Principal Solicitor and Counsel
Mr. Jiti Ogunye, lawyer, and Principal Counsel, Jiti Ogunye Chambers, Lagos Nigeria was born in 1967 in Ikare Akoko, Ondo State. He attended Saint Stephen’s Primary School Ikare, Victory College Ikare, University of Benin, and the Nigerian Law School, Lagos, Nigeria. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1992, following which he joined the law firm of Femi Falana Chambers, where he worked for eight years, and served as a deputy head of chambers. In 2000, he established Jiti Ogunye Chambers, a general practice law firm that has conducted cases and continues to handle cases in all branches of law and in all the tiers of the Nigerian Judiciary.
Ogunye’s career in legal practice has been intertwined with human rights, pro-democracy and legal (Bar) activism. He was a foremost progressive students union leader in his university days, and, following his call to the Nigerian Bar, he became very active in the human rights and pro-democracy movement, which championed the struggle for the termination of military despotism in Nigeria. He was a member of the Campaign for Democracy (CD), then a vibrant coalition of human rights and civil society organizations, led respectively by Mr. Alao Aka-Bashorun and Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti. Ogunye was a member of the central committee ( expanded secretariat) of the CD which organized and executed the series of anti-military protests that greeted the annulment of the June 12 1993 Presidential Election. He was also a member of the Joint Action Committee on Nigeria, ( JACON ), led by Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN, SAM, another coalition which succeeded CD when it unraveled as a coalition. Mr. Ogunye was the Secretary-General of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights ( CDHR) between 1995 and 1999, a leading human rights organization, led in that period, respectively by Late Professor Festus Iyayi and Mr. Femi Falana, SAN.
Since 1999, when civil rule was restored to Nigeria, Mr. Ogunye has been contributing to the promotion of the rule of law and constitutional governance in Nigeria. He has used the law and the judicial process to secure remedies for hundreds of students union leaders facing persecution from authoritarian tertiary institution administrators, workers and labour leaders, market men and women, and many other Nigerians whose legal rights were trampled upon. For example in 2007, after five years of litigation, he obtained and later enforced an 18 Million Naira Judgment in the Federal High Court, Lagos, against the defunct PHCN in favour of a seamstress, who suffered electrocution in 2002. The Judgment was a precedent, for before then, a provision in the NEPA Act exonerating NEPA of liability for any injury that might be caused by the consumer’s wire, was popularly but erroneously interpreted to mean that NEPA ( PHCN) could not be held liable for any injury occasioned by its cables and negligence.
Mr. Ogunye, is a leading public interest lawyer, publicist, law reporter, legal commentator, author, and essayist. He has written hundreds of law, human rights, democracy and development-related articles in the print media and learned journals, and has authored three publications. He is married to Comfort-Idika Ogunye, a lawyer and women rights advocate, and they are both blessed with three children.