Graduation Masters

Nigeria’s Minister of State for Power graduates with LLM

tutor Dr George Ndi (left) and Mohammed Wakil together after the awards ceremony.

Mon, 17 Nov 2014 12:57:00 GMT

Mohammed Wakil oversaw Nigeria’s massive privatisation programme in the energy sector and still found time to complete his Master of Laws degree

ONE of Nigeria’s leading lawyers and politicians has successfully combined his high-profile career with postgraduate study at the University of Huddersfield. And it has been a considerable aid in his development of new legislation that aims to ensure higher levels of overseas investment in Africa’s most populous country.

Mohammed Wakil (pictured) has been awarded a distinction in his Master of Laws (LLM) degree at the University, after submitting a dissertation entitled The Legal Framework for the Promotion and Protection of Investment in Nigeria. He also successfully underwent a viva exam and during his studies he paid several visits to Huddersfield, using library facilities for research and meeting his supervisor, Dr George Ndi, who is LLM Course Director in Legal Practice in the University’s Law School.

It was while he was still completing his dissertation earlier in 2014 that Mr Wakil was appointed to Nigeria’s Federal Cabinet as Minister of State for Power, a major role in a country that has undergone a massive privatisation programme in the energy sector.

It has been widely hailed as a success, having boosted energy production and the wider economy, says Mr Wakil. But he has been concerned that potential overseas investors in Nigeria have been deterred because of insufficient protection for their investment.

His dissertation has addressed that issue and his findings have also contributed to draft legislation that has been debated by the Nigerian Parliament. Now, despite the demands of his ministerial job, Mr Wakil aims to carry out further research – at doctoral level – in which he broadens his scope and examines the African continent as a whole.

In Nigeria, Mr Wakil adds, there is also the challenge of ensuring both the safety of foreign investment and the security of the nation as a whole, in the face of a current wave of insurgency by extremist groups.

Study and reflection

Mr Wakil’s earlier studies were at the University of Maiduguri in northern Nigeria and at the Nigerian Law School. After graduation, he founded Crystal Law Chambers in the Nigerian capital Abuja, before being elected to the country’s House of Representatives, where he was House Majority Leader from 1999-2003. He then served as Vice-Chairman of the North East Region, of the ruling People’s Democratic Party.

He enrolled for a Huddersfield LLM in September 2013 after attending a one-week bridging course delivered by the University’s Law School in Abuja.

Mr Wakil’s future political ambitions include contesting elections for the post of Governor of a Nigerian state, but he values the opportunity to visit the University of Huddersfield for study and reflection.

“I like the environment here. It is very welcoming, and very conducive to learning.”