Profrofessor Nlerum Sunday Okogbule was Born on 15th September, 1960, to the family of Late Elder Sunday and Mrs Azonwo Okogbule at Ovelle-Nvakohia, Rumuekpe in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, Prof Nlerum Sunday Okogbule demonstrated his love for education at a very early stage in life.
He started his primary education in 1965 when his hand could hardly cross the other side of his head which was the customary measurement index in those days. It took the insistence and passionate plea of his father who had himself been denied the opportunity of going to school for the Headmaster to accept the young Okogbule as a pupil then.
Upon completion of his primary education in 1971, he proceeded to Government Secondary School, Creek Road, Port Harcourt in 1972. His first West African School Certificate Examination result was seized alongside others in 1976 but he re-took the WASC Examination in 1977 from home and was still able to pass the examination in Division One. For an educationally backward community then, this was a no mean achievement; and young Okogbule became an instant idol and reference point in the community.
The seizure of his 1976 result aborted his initial plan of studying Medicine as he could only obtain a Pass Grade in Mathematics and Physics in the 1977 result. By the time the 1976 result was released, he had credit passes in Mathematics and Physics among others, however, he was already at the School of Basic Studies, University of Port Harcourt in 1979.
He successfully completed this Programme in 1980 with a CGPA of 4.80 and was already registered for the Bachelor’s degree in Economics when he passed the JAMB examination and was admitted to study Law at the then University of Ife in 1980.
While at the University of Ife, his academic attainment enabled him to be awarded four Scholarships as follows:
1. He was a National Merit Award Winner for Undergraduate Students between 1981-1984
2. University of Ife Scholar, 1981-1984
3. Rivers State Scholarship, 1980-1984
4. Member, Dean’s Brigade for Excellent Academic Performance, 1983-1984
He concluded the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) degree programme in Second Class Honours Upper Division in 1984. He proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, Lagos and concluded the Barrister at Law programme also with Second Class Honours Upper Division. He was accordingly called to the Nigerian Bar on 20th August, 1985. Upon completion of his National Youth Service at the University of Ilorin, he commenced his Master of Laws degree programme at the University of Ife in 1986 and was the Best LL.M Student of the University in 1987. After several years of working at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, he was compelled by a combination of desire and circumstances to travel to the University of Glasgow, Scotland for his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Law which he obtained in March, 2012. He was University of Glasgow Scholar throughout the period of his doctoral studies in Scotland.
Prof Okogbule was employed as a Lecturer 11 in this University in October, 1988 and rose through the ranks to become Professor in October, 2012. He was promoted Lecturer 1 in 1993, Senior Lecturer in 2001 and Reader in October, 2005. Finally he was promoted to the rank of Professor of International Law in October, 2012.
Academic Positions Held in the University
Prof Okogbule served as Faculty Examinations Officer, between 1989 and 1993. He also held the following positions in the Faculty and University:
· Co-ordinator, Law Evening Programme, 1993-1995
· Prof Okogbule is the only staff of the Faculty who had at various times headed all the four Departments in the Faculty.
· Ag Head, Dept of Commercial, Private and Property Law, 1995-1997
· Ag Head, Dept of Jurisprudence, Public and International Law, 1997-2001
· Ag Dean, Faculty of Law, Oct 2001 – 2003
· Ag Head, Dept of Jurisprudence and International Law, 2004 – 2007, and 2012-2014.
· Dean, Faculty of Law, April, 2014 – January, 2018
· Dean, Postgraduate School, March, 2018 – 4th March, 2020
· Vice Chancellor – 5th March, 2020 - Present
Prof Okogbule has also served as Chairman of several University Committees such as: Faculty Board of Law
Students’ Disciplinary Advisory Committee,
Ad-Hoc Council Committee on the Review of the RSUST University Law, and University Teaching Hospital Law
Committee on Insurance Policy for Staff of RSUST, Port Harcourt
Ad-Hoc Committee on Category 7 Cases,
Chairman, Committee on Review of Conditions of Service and Promotion of Non-Academic Staff of the University.
He has also served as a Member of several Committees in the University. These include:
Senate Business Committee,
University Accommodation Allocation Committee,
Students Disturbances Panel,
Admissions Committee, etc.
Prof Okogbule served as a Member of the 12th Governing Council of this University representing Senate.
Government and Community positions held
Prof Okogbule has also served Rivers State and Nigeria in several capacities
· Member, Council of Legal Education, 2001-2003, and 2014 – present
· Executive Committee Member, Nigerian Association of Law Teachers, 2001 -2003, and 2014 – present.
· Executive Committee Member, Nigerian Society of International Law, 1997 – present
· Chairman, Board of Directors, Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
· President, Ekpe Star Club, Rumuekpe
· Chairman, Constitution Drafting Committee, Rumuekpe Community
· Chairman, Rumuekpe Compensation Claims Committee,
· Member, Peace and Security Committee, Emohua Local Government Council
· Member, Vision 2010 Committee, Emohua Local Government Council
· Member, Rivers State Golden Jubilee Celebration Committee
· Member, Committee on Accreditation and Approval of Private Schools in Rivers State, May – September, 2019
Inaugural Human Rights Advisor, Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria Ltd, during his Sabbatical period in the company. 2007 –Sept, 2008.
Prof Okogbule has published two books, one monograph, twelve book Chapters and over 50 articles in refereed national and international journals. Some of his articles have won Awards at International Conferences. His flagship article on ‘Globalization and African Development’, apart from being an Award Winner at the 25th Conference of the Association of Third World Scholars in Cape Coast, Ghana in November, 2009 is regularly cited by writers all over the world. His other Award-winning article ‘Combating the New Slavery in Nigeria: An appraisal of legal and policy responses to human trafficking’ is equally a global reference point on human trafficking.
Prof Okogbule is a committed born-again Christian worshipping with the Church of God Mission Int Inc. at the Rumuepirikom Provincial Headquarters. For several years he served as Chairman of the Church Committee and Men’s Fellowship at the Mgbuosimini, Rumuolumeni Branch of the Church. In recognition of his service in God’s Vineyard, he was ordained a Deacon in November, 2012 and Elder of the Church in November, 2015.
Prof Okogbule is happily married to Deaconess (Barr.) Mrs Uchenda Bibian Okogbule, a staff of the Rivers State Customary Court of Appeal and they are blessed with seven children and four grand-children.
Professor Okogbule is an accomplished academic, a humane and unassuming administrator, a prolific writer, a consummate human rights activist, Legal Luminary of repute, and an Award-winning International Scholar.