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Maryam Uwais MFR

***On leave of absence as Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments***

Maryam is a founding Partner of Primera Africa Legal. She is an experienced commercial lawyer and arbitrator with a broad practice that spans over 30 years. Her area of expertise includes Banking & Insurance Law, Islamic Banking, Mergers & Acquisition, Capital Market Operations, Human Rights Law, Justice Sector Reform, Legislative Drafting, Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Maryam advises a diverse array of clients, from major financial institutions and manufacturing companies to government and its agencies, on a full range of commercial transactions. She has also worked extensively with global development aid agencies, having worked as a legal consultant to the World Bank, the United Nations, the UK Department for International Development, USAID and Oxfam.

In addition to her role as a Partner in Primera Africa Legal, she is actively involved in promoting human rights issues with emphasis on social and cultural rights, child’s rights, women rights and empowerment. In 2009, she founded Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative, an NGO that empowers women and children in Kano, and currently serves as the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments.

Awards and Recognitions

  • Awarded with the National Honour of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) by President Goodluck Ebele Johanthan GCFR (2011)
  • The Outstanding Leadership Award for contributions to equity, justice and human rights in Nigeria, by the Business and Professional Women in Nigeria Association (2012).
  • An award by The Nigerian Human Rights Community in appreciation of contributions as Member of The African Union Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (2013).
  • Selected as one of the five McNulty Prize Laureates at the Aspen Institute, Colorado, following the activities of the Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative (2014).
  • Selected as a National Human Rights Commission Awardee for ‘Outstanding Contributions in the Advancement of the Rights of Women and Children in Nigeria (2015).
  • Recipients of the Thisday Awards given to women who have distinguished themselves in the service of Nigeria (2012).
  • Received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the International Women’s Society (2011).


  • Prepared the Working Paper on Justice Sector Reform, (September, 2001) circulated to Stakeholders nation-wide, (for support and responses) as the initiative of the civil society and the NBA
  • Supervised the preparation of a handbook on the CRC and CEDAW, for the utilization of law enforcement agencies, and in particular the training of police and prison officers on how to treat children and women in their custody, which effort was supported by UNICEF.