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UK, Nigeria law deal: Lawyers’ body says minister’s action bewildering

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Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has accused federal government of trying to take the country back into colonial enslavement with its recently signed Enhanced Trade Investment Partnership (ETIP) Agreement.

The body thoroughly chewed and spat out Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite who acted as midwife of the deal between the governments of Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

The Minister had recently expressed delight over what she described as a “ground-breaking agreement” which she said would  translate to “more money” for Nigeria.

It was reported that the agreement seeks to enable cooperation between the two countries in areas such as financial and legal services.

But reacting on Wednesday, President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Yakubu Maikyau SAN, described the statement credited to the Minister as “ridiculous, unpatriotic, and uninformed”.

NBA said it noted with bewilderment the stated provision in the Agreement that will allow lawyers from the United Kingdom to practice in Nigeria.

“Understandably, this news has generated tremendous disquiet within and outside the legal profession in Nigeria.

“It is indeed unfortunate that this tragic reminder of our colonial past, is being gleefully celebrated at the highest level of the Government of Nigeria.

“What is more disheartening is the fact that a decision of this magnitude that adversely affects the wellbeing and livelihood of millions of Nigerians, could be taken without any consultation, especially with the Nigerian Bar Association” Maikyau stated.

He stated that the NBA had no foreknowledge or inclination of the text of the said agreement, and  could not therefore have contributed to it.

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