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Reps to probe UK-Nigeria bilateral deal on legal practice

Reps to probe UK-Nigeria bilateral deal on legal practice
March 19
19:27 2024

The house of representatives has resolved to investigate the enhanced trade and investment partnership (ETIP) that Nigeria signed with the United Kingdom.

The lower legislative chamber passed the resolution during plenary session on Tuesday following the adoption of a motion sponsored by Kingsley Chinda, the minority leader, and 48 other lawmakers.

In February, Doris Uzoka-Anitie, minister for trade and investment, said Nigeria had signed a deal to remove barriers preventing UK lawyers from practising international law in Nigeria.

Following reactions from Nigerians and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) condemning the purported agreement, Uzoka-Anitie backtracked on her earlier statement, saying there was no such legal agreement between Nigeria and the UK.


Moving the motion, Chinda said while the deal seeks to foster collaboration between the film and media industries in the UK and Nigeria, it “does not cater for the interests of Nigerian lawyers as there are no such provisions or opportunities for them to practice their trade in” the UK.

“While it is good for Nigeria to enter into partnership deals with other countries for the purpose of unlocking future opportunities and thus contributing towards boosting the country’s economy, such deals must be seen to promote, preserve, and protect the interests of the generality of Nigerians,” the lawmaker said.

He said section 4 of the constitution gives the national assembly the powers to inquire into such matters in the overall interest of the country.


“There is an urgent need for this house to investigate the said trade deal between the UK and Nigeria with a view to ascertaining the terms and conditions thereof,” the legislator said.

He said if steps are not taken to investigate and address the deal, the country 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.

The motion was adopted when it was put to a voice vote by Tajudeen Abbas, speaker of the house.

Following that, the house asked the ministry of industry, trade and investment to “immediately” halt the signing and implementation of the trade partnership with the UK “until the terms and conditions governing the same are fully examined and ascertained”.


The house also asked the committee on treaties, protocols, and agreements to investigate the matter and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.

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