Nigerian News

UK lawyers can’t practice in Nigeria – FG clarifies

The Nigerian Government has made a U-turn on its earlier statement indicating that lawyers trained in the United Kingdom are allowed to practice in Nigeria.

Minister for Trade and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite, cleared the air after fierce criticism from stakeholders, particularly the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA.

She originally claimed that UK lawyers can practice in Nigeria following an Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership signed with the United Kingdom on Tuesday.

However, Uzoka-Anite retracted her statement and 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.

In a series of posts on her Twitter (X) account, the minister 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.

“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 condemned the purported agreement on Tuesday, while describing the statement credited to the Minister was “ridiculous, unpatriotic, and uninformed”.