Reversing its prior position, the Federal Government now says that lawyers from the United Kingdom, or UK, are permitted to practise law in Nigeria.

In a statement, Nigerian Minister of Trade and Investment Doris Uzoka-Anite emphasised that, due to the Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership that Nigeria and the UK agreed on Tuesday, attorneys with UK training can now practise in Nigeria.

However, Uzoka-Anite withdrew her previous comments in response to harsh criticism from the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA.

In a series of posts on her X account, Uzoka-Anite 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 clarified that Nigeria and the UK do not have a Mutual Recognition Agreement. Neither party has promised to permit UK-licensed solicitors to practise law in Nigeria under the terms of the MoU or any other agreement.

“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,” she added.

Recall that on Tuesday, NBA President Yakubu Maikyau denounced the alleged agreement, calling the Minister’s comments “ridiculous, unpatriotic, and uninformed”.

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