Joseph brings on board, in-depth legal expertise and wealth of experience in the legal services industry, having served leading multinationals, stakeholders and industry leaders across every facet of the Nigerian economy as well as cut his teeth in cutting-edge legal practice at one of the top tier law firms in Africa. He leads the Primus Grace Energy and Natural resources, Banking, Finance and Capital Markets, Tax and Fintech. He has assumed leadership roles in various practices across and served clients in very complex transactions. Joseph helps to lead our Energy and Natural Resources, Power & Utilities, Corporate and Commercial, Tax, Banking, Finance and Capital Markets as well Fintech.


He routinely advises on cutting-edge corporate and commercial transactions and also represents clients in landmark commercial disputes. In addition to being a finance and projects lawyer with experience in banking, capital market, energy, infrastructure, and telecommunications, Joseph has significant real estate and cross-border M&A experience in Africa. He has advised commercial banks, development finance institutions (DFIs), startup firms and multinational corporations on mergers, acquisitions, private equity transactions including fund formation and venture capital as well as provided general legal advisory services cum relevant support services. He has substantial experience in transaction structuring, legal documentation and project management.  

Joseph regularly provides legal support on all aspects of legal services. He has provided legal advisory services and legal representation to leading multinationals and corporates, regulatory bodies and governmental institutions, including but not limited to the Central Bank of Nigeria, Securities and Exchange Commission, Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Seplat, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, amongst others. Apart from recently advising the National Assembly on the Arbitration and Conciliation Act (Amendment Bill), Joseph has also consulted for the House of Representatives Committee on Compliance, Capital Market and Public Companies in Nigeria.  


He is highly recommended by The Legal 500, for his legal expertise, cutting edge and insightful analysis of complex legal issues. Joseph is well regarded by clients, peers and regulators as a thought leader in the industries he plays in, having authored several peer reviewed articles in reputable journals and platforms including as the Oxford Journal of International Dispute Settlement, Oil, Gas & Energy Law Intelligence (OGEL) Journal, The Arctic Institute, The Gravitas Review of Business and Property Law, Cork Online Law Review, Kluwer Arbitration Blog, University of Lagos Law Review, amongst others.   


In addition to being a Commonwealth Shared Scholar and a recipient of other coveted scholarships and awards (such as the Chevron National Merit Award; Total E & P National Merit Award, Federal Government Award for Academic Excellence, Chief Gani Fawehinmi SAN Scholarship Award for Academic Excellence, Grace Leadership Foundation Award), Joseph graduated with a First Class Honours from the University of Ibadan, made three (3) distinctions from the Nigerian Law School and holds a PGD in Oil and Gas Law from the University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom.


Apart from being routinely approached by peer reviewed Journals to write on contemporary legal issues having authored and co-authored scholarly publications in reputable law journals. Joseph serves as a peer reviewer for the Journal of African Law (Cambridge University Press) and Journal of International Dispute Settlement (Oxford University Press). He is a Contributing Writer with The Arctic Institute (Washington DC, USA) and contributes weekly to The Arctic This Weekly, the flagship publication of The Arctic Institute. 



At different times, Joseph has been engaged by the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators to conduct intensive research on contemporary legal issues in oil and gas exploration and production, energy security, maritime boundary disputes, oil spillage and indigenous peoples. He also routinely reviews scholarly publications made to the Journal of International Dispute Settlement published by the Oxford University Press covering area such as international commercial and investment arbitration, international dispute settlement, proceedings before the Law of the Sea Tribunal as well as the Permanent Court of Arbitration, international negotiation and mediation. Joseph also contributes to the Kluwer Arbitration blog on topics ranging from international arbitration to contemporary issues in domestic arbitration.



Some of the key transactions worked on and disputes handled by Joseph include but not limited to the following:

  •         Advised on the US$1.5 Billion financing for the development of a deep sea port in the Lekki Free Trade Zone;
  •         Advised TA Associates on its bid to acquire Emerging Market Payments Holding Limited from Actis;
  •         Advised Molson Coors in connection with the global acquisition of the SAB Miller brands;
  •         Advised on a multi-billionaire real estate investment trust (REIT);
  •        Defended a Petition for winding up of a leading indigenous oil and gas company on a claim of $10,106,250 (Ten million, one hundred and six thousand, two hundred and fifty US Dollars);
  •         Represented an oil and gas company in a dispute involving its interest in certain oil mining leases;
  •         Advised Suntory Beverage & Food Nigeria Ltd of the acquisition of the Lucozade and Ribena business of GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria Plc;
  •         Advised on the acquisition of a majority stake in E-Tranzact Global and certain African subsidiaries including the Nigerian subsidiary;
  •         Advised on the acquisition of a majority stake in Interswitch Limited;
  •         Represented a multinational in a litigation on the revocation of an oil block;
  •         Provided legal representation in multi-millionaire dollar arbitration involving the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and an International Oil Company (IOC); 
  •         Advised the Abraaj Group on the acquisition of majority stake in Mouka Limited (a leading foam manufacturing company in Nigeria); and
  •         Advised on the merger of Enterprise Bank and Heritage Bank


Some of his recent publications include:

Revisiting Unilateral Exploitation of Mineral Resources in Disputed Water under United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: Any New Matter Arising? (Journal of International Dispute Settlement, Oxford University Press, Oxford, United Kingdom, October 2018)

J Onele A Review of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Power as a Liquidator (2018) 9(2) The Gravitas Review of Business and Property Law 1-8

Joseph Onele and Emmanuela Onyilofor ‘Domain Names and Cybersquatting: Implications for Trademarks in Nigeria’ (2018) 9(4) The Gravitas Review of Business & Property Law 115-133

Third Party Funding for Arbitration in Nigeria: Yea or Nay? (Kluwer Arbitration Blog, June 2018)

Demystifying the Nigerian Arbitration and Conciliation Bill 2017 (Kluwer Arbitration Blog, May 2018)



University of Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom (PGD, Oil and Gas Law)
University of Ibadan, Nigeria (LL.B) (First Class Honours)
Nigerian Law School (B.L.) (Barrister & Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria)


Energy and Natural resources
Mining, Power and Utilities
Regulatory Compliance
Corporate and Commercial law
Fintech, Venture Capital and Private Equity
Tax Advisory Services
Dispute Resolution Practice