The Director General of the Nigerian Law School, Dr. Olanrewaju Onadeko (SAN), says any Law faculty, which admits students above the stipulated quota by the Council of Legal Education, risks losing its accreditation.
Onadeko said this in his speech at the recent Call to Bar of students who were successful in the final Bar examinations conducted in April.
“Some faculties of Law have had their accreditation withdrawn for this violation, but even then some more faculties have joined in the fray.
“I must state, for emphasis, that the consequence of violation is withdrawal of accreditation and the Council of Legal Education will not hesitate to apply the sanction,” he said.
The DG also called on parents and students to ask questions before seeking Law education abroad, warning that “these institutions are not necessarily interested in the quality assurance of their programmes because the products are not meant for their countries.”
Onadeko said, “We are now faced with a development that gives cause for concern.
“In our interactive activities with the National Universities Commission, it became known that there are several institutions of training emerging in jurisdictions outside our borders, specifically set up for Nigerian students.
“The main concern is that the programmes run by these institutions are undertaken without the control of any relevant Nigerian agencies and some are known to be offering Nigerian law subjects only, even when they do not have approval to offer law study in their home countries.
“A number of these institutions are located in civil law jurisdictions and they purport to teach only Nigerian common law subjects – a clear indication that their targets are Nigerian students.
“The advice to parents and student willing to pursue the study of Law outside our borders is to seek clarification from the Nigerian Universities Commission and the Nigerian Law School before proceeding.”
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, charged the 1,468 lawyers newly called to Bar to help to save Nigeria from “pervasive lawlessness, corruption and anti-social activities.”
The CJN spoke in his capacity as the Chairman of the Body of Benchers, the body statutorily empowered to call lawyers to Bar as well as discipline the erring ones.
In his charge to the new lawyers at the morning and afternoon sessions of the ceremony in Abuja, the CJN urged them to maintain high level of integrity and practise in accordance with the rules of the legal profession.
He said by virtue of their status, lawyers could not afford to close their eyes to the nation’s political and socio-economic problems.
He said, “The Rules of Professional Conduct in the legal profession made pursuant to the Legal Practitioners Act provides guidelines for the maintenance of highest standards of professional conduct and discipline.
“You should, therefore, study the rules carefully. As legal practitioners, you cannot close your eyes to the social, political and economic problems of our time, therefore, you have a duty to help rescue our society from pervasive lawlessness, corruption and anti-social activities.”
He called on the new lawyers to be fearless and disciplined but not to be fraudulent.
Discouraging the new wigs from indulging in unethical acts, the CJN said the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee of the Body of Benchers might discipline any lawyer whose conduct negated sacrosanct standards of the profession.