Reps Order Ministry To End Agreement Allowing UK Lawyers To Practice in Nigeria

The House of Representatives has ordered the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, to immediately stop the signing and implementation of a trade partnership with the UK meant to allows UK lawyers practice in Nigeria.

In a motion moved by Hon. Kingsley Chinda (PDP-Rivers) at plenary on Tuesday and adopted by 49 lawmakers, the legislators pointed to recent reports and public outcry over an alleged economic and trade partnership between the UK and Nigeria, aimed at exploring new opportunities in key sectors such as the energy, legal, and financial services sectors.

While addressing the House, Chinda argued that if the deal is allowed to sail through, the legal aspect will be lopsided and tilted mainly in favour of the UK lawyers to the detriment of qualified Nigerian lawyers as it would allow UK lawyers to enter the Nigerian legal space and practice, but not vice versa.

The Reps argued that unless immediate pragmatic steps are taken to investigate and address the concerns raised, Nigeria may unwittingly be entering into a deal whose terms and conditions may, in the long run, be unfavourable to the country and the overall interest of Nigerians.

In its final resolution, the House mandated its Committee on Treaties, Protocols, and Agreements, to investigate the matter, and report back within four weeks.