Jake Okechukwu Effoduh

PhD Candidate
Jake Okechukwu Effoduh photo
Dissertation Title
Masquerade Dance in Tennis Shoes: On the Legitimization of Artificial Intelligence and its Effects on Human Rights in Anglophone Africa

I am honoured to be a Vanier Scholar here at Osgoode as well as a Queen Elizabeth Scholar with the Centre for Law, Technology, and Society at the University of Ottawa. In addition, I lead as the Chief Councillor of the Africa – Canada Artificial Intelligence and Data Innovation Consortium (ACADIC), where we strive to leverage AI and Big to forge resilient governance strategies and increase societal preparedness for future global pandemics. My journey over the past decade as an international lawyer has been enriched by programmatic experiences across thirty countries, allowing me to work on issues of technology governance and to advocate for human rights at various ranks of legal systems. I hold two master’s degrees in international law from the University of Oxford in the UK and York University in Canada. I am passionate about international legal education. My recent book, ‘A Decade at the Bar’, is an anthology of professional experiences that showcases various transitions from legal education in Nigeria to various areas of international law practice. I am also passionate about African/Black history, gastronomy, and horticulture.


The main objective of this dissertation is to examine if, and how, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) is legitimized in Anglophone Africa and the resulting impact of such legitimization (or otherwise) on the enjoyment of human rights in that key zone of the African continent. This will be done by relying on evidence from three prominent AI-deploying and socio-politically important States in the region: Nigeria (in the West), Kenya (in the East) and South Africa (in the South). These three States are dubbed “the African Triangle” in this work. The second overarching objective of the dissertation (which is ancillary to the first), is to analyze and theorize the potential for AI to remedy (or amplify) the “legitimization crisis” that has been theorized in the literature as a factor that has been limiting the realization of the full potential of activist forces to advance human rights in the region.


2017: Master of Laws (LL.M) - Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Canada

2015: Master of International Human Rights Law (MSt., IHRL) - University of Oxford, United Kingdom

2010: Bachelor of Laws (LLB), Public and Internationall Law (with Honours) - University of Abuja, Nigeria

Diploma in Law (DL) - University of Abuja, Nigeria

Teaching Experience

Lecturer, University of Ottawa Summer Institute in Health Law and Artificial Intelligence, Canada “Human Rights and Health Artificial Intelligence Systems” (2022).

Guest Lecturer “Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights in Africa” Faculty of Law, Strathmore University, Nairobi, Kenya (2022).

Guest Lecturer, “Artificial Intelligence and International Law” LW6566, Contemporary Issues in International Law Course, University College Cork, Ireland (2022).

Guest Lecturer, “Governance of the Internet: Social Media, Artificial Intelligence, and Political Activism” POL 343Y5Y: Politics of Global Governance, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto, Canada (2022).

Pedagogical Team Member, University on Youth Development, North-South Centre of the Council of Europe, Mollina, Spain (2022).

Guest Lecturer “Artificial Intelligence, Bias and Human Rights” Studies in Public Law: Medical Technology and the Law, CML4104D, University of Ottawa, Canada (2022).

Lecturer, Developing Issues on Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights - Digital Rights Academy, Paradigm Initiative, Africa (2021).

Guest Lecturer, Master’s Class on Courts & Judges – Department of Political Science, University of Bayreuth, Germany (2021).

Teaching Assistant, HREQ 1710 “Globalization and the Human Condition”, Department of Equity Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, York University (2018 to present).

Guest Lecturer, Social Structure and Social Change, AP/SOCI 2050, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, York University (Yearly, 2017 - present).

Guest Lecturer, Activism in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – International Human Rights Law Class LAW3440.04, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University (yearly: 2018, 2019, 2021).

Guest Lecturer, Canadian Human Rights Law (LGLS 2420U), Faculty of Social Science & Humanities, Ontario Tech University, Canada (2020).

Visiting Lecturer, Law in Practice for 400 and 500 Levels, Faculty of Law, University of Abuja, Nigeria (2013 – 2015).

Professional Experience

Chief Counsel, Africa-Canada AI and Data Innovation Consortium (2 years)

Partner, Praxis & Gnosis Law, Nigeria (5 years)

Project Director and Researcher, Canada’s Rights Role in Anglophone Africa (7 years)

Law Officer, Presidential Advisory Council, Nigeria (1 year)

Assistant Director, Council on African Security and Development (CASADE) (5 years)

Assistant Research Fellow, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (4 years)

Radio Journalist, BBC Media Action Nigeria (11 years)

  • SSHRC Michael Smith Canada Graduate Scholarship (2021)
  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (2019 - 2021)
  • Queen Elizabeth Scholarship, Advanced Scholars Award, Open African Innovation Research Network (2019 – 2021)
  • Research Fellowship, Center for Human Rights Science, Carnegie Mellon University, USA (2021) Social Impact Award (Nigeria), StudyUK Alumni Awards, UK (2021)
  • Accountability Lab International Fellow (2021)
  • Junior Fellow, AI, Cyber Law and Tech, Global Research Network, UK (2019)
  • Harry W. Arthurs Fellowship (2017-2018)
  • Harvard Law School Library Innovation Lab Fellowship (2017)
  • York University Graduate Scholarship (2016 – 2017)
  • International Law Research Programme Scholarship, CIGI, Canada (2016-2017)
  • Emerging African Leaders Fellowship, Mandela School of Public Governance, South Africa (2016)
  • Distinguished Dutch Visitors Award, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands (2016)
  • Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarship (2013-2015)
Books and Book Chapters
  • Effoduh Jake Okechukwu, A Decade at the Bar: An Anthology of Professional Legal Experiences, Narrative Landscape Publishing 2022. pp 1 – 233.
  • Obiora C. Okafor and Effoduh J. Okechukwu, The ECOWAS Court as a (Promising) Resource for Pro-Poor Activist Forces In: The Performance of Africa’s International Courts. Edited by: James Thuo Gathii, Oxford University Press (2020). DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198868477.003.0004. (Peer reviewed)
  • Effoduh, Jake Okechukwu, “Governance Activism for the Inclusive Development of Security in Northern Nigeria” University of Cape Town Mandela School of Public Governance (2016). (Peer reviewed)
  • Effoduh O, The Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights (Corporate Governance and Responsibility by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies 2014) Cap. 5 NIALS Press, pp. 100 – 148. (Peer reviewed)
  • Effoduh O, The Economic Development of Nigeria from 1914 to 2014 (The Nigeria Centenary Publication by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced legal Studies 2013) Cap. 30. NIALS Press, 2013 pp. 794 – 1005. (Peer reviewed)
  • Effoduh O, Combatting Transnational Money Laundering: A Case for Special Taxation (Money Laundering and Policy by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies 2013) Cap. 11 NIALS Press, pp. 352 – 398. (Peer reviewed)
Book Reviews
  • Effoduh, O. “The Fourth Industrial Revolution by Klaus Schwab.” The Transnational Human Rights Review 3. (2017) Osgoode Digital Commons.
  • Effoduh O, King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild” (The Council on African Security and Development, 04 January 2015)
  • Effoduh O, “Human Rights Review of the Handbook on the Rules of Engagement for the Nigerian Military by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies” (2014)
  • Effoduh O, “Legislative Drafting and Transformative Laws by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies” The Nation Newspaper, Nigeria (July 16, 2013)
Articles and Journals
  • Obiora Chinedu Okafor, Udoka Ndidiamaka Owie, Okechukwu Effoduh, and Rahina Zarma. (2022). “The ECOWAS Court and Civil Society Activists in Nigeria: An Anatomy and Analysis of a Robust Symbiosis”, African Journal of Legal Studies (2022). doi: https://doi.org/10.1163/17087384-bja10068. Pages: 1–31 (Peer reviewed).
  • Obiora Chinedu Okafor, Udoka Owie, Okechukwu Effoduh, and Rahina Zarma “On the Modest Impact of West Africa’s International Human Rights Court on the Executive Branch of Government in Nigeria” Harvard Human Rights Journal Volume 35, Spring 2022 (Peer reviewed).
  • Effoduh J, O, “Weapons Powered by Artificial Intelligence pose a Frontier Risk and needs to be Regulated” World Economic Forum, 23rd June 2021.
  • Effoduh J, O, “The Legitimization of Customized Sex Robots in the Age of COVID-19” (2021) Intellectual Property Journal (2021) 33 I.P.J No 2 (Thomson Reuters) pp. 161 – 181. (Peer reviewed)
  • Effoduh O J, “Should the Use of Lethal Autonomous Robots Be Permitted in Warfare?” The Journal of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and & Law (Volume 4, No.1. February 2021). Pp 17 – 27 (Peer reviewed)
  • Effoduh Okechukwu Jake, “7 Ways that African States are Legitimizing Artificial Intelligence” (OpenAIR, October 2020).
  • Effoduh Jake Okechukwu, “Why Nigeria's #EndSARS movement is more than a call to end police brutality” World Economic Forum (21 December 2020
  • Effoduh Jake Okechukwu “Supporters not saviours: lessons from #ShapePride on being an LGBTQI ally” World Economic Forum (2 December 2020).
  • Effoduh O J, “Should a Court Rely on the Proprietary Algorithm of an Artificial Intelligence System to Make a Sentencing Decision? A Comment on Wisconsin v Loomis” (Opinion, February 25, 2020).
  • Effoduh O J, “The Emergence of AI in Healthcare: Risks, Benefits and Implications” (April 19, 2020, Global Research Network Think Tank).
  • Effoduh O J, “Eleven ways to appropriately report on COVID-19” (Editorial: 9 May 2020), International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).
  • Effoduh, O, J “Pride in a time of COVID-19 should embrace a wider solidarity” (World Economic Forum Agenda 03 June 2020).
  • Effoduh O, “Economic and Other Human Rights Remain Hostages of Oil Companies” (2015) Council on African Security and Development (CASADE).
  • Effoduh O, “Aviation Reforms in Nigeria: How Well So Far?” Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (2013)
  • Effoduh O, “Thrashing the human right to Privacy: A comparative analysis of the SSMPA, 2013” (Opinion: Where Love Is A Crime) 2015.
  • Effoduh O, Trademark Counterfeiting and its implication to the Nigerian Economy (IPLaw) 2010.
  • ffoduh O, The ECOWAS Court, Activist Forces and the pursuit of Environmental Justice in West Africa (York University Masters Thesis, 2017) pp.1-256.
  • Effoduh O, The Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act of Nigeria and its derogation from International Human Rights Standards on Freedom of Association (University of Oxford Masters Thesis, 2015) pp. 1 - 70
  • Effoduh O, Clinical Legal Education: An Imperative for Law Students in Nigerian Universities (University of Abuja Final Year Thesis 2010) pp 1 – 45.
  • Effoduh O J “The Covid Law Series, Nigeria” A nine-part weekly video series covering legal issues on COVID-19 (ConnexUs’s Influencers for Change, Council of Europe), August – December 2021.
  • Effoduh O, “Crude Reality: The negative effect of oil mining and refining on the environment, and on local communities where oil refineries are situated in Nigeria” (BBC Media Action, Nigeria) April 2017.
Policy Papers
  • Effoduh, Jake Okechukwu, “Towards a Rights-Respecting Artificial Intelligence Policy for Nigeria” Policy Brief (Paradigm Initiative and Global Partners Digital) pp. 1 – 12 November 2021. (Peer reviewed)
  • Initiative, September 2021) Report pp 1 – 21. (Peer reviewed)
  • Effoduh, Jake Okechukwu, “Artificial Intelligence Factsheet on Nigeria (Paradigm Initiative, September 2021). pp 1 – 3. (Peer reviewed)
  • Effoduh J O (as co-contributor), Global Risks Report 2022 (11 January 2022, World Economic Forum, Geneva, Switzerland) pp 1 – 117.
  • Effoduh J O (as co-contributor), “Preparing for Frontier Risks in the New Economy” (pages 58 - 70), Building Back Broader: Policy Pathways for an Economic Transformation (White Paper, June 2021) Centre for the New Economy and Society, World Economic Forum.
  • Effoduh J O (as co-contributor), “Foresight on Frontier Risks” (pages 84 - 85), The Global Risks Report 2021 (16th Edition) Insight Report, World Economic Forum (In partnership with National University of Singapore, University of Oxford, and University of Pennsylvania).
  • “The State of Higher Education in Nigeria.” Conference by Dakota Wesleyan University in collaboration with Nigerian Defence Academy Center for the Study of Leadership (Panelist/Speaker, 12th March 2020).
  • "The Implications of AI for Human Rights Protections in Africa” (Guest Lecture, Faculty of Social Science & Humanities, Ontario Tech University, Canada, 13th March 2020).
  • “Artificial intelligence and Privacy Rights” (Presenter/Speaker, Venture Out Tech Conference 2020, Toronto, Canada, 19th – 20th March 2020).
  • “A Post-Corona Africa: Leveraging on Youth and Technology towards Africa in the 22nd Century.” (Keynote Speaker, 4th Coaching in Africa Symposium: Tshwane, South Africa, 6th – 8th May 2020).
  • “Artificial Intelligence, Human Rights and Leadership” (Lecture: Accountability Lab International Training Course, 3rd June 2020).
  • “Flood in Nigeria: Predications and Analysis” (presentation at the Nigeria’s Hydrological Services Agency, (NIHSA) on 10th June 2020).
  • “Human Rights in Nigeria: Social and Legal Intervention” (Presentation at NOI Polls Nigeria Expert Series, 3rd of July 2020).
  • “Stamp Duties: The New Black Gold?” Federal Inland Revenue Service, Abuja, Nigeria (Chair and Speaker, 25th July 2020).
  • “Climate Change and Environmental Justice Causes in West Africa” (Mentor, Climate Reality Leader and Speaker, Climate Reality Leadership Corps Conference: Global Training, 18th - 26th July 2020).
  • “Human Rights – The Legal Perspectives on Rape in Nigeria: Facts and Reality” Legal Perspectives on Consent and Victimhood (Expert presenter, 2nd August 2020).
  • “United Nations 75th Anniversary” (Speaker and Country Representative for Nigeria in commemoration of #GlobalGoalsWeek 2020, 22nd September 2020).
  • “Wills and Intestacy: Any Wise Choice?” (Moderator and Speaker at the National Conversations About The Law Series – with 4 Senior Advocates of Nigeria, 6th October 2020).
  • “#ENDSARS Panel Discussion: Good Governance: Equity, Transparency and Accountability as Tools for Reforms in Nigeria” (Panelist, Canadian Association of Nigerian Lawyers Conference with Minister of Justice and Solicitor General of Alberta, Hon. Kaycee Madu, 7th November 2020).
  • “Grad Fireside Chat” with Dean Thomas Loebel, Dean & Associate Vice–President, Faculty of Graduate Studies, York University (Guest Speaker, 6th November 2020).
  • “Technology and Human Rights in Africa” (Speaker and Panelist, Expert Panel, 67th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Banjul, The Gambia, 18th November 2020).
  • “Human Rights and Sustainable Development: Putting Justice and Accountability at the Core of Governance.” (Keynote Speaker at the12th edition of The Green Institute Conference, 20th November 2020).
  • “Issues of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Nigeria” (Speaker at The Diversity Summit, Africa, 28th November 2020).
  • “Making International Solidarity Even Stronger” The Lisbon Forum, North-South Centre, Council of Europe (Speaker, 1st – 3rd December 2020).
  • “Globalization and Legal Practice” (Lead Speaker). 2019 Praxis & Gnosis Lecture Series. Abuja, Nigeria. (June 2019).
  • “Inclusion and justice: a renewed call for activism in Nigeria” (Keynote Speaker) Civil Society Annual Symposium, Lagos, Nigeria (May 2019).
  • “Human Rights and the Rule of Law: Corruption as a Human Rights Violation” (Presenter). Hubert Humphrey Fellowship 40th Anniversary Conference, Johannesburg, South Africa (September 2018).
  • “Human Rights in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Information Technology, and the Pursuit of Human Rights in Africa” Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) Conference, National University of Singapore (July 2018).
  • “Developing Digital Access to Human Rights Information in Nigeria” (Presenter). Annual Graduate Law Students Conference, Osgoode Hall Law School. (February 2018).
  • “#Law2Go: Digital Library of Human Rights Laws and Services (Presenter). Law Via the Internet Annual Conference. Rutgers Law School, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.A. (October 2017).
  • “Educating the Whole Lawyer” (Participant). Canadian Association of Law Teachers Annual Conference. Faculty of Law, University of Victoria, British Colombia, Canada. (June 2017).
  • “Reinventing empowerment in the 21st Century: Law, Media and the Pursuit of Human Welfare in the 4th Industrial Revolution” (Keynote speaker). University of Oxford Annual Human Welfare Conference, University of Oxford, United Kingdom. (May 2017).
  • “The Pursuit of Environmental Justice in West Africa” (Discussant), Annual Graduate Law Students Conference, Osgoode Hall Law School. (May 2017).
  • “The Africa Media Transformation: Entertainment and Marketing in a Digital Age” (Presenter). Oxford – African Annual Conference, University of Oxford, United Kingdom. (May 2017).
  • “Minority Rights Activism in Nigeria” (Speaker). International Conference on Activism in Africa, Center for International Studies of the Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal. (January 2017).
  • “Setting Peace and Justice in Motion” (Speaker). The Hague Talks on Human Rights, The Hague, Netherlands. (September 2016).
  • “Governance Activism for the Inclusive Development of Security in Northern Nigeria” (Presenter). Research Round Table, Graduate School of Development Policy and Practice, University of Cape Town, South Africa. (July 2016).
  • “Africa’s Human Development in the Fourth Industrial Revolution” (Discussant). World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of New Champions, Tianjin, Peoples Republic of China (June 2016).