•Lawyers who took exam for law school students should be prosecuted
The report by the Director-General of the Nigerian Law School, Professor Olarewaju Onadeko, SAN, that some lawyers were caught writing examination for law students, is shocking. Considering that both the lawyers and the students should know the law, and the gravity of the punishment awaiting them if found guilty, we are filled with consternation as to what could propel the accused persons to engage in such a travesty. But more importantly, we urge the relevant authorities to ensure that the law takes its full course, without any delay.
It is bad enough that our society has badly decayed, but it would remain decadent if criminals are allowed to masquerade as lawyers, with all the implications for our legal system. After all, it is lawyers that would become judges and even state prosecutors, with all the chances to perpetuate criminality in the name of justice. So, the report by the director-general that he has reported the lawyers involved to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), for disciplinary action, is not enough. We urge him to also hand over those lawyers concerned to the police, even as the disciplinary measure is applied.
We hope also that the students involved have been duly tried before a properly constituted examination board and rusticated, even as they should also be handed over to the police for prosecution. Indeed, we are concerned that such students may have passed through the university by engaging in examination malpractices. This possibility calls for worry as to the quality of university graduates we produce, especially with the proliferation of universities. To have produced graduate lawyers, who needed external help to write the mandatory one year law school examination should worry the university that produced them.
Having discovered the cheats, the law school must henceforth introduce rigorous test schedules, to forestall such possibility in the future. It is possible that a number of such cheats had passed through the qualifying examination without detection in the past. So, an audit of the entire examination process should be conducted to detect any loopholes. We note the challenge of ensuring a transparent process compounded by the multiplicity of campuses; but the danger of producing lawyers who qualified through cheating is scary.
The report in the media, that the immediate past President of the NBA, Mr Austine Alegeh, SAN, claimed that the association has not received any such complaint, should concern the director-general. He should ensure that his report is duly sent and received. We expect the two highly regarded bodies, the Nigerian Law School and the NBA, to coordinate their efforts, to ensure that any person seeking to bring their respected profession to ridicule, is brought to book.
The trainers of other professionals must also take notice of the grave report from the Nigerian Law School. They should not pretend that all is well, for the general decadence in our society is a manifestation of the poor training, both at home and in the schools. So, those charged with training such professionals as doctors, engineers, journalists, accountants, bankers, etc. should audit their training programmes, so that the clients who rely on their competence would always get value for their money.
We restate that the law profession is too important to the welfare of the society, to be left in the hands of quacks. A lawyer who passed his qualifying examination through the help of another person is worse than a quack. For, while a quack will know his limitations, such a fake will misrepresent that he knows his onions, with the possibility that he could be entrusted with a matter of life and death.