Annual Tax Practice Area Guide


LeLaw (Barristers & Solicitors) - Afolabi Elebiju

+234 703 244 8845 / 703 818 6924
Practice Area:
Tax - Legal


Published: 30 Nov 2023

Tax – Legal


Afolabi Elebiju obtained his two Second Class Upper Honours degrees from Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife in 1987 and 1993 respectively. He also has two LLMs, from Harvard Law School (International Finance, 2007) and University of Lagos (Corporate & Commercial Law, 1997).


Called to the Nigerian Bar in March 1995, he has worked on diverse local and cross-border engagements with leading multinational and Nigerian professional firms such as: Olaniwun Ajayi (Associate Counsel 1995–1997); Arthur Andersen/Andersen/KPMG Professional Services (Senior Consultant, Manager and Senior Manager, 1998–2006); Templars Barristers & Solicitors (Partner & Head of Tax Regulatory Practice, 2007–2013); and Africa Capital Alliance (General Counsel and Senior Adviser, 2013–2015).


He is currently the Founding Principal of LeLaw Barristers & Solicitors (, a niche, performance-driven Nigerian commercial law firm deploying unique insights in crafting bespoke solutions, to help clients succeed in the market place. He has, during his almost three decades’ career with Nigerian and multinational professional services firms, been working on big ticket, cross-border and market defining transactions for premium clients – Nigerian blue chips and HNIs, leading multinationals, the public sector, not-for-profits and international development agencies.


His penultimate role prior to LeLaw, included establishing and leading one of the most respected law firm tax practices in Nigeria. As the inaugural tax and regulatory team leader, he also supported the Corporate & Commercial, Finance, Energy & Projects and Dispute Resolution Groups. He was the tax champion in the international counsel team (with Freshfields) that obtained an arbitral award in favour of Erha PSC co-venturers against the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in October 2011, which amounted (with interest) to US$2.67 billion as at August/September 2019: He also represented upstream clients in significant tax appeals and crude entitlement disputes arbitration related litigation, many of which are reported.


Before then, his 8-year Andersen/KPMG experience included a 2001 secondment to the Glasgow offices of leading Scottish firm, Dundas & Wilson, working with their Technology and Infrastructure Groups for diverse clientele. He has, amongst other deals, worked on the Nigerian aspects (tax legal regulatory issues) of many significant international M&A transactions, as well on Nigerian entry and exit strategies for leading multinationals.


Subsequently, as General Counsel of Nigeria’s pioneer private equity (PE) firm focusing on the Gulf of Guinea, he led provision of in-house transactional support to deals, including participation in setting up a US$750 million PE fund, oversaw risk management function, was a member of the Leadership Team and instructed/ supervised external counsel.


At LeLaw Barristers & Solicitors, he continues to provide business advisory, transactions structuring, regulatory support, investment disputes strategy advisory, tax dispute resolution services to diverse local and foreign premium clients across all sectors, leveraging his multidisciplinary background. Over his career, Afolabi has been exposed to and continues to undertake civil and commercial litigation at trial and appellate courts, investment disputes arbitration and tax litigation.


Some of his recent/current LeLaw Barristers & Solicitors tax-related engagements include:

·         being co-counsel in a tax dispute of N97 billion involving an international upstream client;

·         buyers’ co-counsel in a significant M&A transaction involving two related targets;

·         provided significant tax related capital restructuring transaction advisory for an upstream group, as “a second pair of eyes”, to review the deliverable of the primary advisor;

·         counsel in separate tax appeals including an upstream client and a leading ICT player running into billions of Naira;

·         significant VAT and stamp duties compliance strategy advisory engagements for a leading ICT player;

·         diverse tax optimisation, etc, transaction structuring engagements for local and foreign clients across all sectors: upstream, financial services, real estate, FMCCG, fintech, ICT, professional services, etc;

·         diverse tax advisory engagements for an international upstream client and other advisory spanning the entire gamut of its Nigerian operations;

·         sundry advisory opinions on operational business legal regulatory tax issues for leading PE client;

·         sundry advisory opinions on diverse operational business legal regulatory tax issues for leading integrated real estate development client across its entire value chain;

·         sundry advisory opinions on startup and operational legal regulatory tax issues for global aspirational STEM-focused tertiary institution;

·         advising on Nigerian entry, operating and exit strategies for leading multinational investors; and

·         tax advisory cum strategy consultancy for a leading litigation firm retained by their client on a transfer pricing (TP) dispute.


He is a member of many professional associations, including Fellow (FCTI) of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) since 2008; also Fellow, Centre of International Legal Studies, Austria since 2003. He was one-time Vice Dean of CITN’s Indirect Tax Faculty (ITF), and continues to contribute to the Faculty’s discourse on topical tax regulatory issues. He has variously been a facilitator/resource person at many CITN’s MPTP programmes. His 2008 CITN MPTP presentation, “Free Trade Zones & Nigeria Tax Regime” became a researcher’s delight, and top ranking Internet content on the topic; so was his 2012 in-house tax training presentation, “Transfer Pricing in Nigeria: The New Reality”. He has also attended and/or spoken at many professional fora within and outside Nigeria, in four (4) continents. Some offshore tax-related courses that he has attended include: KPMG’s Africa Tax Academy (South Africa, 2006); CWC’s World Fiscal Systems for Oil and Gas (Netherlands, 2012) and International Fiscal Association’s 72nd Congress (South Korea, 2018).


Afolabi is a serial author, presenter and longtime insightful contributor to Nigerian business regulatory and sectoral discourse; exemplified by his prolific, in-depth and analytic published footprint in prestigious local and international journals/media.


His recent tax-related seminal publications include: “Posers and Answers: The Petroleum Industry Act 2021, Production Sharing Contracts and Stabilisation Issues (April 2023); Factors: A Discussion on Property Tax Delinquency and Allied Issues in Nigeria” (October 2021, co-authored); “Unravellings: Tax Implications of Divorce Settlements and Optimality Structuring Possibilities in Nigeria”, (May 2021, co-authored) “Rendezvous: Implications of Tax Provisions of Nigeria’s Finance Act (No.2) 2020 For Non-Residents”, (January 2021); “Nigeria’s Finance Act 2020 Tax Amendments – Should the Oil & Gas Sector Be Nervous?”, (March 2020); “Cessations and Destinations: Issues in Gas Flare Commercialisation in Nigeria”, (February 2021, co-authored); “PSC Contractors Get Ready! Fiscal Implications of the Supreme Court Decision in A-G Rivers State & Ors v. A-G Federation SC9642016”, (March 2019, co-authored); “Rethinking Deductibility of Interest on Affiliate Loans by Upstream Companies Under Nigeria’s Petroleum Profits Tax Act (PPTA)”, 1 TLJN (2012), pp. 15-32 (co-authored); Journeys: Current State Assessment of Nigerian Export Processing/Free Trade Zones Regime”, (April 2020, co-authored); and “Counting the Cost: An Impact Analysis of Nigeria’s Tax Incentive Regime”, (March 2021, co-authored); “Relationships and Scrutinisations: The Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 and Transfer Pricing in Nigeria”, (April 2021); “Boundaries: Taxation of Nigerian Residents Providing Varying Services Remotely for Non-Residents”, (August 2021, co-authored); “Synchronisations: Size Categorisations under Nigerian Companies and Tax Legislation” (August 2021); “Connections, Collections: Issues Arising from the Imposition of Excise Duties on Telecommunications Services in Nigeria”, (April 2021); “Taxation of the Digital Economy: Rethinking the Fixed-Base Rule in Nigeria”, (January 2021, co-authored); and Questions and Pathways: Recent Issues in Nigerian Stamp Duties’ Regulatory Framework (LeLaw on Stamp Duties)”, (December 2020, edited and co-authored); “Progressions: From Road Trust to Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Tax Credits”, (April 2019); “Implications: Analysis of Income Tax Exemption of Bonds in Nigeria, (October 2018, co-authored); Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB): New Dawn or False Hope? Vol. 1: Tax Fiscal Highlights & Issues” (co-authored July 2012 Newsletter); and “Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) & Stabilization Rights: Keeping an Eye on Emerging Tax & Fiscal Issues” (co-authored February 2010 Newsletter).


He was co-editor (and chapter contributor), to CITN’s ITF inaugural publication, “Indirect Taxes in Nigeria” (2014). He co-authored Value Added Tax and the Informal Sector”, and was Editorial Board member of the sequel, “Value Added Tax in Nigeria: Policy, Legal Administrative Issues and Options for Reform” (2021). He also led LeLaw’s Nigerian Chapter contribution to Bloomberg’s Winter 2020/Spring 2021 Tax Transfer Pricing Forum, and has just recently authored the Nigerian Chapter of Bloomberg’s Fall 2023 Transfer Pricing Forum in addition to many other contributions to prestigious international publications/platforms on diverse tax, corporate commercial law and regulatory topics.


Afolabi wrote the widely acclaimed Taxspectives” column for ThisDay Lawyer, the legal section of Nigerian leading newspaper ThisDay, between 2009 and 2015, covering diverse tax-related and other regulatory topics, including: tax (and business landscape cum sectoral) reform proposals, reviews of tax regulatory changes and Nigerian tax Caselaw respectively, analysis of topical recondite tax issues, amongst others. His Taxspectives’ article collection was re-published as a LeLaw branded imprint in 2018.


A profound pro Nigeria optimist and business regulatory reform evangelist, his 120-page treatise, “Promoting Country Competitiveness through Sectoral Reforms: Case Study of Nigerian Telecommunications Sector, 1999–2006” was published by MentorHouse in 2014. Many of his other seminal sectoral and subject matter publications are on the firm’s Thought Leadership page, which also features authoritative publications by his LeLaw colleagues:


Afolabi’s publications and other advisory content has been cited both locally and internationally by respected researchers/authors, as well as relied upon in arguments before the Courts. He has also been mentoring-cum-grooming many aspiring and emerging tax law specialists, amongst others.


He has been consistently very well ranked by legal directories. Who’s Who Legal (WWL) described him thus in Corporate Tax – Nigeria 2022: “With LeLaw Barristers & Solicitors, Afolabi Elebiju is an accomplished practitioner who regularly assists corporations of all sizes in tax regulation and litigation.” In 2021: Afolabi Elebiju from LeLaw Barristers & Solicitors is ‘a wonderful tax expert’ with a deep understanding of tax structuring and regulation.” WWL 2020 reported that Afolabi Elebiju is widely acknowledged as one of Nigeria’s top tax lawyers, well known for his extensive knowledge of the gamut of domestic tax regulations.”


The WWL Corporate Tax – Nigeria 2023 (current) report stated that: Afolabi Elebiju is a key name in the market thanks to his deep expertise in transactional and regulatory tax matters. Peers highlight him as a ‘diligent and hardworking professional’”. WWL’s Nigeria – M&A and Governance 2023 affirmed that: Afolabi Elebiju is highly esteemed for his adept handling of high-value M&A transactions both domestically and abroad.”


His earlier recognitions include being cited with two colleagues at Templars, where he was the inaugural Tax Partner & Practice Head, by Legal 500, 2010 edition as “spectacular in their mastery of the law and legal advice” and that Templars “ highly recommended for tax work. Clients rate the firm as ‘one of the best’”. WWL 2012 recognised him thus: “…Templars’ leading tax lawyer Afolabi Elebiju is recommended for his ‘extensive consulting skills’ and the ‘high-level’ advice he provides for both Nigerian and international clients.” 


Afolabi also consults for leading Nigerian and international professional services firms (law and accounting practices), and facilitates at clients’ in-house strategy and training programmes. He has also authored, co-authored and reviewed diverse business strategy and policy papers for various clients across all sectors.


Further details of Afolabi’s professional profile can be found at:; the highlights of some of his transaction (advisory, transactions support, etc) experience is accessible at:, whilst a list of some his earlier career publications and recent non-tax articles can be accessed at:

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