah, together with whom they are blessed with four male children.

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