From the blog

NIGERIA: UK Signs One-Sided Agreement To Allow British Lawyers Practice In Nigeria

The UK has signed a partnership deal with Nigeria that would see Kings Counsel from the UK to practice in Nigeria.

The deal is to boost trade and investment and unlock new opportunities for UK and Nigerian businesses.

A statement issued by the UK government on Tuesday said the partnership deal will create opportunities across a breadth of sectors crucial to both economies, such as financial and legal services.

According to the statement, “it will see Nigeria commit to working towards removing barriers preventing UK lawyers from practising international and foreign law in Nigeria, a step that could significantly increase UK legal services exports”.

However, the Nigerian Bar Association has condemned the agreement to allow United Kingdom Attorneys to practice in Nigeria.

The NBA President, Yakubu Maikyau (SAN), in an email to lawyers of the Nigerian Bar Association on Tuesday by 11:34 pm, titled “The Purported ETIP Agreement on Legal Services between the Government of Nigeria and the United Kingdom,” asserted that the association was not consulted before such step was taken.

He said, “My attention was drawn to the news-making round on a number of media platforms on the alleged signing of the Enhanced Trade Investment Partnership Agreement, between the governments of Nigeria and the United Kingdom. It was reported that this agreement seeks to enable cooperation between the two countries in areas such as financial and legal services. More bewildering is the stated provision that will allow lawyers from the United Kingdom to practice in Nigeria. Understandably, this news has generated tremendous disquiet within and outside the legal profession in Nigeria. “The NBA finds this statement credited to the Honourable Minister ridiculous, unpatriotic, and uninformed. It is indeed unfortunate that this tragic reminder of our colonial past is being gleefully celebrated at the highest level of the Government of Nigeria. What is more disheartening is the fact that a decision of this magnitude that adversely affects the wellbeing and livelihood of millions of Nigerians could be taken without any consultation, especially with the Nigerian Bar Association.”

“The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment was reported to have expressed delight over what she described as a ‘ground-breaking agreement’ that will translate to ‘more money’ for Nigeria.

“The Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership (ETIP) is designed to grow the UK and Nigeria’s already thriving trading relationship, which totalled £7 billion in the year to September 2023.”

“Nigeria is the biggest economy in Africa and one of the world’s fastest growing economies – predicted to be in the top 20 by GDP by 2035. It is also predicted by the UN to nearly double its population to over 370 million people by 2050.”

However, there is no part of the deal – based on the statement that mentions that Nigerian lawyers will also be allowed to practise in the UK.