Nigerian Bar Association president , Yakubu Maikyau,SAN, has told the Federal government its deal with the British government to have UK registered lawyers to work in Nigeria is not attainable.
Mr. Maikyau in an email to members of the NBA said deal is “ridiculous, unpatriotic, and uninformed.’’
Recently Nigeria and the UK signed a deal that would promote Trade and Investment Partnership which would boost trade, investments and eliminate barriers in the legal services and allow British lawyers to practise in Nigeria and vice versa.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the NBA had no foreknowledge or inclination of the text of the said agreement,” Mr. Maikyau wrote
“We could not therefore have contributed to it. I have since assuming office as president of the NBA clearly opposed any agreement that will compromise our legal space.
“At all the meetings I had with officials of the Law Society of England & Wales and the Bar Council of England & Wales, I never failed to note our opposition to a bilateral agreement between the Government of Nigeria and that of the United Kingdom on legal services.’’
“We know for certain that the British Government will not undermine its own body of legal professionals in such spectacular fashion as this administration has done to the NBA in the matter of this agreement. It is truly tragic that while the government of the UK is seeking opportunities for its own lawyers beyond its constrained environment, the government of Nigeria is attempting to deprive Nigerian lawyers and their millions of dependants of a means of livelihood”.
Meanwhile Nigeria minister of Trade and Investment Doris Uzoka-Anite, in a statement, clarified that there was no such such agreement in the deal signed by Nigeria and the UK.
“Earlier today, Nigeria signed a far-reaching MoU with the United Kingdom for Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership,” posted on her X page Wednesday.
“Regrettably, our earlier report erroneously suggests that Nigeria has signed a Memorandum of Understanding that allows lawyers licensed in the United Kingdom to practise in Nigeria. We wish to state emphatically that there is no such provision or agreement in the MoU.
“As it currently stands, foreign licensed lawyers (including those licensed in the UK) cannot practise in Nigeria, as categorically stated in the MoU.
“We recognise that cross-jurisdictional practice between Nigeria and the United Kingdom is still an ongoing conversation amongst relevant stakeholders within the legal practitioners community in Nigeria, and this was reflected in the MoU.”

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