A Benin-based lawyer, Mr. Olayiwola Afolabi, has appealed to the Federal Government to consider a downward review of the tuition fees charged at the Nigerian Law School.
Afolabi described the fees as exorbitant and beyond the reach of many Law students, whom he said had struggled to complete their academic programmes in Nigerian universities.
The legal practitioner spoke during an award ceremony for outstanding workers in the Edo State judiciary held at the State High Court complex in Benin.
He decried the cost of training to become a lawyer, adding that the situation had compelled many Nigerians to abandon their training at the Law school.
Afolabi stated, “Becoming a lawyer is very expensive. In those days, in 1991, we used to pay maybe N100,000.
“But now, if you are not rich, you need to be supported. So, I am calling on the Federal Government to ensure that it reduces the school fees.
“The tuition fee is too much. Some Nigerians cannot even go to the Law school in a year. They have to step it down. So, the Federal Government should reduce it.”
He explained that the award was introduced to reward hard work and dedication among judiciary staff, while the beneficiaries, including a student of the NLS, Yola campus, Adamawa State, Mr. Osariemen Amadasum, were nominated by the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Esohe Ikponmwen.
Recalling his days as a Law student, Afolabi said, “It was very difficult for me to buy a wig and a gown. My mother had to borrow some money in Lagos.
“Today, God has blessed me and that is why I feel that I should also contribute to the society.
Afolabi added, “Some years ago, I took the step of instituting this award because it dawned on me that amongst the members of the judiciary workers are men and women of impeccable conduct and dedication to duty, who were working hard on a daily basis not just to earn a living but to advance the course of justice.
“As lawyers, the prime of our calling as ministers in the temple of justice is to advance the course of justice. There was, therefore, no doubt in my mind that these dedicated staff of the judiciary, who were constantly oiling the wheels, were not just mere workers but allies and partners in advancing our calling and they needed to be encouraged and motivated in every possible way.”
Speaking during the ceremony, Justice Ikponmwen stated that nature had a way of rewarding good virtues.
While congratulating the beneficiaries, she advised Nigerian workers to remain steadfast and shun unethical practices.
She also reminded them that there was dignity in labour even as she urged other affluent Nigerians to extend a hand of kindness to those in need.