*Yenegoa law school worse that Ikoyi Prison says Legal Education council chairman
Tunde Opalana & , Haruna Salami, Abuja
The Council of Legal Education , Nigeria Bar Association ( NBA) and a few other stakeholders in Monday rejected move by the Senate to create additional six law School campuses in the country.
The proposal to establish six new campuses in addition to the existing law schools met with stiff opposition at the public hearing organised on a bill seeking for its establishment and two others by the Senate Committee on Judiciary , Human Rights and Legal Matters .
The Senate Committee 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 .
Among lawmakers that kicked against the bill were Senators Ike Ekweremadu ( PDP Enugu West) and Seriake Dickson ( PDP Bayelsa West) who called on their colleagues to be cautious on the proposal .
Ekweremadu in particular 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″.
Dissecting the proposal , the National President of Nigeria Bar Association ( NBA) , Olumide Akpata ( SAN) , said the move was unnecessary as 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 .
” Besides , 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 adequate finding of the existing law schools”, he said .
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 .
” The move by the Senate through this bill is more or less subtle usurpation of the functions of the Council for Legal Education .
” Any need for establishment of a new law school campus , are by law , be routed through the Council for Legal Education as exemplified by the Rivers Model “, he stressed.
However in their earlier submissions , the sponsor of the bill , Senator Smart Adeyemi ( APC Kogi West), Senator Abiodun Olujimi ( PDP Ekiti South) , Kashim Shettima ( APC Borno Central) etc , argued for establishment of the proposed law schools for accessibility of legal education by concerned knowledge seekers .