In the philosophical saying of a great writer, some are born great, some acquired greatness and some have greatness entrusted in them. While aligning with this philosophical saying, I see it expedient to celebrate a great man with track record of integrity and excellence.
A man whom legal scholarship and juridical excellence is entrusted in; a Professor whom many Professors have drunk from his reservoir of knowledge. A man with such intellectual rarity that clearly stands him out among his contemporaries.
Chief (Prof) Itsejuwa Esanjumi Sagay, SAN, The Olufusi of Warri Kingdom at 78: A Chronicle of An Accomplished Legal Scholar.
Born to Itsejuwa Esanjumi Sagay on the 20th of December, 1940 in Ibadan, South West Nigeria, Prof Sagay graduated from the University of Ife (Obafemi Awolowo University) with LL.B (Honours) Second Class Upper Division in 1965, winning the National Scholarship for Best Performance in University (LL.B) Law Examinations (1963-1966).
He attended the Nigerian Law School Lagos from 1965-1966 where he obtained the Certificate of the Council of Legal Education (BL) 1966 and was Called and Enrolled as Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria on 22nd July, 1966. He also won the Sweet and Maxwell Publishers Prize for the Best Performance in Revenue Law in the Nigerian Bar Examinations (1966), Willoughby Prize for the Best Overall Performance in the Nigerian Bar Examinations 1966.
Prof Sagay proceeded to King’s College, University of Cambridge UK where he obtained his LL.M in International Law in 1968 and later PhD in International Law from the same institution in 1970.
He obtained the certificate of The Hague Academy of International Law in 1976 and Fellow of the Charted Institute of Arbitrators in 2002.
Prof Sagay started his teaching career at his Alma Mata, University of Ife in 1970 and was appointed a Professor of Law at the University in 1979. He became the Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Ife 1981 to 1982.
He was appointed a Professor of Law and founding Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Benin in 1982, a position he held till 1986.
He resigned from the University of Benin in 1996 and went into full time legal practice and consultancy.
Prof Sagay is the founder and Managing Partner of Itse Sagay & Co, a firm of Legal Practitioners at Tafawa Balewa Crescent, Adeniran Ogunsanya, Surulere Lagos.
20years ago, in 1998, Prof Itse Sagay was elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in recognition of his contributions to the development of law in Nigeria.
Prof Sagay has held many appointments and retained as a legal consultant to many local and International organisations, amongst who are;
United Nations Consultant on Namibia, Colonialism and Racial Discrimination 1984.
Consultant to the Organization of Africa Unity and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on OAU Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Rights of Residence and Establishment under the 1990 African Economic Community Treaty 1991-1992.
Appointed Consultant for the Revision of Nigerian Minerals Law by the Federal Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources 1993.
Counsel to Nigeria in the Cameroon/Nigeria Boundary Case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) 1994.
Appointed Member, Board of Trustees and Governing Board, Negotiation and Conflict Management Group (NCMG) Nigeria 1996.
Consultant to USAID and the Office of Transition Initiative 1998-2000.
Mediator, Nigerian Security Minting and Printing Company/Former Workers Mediation 2002-2003.
Member, Delta State Think Tank on Development, 1999-2007.
Chairman, Delta State Forum for the Review of the 1999 Constitution.
Member National Political Reform Conference 2005.
Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption 2015 to date.
Prof Sagay’s areas of teaching, research and writing interest are;
Public International Law
Law of Contact
Law of Succession and Inheritance
Nigerian Customary Law
Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law
Prof Itse Sagay PhD, SAN, FCIArb has written many best-selling Law Books on different areas of law and has also published extensively on local and international scholarly journals including Conference papers. Some of his books are;
Sagay, I.E., The Legal Aspects of the Namibia Dispute, 1975, University of Ife Press, 402 plus xxxii pages.
Sagay I.E., Racial Discrimination in International Law, 1981, University of Ife Press, 175 pages
Sagay I.E., International Law and the Suthern African Situation, 1978, Lecture Series No. 24, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, 91 pages.
Sagay I.E., The Southern African Situation and the Eventual Triumph of International Law, 1991, Annual Lecture of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 41 pages.
Ajala A. and Sagay I.E., (Editors) Implementation of International Humanitarian Law in Nigeria (1997), International Committee of the Red Cross 1977 pages
Ajala A. and Sagay I.E., (Editors), Teaching International Humanitarian Law in Nigerian Universities, (1998) ICRC, Lagos.
Sagay, I.E., A Case Book on the Nigerian Law of Contact, 1983, Professional Books, Abingdon, Oxon, 518 plus xxvi pages.
Sagay, I.E., Nigerian Law of Contract, 1985, Sweet and Maxwell Limited, London, 587 plus xxvi pages, New Edition, 2000.
Sagay, I.E., Case Law under the Matrimonial Causes Decree 1973.
Sagay, I.E., Nigerian Family Law: Principles, Cases, Statutes, and Commentaries, Malthouse Press 2000, 908 pages.
Sagay, I.E., A Legacy for Posterity: The works of the Supreme Court 1980-1988, (1990) Nigerian Law Publications 302 plus xvii pages.
Review of the Minerals Act, 1946 and Related Laws: Report (1993); Collated and Edited by Professor I.E. Sagay.
Sagay, I.E., The Enforcement of Electoral Laws and Case Law of 2007 Election Petition Judgments, 2012, Spectrum Books Limited 464 plus lviii pages.
Sagay, I.E., Inheritance Laws of Nigeria, 2018, 162 pages.
Membership in Professional Bodies
Prof Sagay SAN is a member of the following Professional Bodies;
Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN)
The International Law Association
The Nigerian Society of International Law
American Society of International Law
Nigerian Bar Association (NBA)
International Bar Association (IBA)
Fellow, Institute of Charted Arbitrators, Nigeria.
Prof Sagay holds the Chieftaincy Title of Olufusi of Warri Kingdom.
Written By Ali Toyin