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NBA: UK-Nigeria Trade Agreement: A Tragic Reminder of Our Colonial Past



NBA: UK-Nigeria Trade Agreement: A Tragic Reminder of Our Colonial Past

The Nigerian Bar Association ( NBA) has denounced the signing of the Enhanced Trade Investment Partnership (ETIP) Agreement between the governments of Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

In a statement issued by the NBA yesterday, personally signed by its President Yakubu Maikyau SAN, the association rejected the entire agreement, specifically regarding the provision of legal services.

The NBA berated the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, who was reported to have expressed delight over what she described as a “ground-breaking agreement” that will translate to ‘more money’ for Nigeria. According to the NBA,

“This statement credited to the Honourable Minister is ridiculous, unpatriotic, and uninformed. 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.”

The NBA also frowned at the Federal government’s lack of consultation before entering into the agreement, stating that “ 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 (NBA)” Also stating that “We know for certain that the British Government will not undermine its own body of legal professionals in such spectacular fashion as this administration has done to the NBA in the matter of this agreement”

The statement also had harsh words for the Federal Government: “It is truly tragic that while the government of the UK is seeking opportunities for its own lawyers beyond its constrained environment, the government of Nigeria is attempting to deprive Nigerian lawyers and their millions of dependants of means of livelihood. To embark on such a venture without recourse to the NBA is the height of insensitivity to the plight of the legal profession in Nigeria, which is totally unacceptable.”

In rejecting the agreement, the NBA stated, “We want to clarify that the ETIP agreement, in so far as it relates to legal services, is unacceptable in its entirety. The NBA will take all necessary measures provided by our laws in support of our position on this matter.

As a starting point, I have convened a meeting of senior lawyers today with a view to devising an appropriate litigation strategy. We intend to fully challenge the legality of this agreement all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

This is without prejudice to other intervention measures that may be necessary to express our rejection of this agreement. I want to use this opportunity to call on all members of the NBA to brace up for the struggle ahead.”

NBA: UK-Nigeria Trade Agreement: A Tragic Reminder of Our Colonial Past


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