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FG denies earlier reports, says UK lawyers cannot practice in Nigeria

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The report from the United Kingdom and the Nigerian government on the new trade agreement show disparity in the area bothering on practise of international law in Nigeria by U.K licensed lawyers.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Dr. Doris Anitie has stated that contrary to earlier reports on the provisions of the “Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership (ETIP)” signed with the United Kingdom, lawyers licensed in the United Kingdom are not allowed to practise in Nigeria.

She stated this in a post on her X handle countering reports that the trade agreement with the United Kingdom provided lawyers from the United Kingdom to practise foreign and international law in Nigeria.

Initial report sourced from the website of the U.K department of Business and Trade, stated that the agreement will remove “barriers preventing UK lawyers from practising international and foreign law in Nigeria, a step that could significantly increase UK legal services exports.”

However, a review of the website today reveals that it has been edited to show that lawyers in both countries could practise international and foreign law in each other’s jurisdiction.

The disparity between the statement from the Nigerian Minister and that of the U.K government leaves many with doubts as to the true contents of the ETIP and whether it was properly negotiated to favour Nigeria.

While the Nigeria Minister claims British lawyers will not practise in Nigeria, the U.K government claims lawyers from both countries can equally practise in each other’s jurisdiction.

The statement from the Minister also fails to mention if Nigerian lawyers can equally practice international law in the U.K as reported by the U.K government.

Reports of the agreement yesterday was heavily criticised by Nigerians especially lawyers. The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) had opposed the agreement calling it unpatriotic and uninformed noting that the NBA was not consulted during the negotiations.

ThePressNG earlier reported the signing of the “Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership (ETIP)” between the Nigerian Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Dr. Doris Anitie and her British counterpart Ms. Kemi Badenoch.

The new economic agreement sought to eliminate barriers in trade, finance, legal and the creative industry and enhance business collaboration between both countries.

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