NBA Faults Agreement to let UK Lawyers Practice in Nigeria

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) is up in arms over a recent decision allowing United Kingdom (UK) Attorneys to practice law in Nigeria, and NBA President, Yakubu Maikyau (SAN), did not hold back in expressing his discontent. In an email sent to Nigerian lawyers late on Tuesday titled “The Purported ETIP Agreement on Legal Services between the Government of Nigeria and the United Kingdom,”Maikyau stressed that the NBA was blindsided by this move, having never been consulted beforehand.


He voiced his shock at the news of the Enhanced Trade Investment Partnership Agreement between Nigeria and the UK, particularly the provision permitting UK lawyers to practice in Nigeria. This revelation has sparked significant uproar within and outside the legal circles in Nigeria.


Maikyau minced no words in denouncing the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment's enthusiasm for what he deemed a "ridiculous, unpatriotic, and uninformed" agreement. He lamented the lack of consultation with the NBA on a decision of such magnitude, emphasizing its adverse effects on millions of Nigerians' wellbeing and livelihoods.


Despite Maikyau's vocal opposition in various meetings with UK legal bodies, the agreement was pushed through without NBA's involvement or consent. He emphasized the NBA's firm stance against any agreement compromising Nigeria's legal sovereignty, declaring the ETIP agreement regarding legal services completely unacceptable.


Maikyau vowed that the NBA would utilize all legal avenues to challenge the agreement's legality, even considering Supreme Court action if necessary. He called on all NBA members to stand firm in defending their legal space under his leadership.


Meanwhile, reports from the UK’s Department of Business and Trade celebrated the new deal as a boost for trade and investment between the two countries, aiming to facilitate legal services and film industry collaboration. However, Maikyau's email painted a starkly different picture of discontent and opposition within Nigeria's legal community.