Hon. Justice Clara Bata Ogunbiyi was born on the 27th February, 1948, at Lassa Borno State of Nigeria. She had her Primary education in Borno State following which she proceeded to the Government Girls College Dallah Kano, as one of the pioneer students between 1961 – 1965.
She started her Legal career with Diploma in Law from the Institute of Administration (ABU) Zaria in October 1969 – June 1971. She obtained LLB. Hons in the same Institution between October 1972 – June 1975. She was called to the Bar in 1976. She obtained a Masters Degree in Criminology at the University of Hull (UK) in 1982 and Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) University of Maiduguri 2002.
She commenced her Civil Service Career as a Clerical Officer in Northern Nigeria Marketing Board Kaduna in November, 1967 – September 1969; Assistant Registrar High Court of Justice Maiduguri in October 1971 – September 1972. She served as a Youth Corps member (NYSC) at the Ministry of Justice, Kaduna State July 1976 – July 1977. Thereafter she returned to the Ministry of Justice Borno State as State Counsel in July 1977 and she progressively rose through the ranks to the position of Senior State Counsel (SSC) I & II August 1979 – January 1983. From 1st February 1983 – November 1984 she held the position of Deputy Director Public Prosecution (DDPP) and was promoted to the position of Director Civil Litigation (DCL) in December, 1984 – January, 1987, when she was appointed as High Court Judge, Borno State Judiciary as the first female Judge in the entire North East Sub-Region.
She was appointed Justice of the Court of Appeal, October, 2002, and served in various Divisions in that capacity until 2012. During this period, she also served as the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal Ibadan, Lagos and Jos respectively. She was appointed Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in July 2012.
Her Lordship became a Bencher in 2009, and was appointed a Life Bencher on 31st March, 2017 respectively.
Her Lordship has several Publications and Paper Presentations among which are:- Sentencing and Prison System in England and Wales, (for the award of Masters Degree in Criminology at the University of Hull – England March 1982). The Concept of Fundamental Human Rights as it relates to a Child’s Right to Education in Nigeria (PGDE Thesis UNIMAID 2002). Judicial Perspective on Frivolous Petitions Bill, 2015 (March 2016).
Her Lordship is a Chairperson and a member of several professional and non-professional bodies.
Hon. Justice Clara Bata Ogunbiyi is happily married with children and grand children. She enjoys house-keeping, gardening, walking, reading and engaging in faith related, adventurous and humanitarian activities. She has travelled far and wide to virtually all the continents of the world.