Opposition Mounts Against Zonal Law School Campuses

Opposition Mounts Against Zonal Law School Campuses

Some senators, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), the Body of Benchers and the Council of Legal Education (CLE) yesterday rejected a proposal by the Senate to create additional six Nigerian Law School campuses.

The stakeholders spoke during a public hearing on a bill to establish one campus of the school in each geo-political zone.

It was organised by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, in Abuja.

The Bill titled: “Legal Education (Consolidated etc, Amendment) Bill 2021,” was sponsored by Senator Smart Adeyemi, representing Kogi West.

The senators who opposed the Bill are Ike Ekweremadu (Enugu West) and Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa West).

Senators who supported the Bill include Smart Adeyemi, Abiodun Olujimi (Ekiti South) and Kashim Shettima (Borno Central).

They argued that the establishment of the proposed campuses will greatly enhance access to legal education in the country.

While Ekweremadu warned against any attempt to politicise the establishment of Law School campuses, Dickson urged his colleagues to tread cautiously.

Ekweremadu said: “The establishment of new campuses or law schools should be left at the discretion of the CLE that is empowered by the Act that established it in 1962”.

NBA President Olumide Akpata said the move is unnecessary as the existing six campuses were grossly underfunded before the intervention of the Rivers State Government, which built 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 CLE is the institution empowered by law to set up new campuses based on need assessment.

“We should not allow political considerations to drive the move for the establishment of additional six campuses of the school across the six geo-political zones.

“Besides, the resources of the Federal Government, which are wearing out, cannot help in putting in place such campuses let alone, sustaining them.

“What is required from the Senate and by extension the National Assembly, is to by way of Appropriation, team up with the executive for an adequate funding of the existing law schools,” he said.

CLE Chairman Chief Emeka Ngige (SAN) said the council was opposed to the move to create the six additional law schools.

He said the CLE’s position was informed by the deplorable condition of most of the existing ones 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,” Ngige said.

He told the Committee that they would shed tears if they visit some of the existing campuses and see the deplorable conditions in which students and lecturers are living.

“The move by the Senate through this bill is more or less subtle usurpation of the functions of the CLE.

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