Megan Chapman, co-director
Megan' vision for JEI’s blend of legal empowerment and community mobilization was born in rural Cameroon and refined in South Africa’s townships, before it took root in Nigeria where she has worked since 2011. With a wide variety of international and domestic human rights and development organizations, Megan has helped to build community-based paralegal programs and supported strategic human rights litigation in Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Nigeria, she is seeking sustainable ways to bring skills and resources directly to poor communities. Megan holds a J.D. from American University Washington College of Law (summa cum laude), where she was a Public Interest/Public Service scholar and the co-Editor-in-Chief of the Human Rights Brief. She holds a B.A. in history from University of Chicago (high distinction).
Rasheed Shittu, lagos coordinator
Abdul Rasheed Shittu is an accounting professional with demonstrated auditing and financial management experience gained from over eight years work in leading multinational organizations. In 2009, based on his passion for community development and social work, he transitioned to the non-profit sector. He now works with JEI to support the Lagos Federation to monitor savings groups across the state, to develop financial management systems, and to undertake citywide profiling. He also helps to coordinate other JEI support, including legal empowerment and training. A graduate of Kwara State Polytechnic, he has an associate membership with the Chartered Institute of Supply Chain Management and the Certified Institute of Warehousing and Material Management. He is fluent in the English, Yoruba, and Hausa languages.
Chike Emerueh, port harcourt coordinator & community mediation officer
Chike is a social psychologist and a natural teacher with a passion for capacity building, alternative dispute resolution (ADR), and working with youth. Prior to joining JEI, he organized numerous youth-focused seminars and coordinated a call-in radio show for the National Youth Service Corps. He is trained in ADR and is a member of the Nigerian Institute of Management (chartered). Chike coordinates JEI's Port Harcourt office and projects. He is fluent in English, Igbo, and Pidgin English languages.
Ifeyinwa Nwabueze, staff attorney & researcher
Ifeyinwa is a human rights lawyer with practice experience across a wide variety of areas of law. Before joining JEI, Ifeyinwa worked as an Advocate/Solicitor in law firms in Abuja and Lagos handling cases of both civil and political disputes. Ifeyinwa obtained her Barrister at Law (BL) degree from the Nigerian Law School at Abuja, she is also a Chartered Secretary and Administrator, a Member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria. As Staff Attorney and Researcher, Ifeyinwa supports JEI's litigation and community-based paralegal training and supervision in Port Harcourt, as well as JEI's land tenure research. She is fluent in English, Igbo, and Pidgin English languages.
Joseph Kayode Aro, mapping & profiling data analyst
Joseph is a creative GIS analyst with several years of experience conducting remote sensing analysis, digital mapping, database design and administration, as well as spatial analysis. Joseph holds a Btech in Geography and an MSc in GIS and Environmental Management. With interests in mapping, data and sports, he has carried out numerous urban assessment analysis with focus on housing pattern, distribution and growth factors. He has worked with the University of Ilorin as a GIS Consultant and is the Director of GIS Cleric International. He is also a veteran radio and TV sports presenter and analyst. He is fluent in English, Yoruba, Hausa, and Pidgin English languages.
Sunny Aigbefo, access to health lead
Sunny is a public health professional and researcher. Prior to joining JEI, he worked with the Carter Center, Global 2000, PEPFAR, and APIN on various community health and research projects. He has expertise in community mobilization and education on issues of public health, as well as training and curriculum development. He is also Executive Director of K’arale, a community health organization focused on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. He is fluent in English, Yoruba, and Pidgin English languages.
Adesola Gbolabo, staff attorney
Adesola is a lawyer with general practice experience across a wide variety of areas. He has a keen interest in research and public interest litigation. Before joining JEI, he worked as an advocate/solicitor in law firms in Lagos and Port Harcourt handling cases and disputes, litigated and otherwise. Adesola obtained his Barrister at Law (BL) degree from the Nigerian Law School at Abuja. He support’s JEI litigation and community based paralegal training and supervision in Port Harcourt. He is fluent in English, Yoruba and Pidgin English languages.
Anna Maitland, US liaison
Anna's career has centered on supporting vulnerable and marginalized populations to own and lead their struggles toward progressive and sustainable change. She has engaged in the Americas and Africa on statelessness, asylum, and sexual rights through work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), and Heshima Kenya. In Nigeria, her work has focused on right to health and impacts of forced evictions. Anna holds a J.D. from American University Washington College of Law (cum laude), where she served as Managing Editor of the Human Rights Brief, and a M.A. from American University School of International Service, where she received scholarships from Meyers Society and the Women’s Law Association.
Andrew Maki, co-director
Andrew began his career working on international criminal justice in the Balkans and transitional justice in Uganda until recognizing the disconnect between these efforts and the everyday lives of victims. Since 2011, he has been working with the poor in urban slums and rural villages across Nigeria to defend and advance their rights, becoming ever more convinced that the recipe for meaningful social change amidst pervasive impunity lies in bringing the poor together to organize and lead their own struggles. Andrew holds a J.D. from American University Washington College of Law, where he was the co-Editor-in-Chief of the Human Rights Brief and earned the award for the highest number of pro bono hours. He has worked with the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, the American Bar Association – Rule of Law Initiative, and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Olusola Babalola, staff attorney
Olusola is a human rights lawyer with a passion for working to improve access to justice for poor and marginalized individuals. She has worked on a wide variety of cases from criminal defense to land disputes. Before joining JEI, Olusola worked as a legal/program officer at Justice Development and Peace Initiatives (JDPI) in Ekiti State, where she provided free legal services to indigent individuals in detention, trained traditional rulers in alternative dispute resolution (ADR), and taught human rights in secondary schools. She is also an active member of the International Federation of Female Lawyers (FIDA). As staff attorney, Olusola supports JEI's litigation and community-based paralegal training and supervision in Lagos. She is fluent in English and Yoruba languages.
Chioma F. Ngoka, staff attorney
Chioma is a lawyer dedicated to improving access to justice for the poor. Prior to joining JEI she worked with D.J. Fadere & Co., a general practice law firm. She obtained her Barrister at Law (BL) degree from the Nigerian Law School in Lagos where she developed a strong interest in criminal law and procedure. Chioma supports all of JEI’s legal work and research in Lagos. She is fluent in English, Igbo and Pidgin English languages.
Friday Oteikwu, staff attorney
Friday Oteikwu is a human rights lawyer and an advocate for the poor. Before joining JEI, he worked with Synergy Law Partnership, a general practice law firm in Lagos. Friday obtained his Bachelor of Law Degree from the University of Maiduguri and his Barrister at Law from the Nigeria Law School in Lagos where he developed interest in civil law and procedure, criminal law and procedure and property Law. He is fluent in English, Idoma, Hausa, and Pidgin Languages.
Omotayo Enujiugha, staff attorney
Omotayo is a lawyer with practice experience across a wide variety of areas of law. Before joining JEI, Omotayo worked as a Senior Associate and Team Lead, Corporate and Commercial Practice Group in Afe Babalola & Co. Ibadan, handling several cases and disputes, litigated and otherwise. Omotayo is a researcher and a published author on several issues and holds a Masters Degree in Law (LLM) from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. She is a Certified Project Manager, an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) Nigeria Branch and is dedicated to the cause of justice. As Staff Attorney, Omotayo supports JEI's litigation and community-based paralegal training and supervision in Lagos. She is fluent in English, Yoruba and Pidgin English languages.
OluTimehin Adegbeye, policy advocacy officer
OluTimehin is a writer, public speaker and researcher with a deep commitment to social justice. She has been published in multiple languages in print and online media and has worked with local, regional and international organisations on issues of gender equality, sustainable development and movement building. Besides facilitating writing workshops and speaking on arts- and activism-based panels, she also provides digital and social media support to women’s rights organisations on the continent. OluTimehin holds a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Economics (Second Class, Upper) from the University of Ibadan, Oyo State.
Enyo Oko, urban planner (NYSC)
Enyo is an urban and physical planner who previously worked with the Kogi State Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning and Pasbab Global Resources Lokoja developing plans for road layouts and building construction. As an urban planner with JEI, Enyo works very closely with the Federation's mapping and data capture team to plan towards in-situ upgrading solutions in Port Harcourt waterfront communities. He is fluent in English, Igala, Yourba, and Pidgin English languages.
Mukaila Adelaja, staff attorney (NYSC)
Mukaila is a lawyer with specialization in civil and criminal litigation. Before joining JEI he worked with Juris Kastle, a general practice law firm in Alausa, Lagos. Mukaila obtained his Bachelor of Law degree from Olabisi Onabanjo University and his Barrister at Law from the Nigeria Law School in Lagos. As Staff Attorney, Mukaila supports our community paralegals in Port Harcourt. He is fluent in English and Pidgin English languages.
directors & trustees
Abiodun Baiyewu, Abuja, Nigeria
Abiodun is the Nigeria Country Director for Global Rights and has extensive experience working in Nigerian civil society on issues around human rights, access to justice, and peace-building. Abi has worked with organizations in Nigeria including the Negotiation and Conflict Management Group, the Center for African Policy and Peace Strategy, and the American Center for International Labor Solidarity. Abi holds a Bachelor of Law from the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria and a Masters of Law from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington D.C., where she was also a Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellow in the Leadership and Advocacy for Women in Africa Program. She is an accredited mediator, dispute resolution trainer, and an HIV/AIDS youth counselor. Abiodun is a member of JEI's board of directors of JEI, serving as the chairperson, and a trustee of CLSI.
Jack Makau, Nairobi, Kenya
Jack is a Country Program Officer at Slum/Shack Dwellers International, based in Kenya and providing support to slum dweller federations across Africa and around the world. He has worked with the Kenyan federation, Muungano wa Wanavijiji, since its founding, holding roles with Muungano Support Trust and Pamoja Trust. He is an expert in enumerations, slum profiling, and participatory urban planning. Jack is a member of the board of directors of JEI.
Libby Cook, Boulder, USA
Libby is founder and Executive Director of Philanthropiece, a foundation dedicated to catalyzing change at the grassroots in communities around the world. Libby is a teacher, a mentor and an innovator, all skills which help her to actively serve on Advisory Boards for the Center for the Advancement of Sustainable Enterprise (CASE) at Colorado State University (chairperson), the University of Colorado School of Law, Silicon Flatiron Centers’ Entrepreneurship Initiatives at the University of Colorado, and Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network. Dedicated to community empowerment projects in North and Central America, Libby has led Philanthropiece to be on the cutting edge of community based assistance, focusing on community education, awareness and ownership of projects that are sought and determined by the beneficiaries. This dedication to education and financial awareness has been acknowledged many times, as she is the recipient of numerous commendations and awards including the Alumni Award for Distinguished Achievement from the CU School of Law in 2000, the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 1998, the YWCA Hall of Fame Award for Entrepreneurship in 1995 and the Esprit Entrepreneur Award in 1992. Libby is a member of JEI's board of directors, serving as the treasurer.
Kalu Obuba, Abuja, Nigeria
Kalu is a lawyer with over two decades of practice experience before Nigerian courts on a broad array of cases, including housing rights (forced eviction), land grab, HIV-based discrimination, employment disputes, among others. He has litigated cases in Lagos State, Rivers State (Port Harcourt), and the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja), and numerous other jurisdictions. Kalu received his LL.B from the University of Benin, and his B.L. from Nigeria Law School, Lagos. He has his own chambers, Obuba & Obuba, in Abuja and serves as an independent senior legal advisor to JEI, as well as a trustee of CLSI.
Olamide Udoma, Lagos, Nigeria Olamide Udoma is a researcher, writer, and filmmaker holding degrees in BSc Architecture, MA Design and MPhil Infrastructure Management. At Our Future Cities NPO, she is the Future Lagos manager. Olamide started her career in public relations, giving her a business and marketing foundation. She has worked in London, South Africa and Nigeria with various organisations focusing on transport management, slum upgrading and housing rights in urbanising African cities. Based in Lagos, Olamide is engaged with projects that use technology to explore more human centered urban planning. She is a founding board member of Open House Lagos and also co-directing a documentary on land making in Lagos and the restrictions placed on researchers and artists who question large-scale developments. Olamide is a member of the board of directors of JEI.
Gbenga Austen Oladapo, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Austen is founder and Executive Director of the Initiative for Advancement of Humanity (IAH), a human rights NGO that provides legal and health services to vulnerable populations. He has practiced law for over nine years, and has experience in criminal defense, forced evictions and land grabs, and discrimination in access to health services, among others. Austen regularly volunteers his time and skills to support human rights cases and campaigns. He also has adept knowledge of organizational and project management / implementation. Austen is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association, an associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK), and a trustee of CLSI.
Dr. Aaron L. Strong, Orono, USA Aaron is Assistant Professor of Marine Policy and Fellow at the George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine, where his research examines the human dimensions of climate change policy implementation, with an emphasis on the vulnerability and resilience of coastal communities. Aaron received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in environmental governance, focused on justice and climate change policy-development challenges. He previously received a Masters of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University in climate change policy and political geography, and has held research positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Montana and the Marine Biological Laboratory. Aaron holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Political Science from Swarthmore College. He is a member of JEI's board of directors, serving as the climate change advisor.
Jacob Mihalak, Seattle, USA Jacob comes to the board with more than 30 years experience managing – and providing technical assistance to – nonprofit entities in the U.S. housing, healthcare, and human services sectors. He runs Sound Thinking LLC, a sole-proprietor consulting firm that supports the work of government, nonprofit and philanthropic entities seeking to develop/operate affordable housing or create effective crisis-response systems for persons living with HIV and/or experiencing homelessness. He is a nationally recognized planner, trainer, conference organizer and content developer. Jacob has been a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Washington State since 1986 and has established, managed and been an advisor on nonprofit accounting, data collection and grants management systems throughout his career. He received his bachelor degree from Colorado College, studied landscape design and planning at the Conway School of Landscape Design, and is an active participant in local and national low-income housing and homeless policy formulation and advocacy. Jacob is a member of JEI's board of directors, serving as a member of the audit committee.