…Senators, Falana insist on creation law Campuses
Council of Legal Education , Nigeria Bar Association ( NBA) , Senator Ike Ekweremdu, Senator Seriake Dickson rejected proposal to establish six more additional campuses of Nigerian Law School.
However, Femi Falana (SAN) with some Senators carpeted the position’s of NBA and Legal Education Council on Establishment of campuses of Nigerian Law School.
The Senate Committee chaired by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele had at the public hearing , sought for inputs from critical stakeholders on the legislative proposal titled : ” Legal Education ( Consolidated etc , Amendment ) Bill 2021″ , but got unfavorable submissions from them .
Kicking against the bill earlier was Senators Ekweremadu and Senator Seriake cautioning other lawmakers not subject legal education to politics.
Ekweremadu in his submission warned against politicising legal education saying ” establishment of new campuses or law schools should be left at the discretion of Council for Legal Education as empowered by the Act that set it up in 1962″.
The National President of Nigeria Bar Association ( NBA) , Olumide Akpata ( SAN) also in his presentation said there is no need to create additional campuses , but pleading for funding of existing campuses.
He said the existing six are grossly underfunded before the intervention of Rivers State Government with a well equipped campus in Port Harcourt .
” With required infrastructure , the existing law schools across the country are enough to accommodate thousands of law students graduating from the various Universities .
” The Council for Legal Education is the institution empowered by law to set up a new campus on the basis of need assessment and not political considerations driving the move for establishment of additional six across the six geo – political zones .”
The Chairman of the Council for Legal Education , Emeka Ngige said the council is 100% opposed to it .
The position of the council he lamented , arose from deplorable condition of most of the existing ones now due to gross underfunding .
” For instance , the deplorable condition in which students at the Yenagoa law campus are studying, is worse than what prisoners in Ikoyi Prison are experiencing ” , he said .
He pointedly told the lawmakers that they will shed tears if they visit some of the existing campuses and see the deplorable conditions in which students and lecturers are living .
Earlier, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Bamidele said exponential increase in the number of law gradutaes from our Universities, there is need for corresponding increase of Campuses to clear the backlog
He said, “the exponential increase in the number of law gradutaes from our Universities, there is need for corresponding increase of Campuses to clear the backlog as well as to cater for the upsurge in the application for intake into the Nigerian Law School on yearly basis.
“This amendment will also bring about reform in the legal education and encourage conducive learning environment for both the students and teachers at the Nigerian Law School.
Backing the establishment of the law School campuses, Femi Falana argued that Council of Legal Education lacks power to create law school.
He explained that the idea of multi campus came when the Lagos Law School was sold , but got an injunction to stop the selling of building.
He said, “It is important to clarify certain fact, the Council of legal Education Act, was enacted in 1962 for the creation of one law.
“No where in the Act, that it was ever thought there that we are going to have a multi campus institution, it is important for our colleagues to realise that in 1999, we have six batches of students who had no place to go, they contacted me and I had to go court.
“The law building of the law school in Lagos had already been sold to a business man who wanted to turn it to an hotel when the school moved to Abuja.
“It was only one campus not until I went to court and we got an injunction restraining the government from selling the law school in Lagos, when the Obasanjo regime came on board we now thought of what to do , that instead of having two campuses why make it a multi campus, so that we won’t create another problem asking everybody to come to Lagos or go to Abuja and that was how we have a multi campus law school, it was not the idea of council of Legal Education. It was done by circumstances.
“The law has not been amended to empower the council of Legal Education to create campuses.they have no power.”
Speaking about funding of law school, he said, “The capital vote for the law school is meagre, but we have about 5,000 students on average , annually at the law school.
“The current fees, of the school per student is N296,000 , and N20,000 application form that is N316,000 per student if we multiply by 5,000 you get about N1.5 billion per annual .Students also pay for accomodation and others.”
In their submissions , the sponsor of the bill , Senator Smart Adeyemi ,Senator Abiodun Olujimi , Kashim Shettima, argued for establishment of the proposed law schools for accessibility of legal education by concerned knowledge seekers .
Senator Olujimi specially said that Senators speaking against the Establisment of campuses are have campus in their state.
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