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Biography/Profile/History Of Special Adviser on Social Protection Schemes “Maryam Uwais”


Maryam Uwais is a legal practitioner and human rights activist based in Abuja, Nigeria. In July 2010, she was appointed a member of the National Job Creation Committee. Prior to that, she served on the Acting President of Nigeria’s Presidential Advisory Council.

She founded the Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative in December 2009, which targets the conditions of women and children in education, healthcare and empowerment. She was also a task force member of the Next Generation Nigeria Report convened by the British Council in November 2009. Maryam has worked as a consultant to the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, UNICEF, the World Bank, and the British Department for International Development.ACERWC-Expert-Maryam-Uwais

She has published articles relating to economic, social and cultural rights; child justice administration; children and women’s rights; interfaith dialogue; and justice sector reform. She serves on the boards of the Justice Research Institute, the Nigeria Leadership Initiative, the African Union Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, and the Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund. She is a 2014 Laureate of the John P. McNulty Prize. Maryam is a Fellow of the second class of the Nigeria Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. She was Admitted to the Nigerian Bar in 1981 



  • Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State – LL. B Hons, (1980)
  • Nigerian Law School, V.I Lagos – BL (1981)
  • Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State – LL.M (1985)
  • Nigerian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies – Certificate in Legal Drafting, 1989
  • Nigerian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies- Certificate in Advanced Practice and Procedure, 1995
  •  College of Law, England and Wales – International Practice Diploma (IBA) in International Business Organisations, 2003-
  • Associate, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) (2006)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Islamic Banking and Insurance (2009)

Employment Record:

  • Kano State Ministry of Justice (1980-1987)
  • Nigerian Law Reform Commission (1988-1989)
  •  Central Bank of Nigeria, 1989-1998
  • Principal Partner, Wali-Uwais & Co (2003-date)mrsuwais


  • Council Member, Special Rapporteur, Rights of the Child, National Human Rights Commission (June 2000-2004 & 2005-2006), Nigeria;
  • Member Bureau of Public Enterprises Steering Committee on Anti-Trust and Competition, Nigeria, (June 2011);
  • Pioneer Director Leapafrica (2003-2006);
  • Pioneer Member, Steering Committee, Commonwealth Education Fund (2002-2006)
  • Selection Committee Member, MacArthur Foundation (2003 & 2004);
  • Member, Consultative Committees on Justice Sector Reform (2003) and Legal Aid Reform (2004), Federal Ministry of Justice;
  • Trustee, Youth Business Initiatives (2004-2008);
  • Member, Board of Governors, Negotiation and Conflict Management Group (2004-2007);
  • Member, Working Committee on Fiscal Responsibility Act for Nigeria (2004-2006);
  • Associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK); August, 2006);
  • NBA Chair, Justice Sector Committee (Sept. 2006-June, 2007);
  • Advisory Board Member, Nigeria Leadership Initiative (Jan. 2007);
  • Board Member, Justice Research Institute Ltd Gte. (Oct, 2007);
  • Trustee, Coalition Against Tobacco (Sept. 2007);
  • Board Member, Women in Successful Careers Ltd Gte, (Oct. 2007);
  • Coalition for Change (C4C): Member, Technical Committee of the Constitutional Reform Dialogue Mechanism (Dec. 2007); Gender and Affirmative Action (May 2008);
  • Member African Union Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (July 2008);
  • Member, NBA Capacity Building Committee (February 2009)
  • Member, Securities and Exchange Commission Bonds Sub-Committee (January 2009);
  • Member, Next Generation Task Force, Nigeria (December 2009);
  • Founder and Chairperson, Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative Ltd Gte (December 2009);
  • Member, Ministry of Finance Job Creation Committee – (July 2012 – November 2010)
  • Trustee, Speakers Corners Trust – (August 2010)
  • Advisory Board Member, Nigeria Women Trust Fund Ltd Gte – (March 2011)
  • Member, NBA Gani SAN Award for Human Rights & Social Justice Selection Committee – (March 2011)
  • Member, Presidential Advisory Council -(March 2010 – May 2011)
  • Member, Thisday Editorial Board – (June 2011)
  • Board Member, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc – (June 2011)
  • Member, BPE Legal Technical Committee of National Council of Privatization (August 2011)
  • Member, Kano State Government Almajirai Committee – (August 2011)
  • Consultant to UNICEF, OSIWA, World Bank, DFID on various projects

Core Practice Areas:

  • Constitutional Law;
  • Competition  & Anti Trust,
  • Banking & Insurance Law;
  • Privatisation;
  • Human Rights Law;
  • Public Interest Litigation,
  • Justice Sector Reform,
  • Arbitration,
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution;
  • Mergers & Acquisition;
  • Legislative Drafting;
  • International Business Law;
  • Family Law;
  • Islamic Banking and Capital Market Operations.

Membership of Professional Bodies:

  • Nigerian Bar Association;
  • International Bar Association;
  • Association for Women’s Rights in Development;
  • Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, UK;
  • Associate Fellow of Institute for Islamic Banking & Insurance, UK.

Languages Spoken:

  • English,
  • Hausa


Video: My Aspen Action Pledge – Maryam Uwais


Mrs. Maryam Uwais, MFR served as a Principal Partner of Wali Uwais & Co, an Abuja-based law firm. Mrs. Uwais has over 20 years cognate law practice experience. From 1980 to 1987, she was with the Kano State Ministry of Justice. In 1988, she moved to the Nigerian Law Reform Commission after which she co-founded Wali Uwais & Co.

She has been a Non-Executive Director of Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC and Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc since November 2011. She also serves as a Director of Wali Uwais & Co. She obtained a certificate in Advanced Practice and Procedure in 1985 and another in Legal Drafting in 1989 from the Nigeria Institute for Advanced Legal Studies. Mrs. Uwais was educated at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where she bagged an LLM in 1985.


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