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FG makes U-turn, says UK lawyers can’t practice in Nigeria

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FG makes U-turn, says UK lawyers can’t practice in Nigeria

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Federal Government, on Wednesday, reversed its earlier statement indicating that United Kingdom lawyers are allowed to practice in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s Minister for Trade and Investment Doris Uzoka-Anite, had in a statement, highlighted that the UK-trained lawyers can practice in Nigeria following an Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership signed by Nigeria and the UK on Tuesday.

But following fierce criticisms, particularly by the Nigerian Bar Association, Uzoka-Anite withdrew her earlier statement.

Uzoka-Anite, in a series of posts on her X account, said: “Earlier today, Nigeria signed a far-reaching MoU with the United Kingdom for Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership.

“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.”

The minister explained that Nigeria does not have a Mutual Recognition Agreement with the UK and made no commitment under the MoU or elsewhere to allow UK-licensed lawyers to practise in Nigeria.

She added, “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.”

NBA President, Yakubu Maikyau, had on Tuesday in a statement, condemned the purported agreement and described the statement credited to the Minister as “ridiculous, unpatriotic, and uninformed”.