The continued tussle between the duo may present Nigeria as a stagnant and resistant nation to new educational innovations (ICT based studies) globally practiced with huge benefits.
Since the 4th October, 2017 judgement of the Federal High Court Port-Harcourt, no progressive step has been taken by the government to address the issue to a logical conclusion. The only prominent comments on the viral and dailies have been commendations and negative criticism about the judgement which cannot proffer solution to the problem at hand.
The government took a queue from other developed nations and established the National Open University of Nigeria to make education flexible, affordable and accessible to all aspiring people to boost the literacy level of the nation.
Regrettably, the adamant position of the CLE under the guise of setting standard is at the verge of ruining Nigeria’s fastest growing university if urgent measures are not taken by the government to resolve the issue.
I view the stance of CLE as beyond “setting standard” because four years is enough to have resolved the long lingering issue with NOUN if it so wish.
CLE as a noble body should know that attaining standard is not an overnight task but a gradual process considering the fact that the country is recovering from economic recession and faced with financial challenges to provide the needed. Even the NLS did not attain its present standard over night. It still requires continuous improvement to attain an optimal level like others in the West.
The NOUN law graduates have already obtained their LL.B degrees since 2013. The burning questions are “should they wait until NOUN meets with the requirement of CLE before being admitted into NLS?” and how long will this take? And Even in the face of the recent amendment that accorded it with the status of Conventional Universities?
With respect, this is one aspect the court would have considered before arriving at its decision rather than declaring that…
“CLE does not share its powers with any other body” and that “let issue of academics be handled by academia”
This clearly encourages tyranny in the educational sector and against the doctrine of natural justice “Nemo judex in causa sua” a man cannot be a judge over his own case.
This singular act perhaps made Kayode Bello to shun the panel’s invitation for fear of biasness and injustice when his co alleged fighter was not queried nor invited as second party. Sadly, the expelled student has written Amnesty International for intervention as NLS defied the court interim order.
NOUN VS CLE should not be too different from other related cases where judges were bold to rule in:
- SEGUN ALI VS NATIONAL UNIVERSITIES COMMISSION, FHC/IB/CS/50/2009 over Law School admission. Lead City University Ibadan law graduates case.
- PROFESSOR STEPHEN KWAKU ASARE VS GHANA LAW SCHOOL, where the Supreme Court ‘quashed’ Ghana School of Law admission process. The plaintiff filed the suit as a patriotic Ghanaian to correct the injustices suffered by admission seekers into Law School. https://www.myjoyonline.com/news/2017/June-22nd/supreme-court-quashes-ghana-law-school-admission-processes.
NOUN law graduates did not start with the legal option approach. It was after series of futile attempts to resolve the issue with CLE that compelled them to approach the court for legal intervention in 2016. The case was heard and fixed for judgement on 27/01/17 but was stalled for no obvious reason. The case was further reassigned to another judge for denovo, 15 July and eventually delivered on the 4/10/17. What a delayed tactics?
It is worthy to correct peoples’ wrong impression about NOUN. It should be supported as one of the nation’s pride and that was why Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Africa’s most populous living ex-presidents chose to study in NOUN among other prominent universities.
If NOUN fails, then the government has failed the law graduates, therefore, it should not fold its hands and leave this struggle for the sympathetic students alone.
A stitch in time saves nine!
GIBSON OGBEINIAMA, writes from Otukpo, Benue State
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