As the ongoing industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities persists with calls for precise government intervention to end the impasse so far falling on deaf ears, final-year law students of affected public universities are beginning to wail over the likelihood of not been mobilised for the Nigerian Law School in 2022.
Some of them expressed their dismay to The PUNCH on Tuesday in separate conversations, saying that their institution had not yet begun the process of processing their final year results.
A student of Obafemi Awolowo University, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “This experience is traumatising. We have been at home since last year. My colleagues from other universities are already in Law School and would be my senior at the bar. If we miss this opportunity again, our colleagues would be our two-year seniors at the bar. We hope this issue is resolved.
“Because of previous strikes, OAU has always had a backlog of students who don’t follow their set to Law School. OAU students at Law School at the moment are our immediate seniors. They are there with students from other schools that are our set.
“So, we are supposed to go to Law School this year. If we don’t go this year, it will be next year.”
Another student who gave her name simply as Tolani, said, “Our mates in other schools are currently in Law School. Our one-year juniors in other schools are going for the next one, they’re doing registration for law school right now and they’ll be going next – October 2022. They’re telling us to wait till 2023.”
She also lamented that their results had not been processed, saying, “Our first semester results since April 2021 haven’t been released fully. Our second-semester examination was completed in November 2021, till today, we didn’t see any of the results.”
Also commenting of the unfortunate development, the Dean of the Faculty of Law, OAU, Professor Adedeji Adewole, noted that the issue could not be disconnected from the ongoing ASUU strike.
“I don’t see the reason why anybody should be worried. We all know ASUU is on a national strike. Before ASUU’s strike, there was a local strike (within OAU), which started in early January. If they don’t work, who will process the results? If the strike is over and normalcy is restored, then the system will keep on moving smoothly.”
Adedeji lamented that the lecturers had not been paid salaries and were probably looking for how to survive amid the crisis.
“People have not been paid salaries since February. Everybody is looking for how to survive,” he said.
However, he noted that “We’ve started working on law school mobilisation. The people whose results are ready will be processed as we normally do.
“Those that their results have been approved by the Senate are automatically eligible.”
In response, Richard Abayomi, a law student at Osun State University as well as the President of the Law Students Association of Nigeria’s South-West Zone, stated that the students might not be able to make it to the law school until the year 2023. He also mentioned that new intakes were supposed to go to the law school in September, according to the calendar for the law school.
“They are supposed to be in the NLS by September 2022, but unfortunately, they can’t make it. Even if ASUU calls off the strike now, they can’t make it to the NLS this session unless by 2023. The law school already released a circular that new intakes are to come in by September.
“The sad part is that they have automatically become juniors to their contemporaries from other institutions who would be eligible to enroll.
“Because the legal profession is built on seniority, which is determined by the year of graduation from the Nigerian Law School,” Abayomi said.
In order to be mobilized for the NLS this year, the students further pleaded with the administrators of their schools to ensure that the processing of their results was completed.
According to information obtained, the Part II batch of the Nigerian Law School must finish enrolling in the NLS program by August 19, 2022, at the latest.
ASUU has been on strike since February 14. 2022, and on Monday the union stated that the strike will now go for further four weeks. This news crushed many students’ hopes of a resumed class.