‘UK-Nigeria agreement will benefit both countries’ – England-based lawyer tells NBA President

 

The President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Yakubu Maikyou, SAN, has been criticized for opposing to the UK-Nigeria Enhanced Trade Investment Partnership, ETIP, Agreement.

The NBA President in his reaction to the agreement which was widely publicised on February 15th, had expressed concern over its implications for the legal profession in Nigeria.

It was reported that the agreement would enable UK lawyers to practice in Nigeria.

Maikyau denounced the signing of the agreement between the governments of Nigeria and the UK, stating that it was done without the consent or engagement of the NBA.

Reacting to the NBA President’s position, a practising solicitor in England & Wales, Olubi Adejobi, on Friday said the agreement will be highly beneficial to practising lawyers in Nigeria and UK.

In a letter dated 19th February 2024, and addressed to the NBA President, Adejobi stressed that currently, many Commonwealth Common Law English Speaking Jurisdictions, including Canada, Ghana and South Africa, have ease of access arrangements allowing overseas qualified lawyers into their jurisdiction, and wondered why a country such as Nigeria would not tow such path.

He argued that should the agreement see the light of the day, Nigerians will witness much shorter time frames for dispute resolution and adjudication, as well as witness an end to spurious delay-tactic appeals and preliminary objections, and also, an end to the “go to court syndrome”.

Parts of the letter read, “I write in response to your widely circulated letter of the above date, critical of ETIP’s apparent attempt to grant mutual professional ease of access to lawyers in both jurisdictions.

“You are opposed to any mutual professional ease of access arrangements. My view is that mutual professional ease of access arrangements is a tide that, ultimately, lifts all the boats in each jurisdiction, particularly in the Nigeria jurisdiction.

“On Economic Grounds, your assertion that “Nigeria is attempting to deprive Nigerian lawyers and millions of dependents of means of livelihoods” is simply untrue. Empirical evidence shows that the reverse would be the case.”


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