The Council also filed a motion on notice seeking to strike out its name from the suit due to errors identified on its address, contending that the error made the named defendant a non-existent entity and urged the court to strike out the suit. Other parties in the suit that had their preliminary objections dismissed alongside were the 2nd defendant, National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) who was the 4th defendant, for lack of merit. Both parties filed applications separately seeking to be delisted as defendants in the suit. NOUN, the 3rd defendant did not file any objection.. Professor A. Amuda-Kannike (SAN), counsel to the plaintiffs; Messrs George A. Chituru, Eric Onyenuforo, O. Joseph, Magnus Amadi, Obi Raphael, Darlington Bekwele and others had dragged the CLE and three other defendants to the Federal High Court seeking to set aside the resolutions of the Council which barred them from admission and an order of mandamus directing CLE to with no further delay open its doors of admission into the Nigerian Law School to NOUN Law graduates contending that its refusal to admit the plaintiffs and others who are graduates of NOUN; an approved federal Government-owned institution with accreditation by the National Universities Commission (NUC), a body solely vested with statutory powers of accreditation of all universities courses or programmes, is unknown to law, and should be set aside. In a rejoinder, NUC informed the court that it duly accredited the school of law of the university in line with the Act that established it and therefore not a party to the impediments facing the innocent graduates of the institution, and also prayed the court to strike out its name as a co- defendant since it has nothing against the institution, hence was wrongly joined in the suit. In a similar manner, the Attorney General of the Federation sought to be expunged as a co-defendant stating that NOUN is a bona fide federal university approved and supervised by the Federal Government and therefore contended that he as the Chief Law Officer of the Federation cannot conceivably be named as a party witch-hunting a good initiative of his principal, the federal government which was duly established by law. Professor Amuda-Kannike (SAN) said he pegged his argument on the CLE Act which specifically vested powers to CLE only to admit and train law graduates desirous of vocational training for practice as advocates and solicitors of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, from universities accredited by the NUC and not to exercise discretions on which university to admit or not into the Nigerian Law School. The trial judge, Hon. Justice B.O. Quardri, after taking submissions from all parties rejected all the preliminary objections of the CLE and dismissed them out rightly. On the contentions of the NUC and AGF, Justice Quadri equally rejected the defenses stating that albeit they both showed they are not at loggerheads with NOUN, they cannot proficiently be removed as parties in the matter since the certificates issued to the plaintiffs by NOUN, a university approved by FGN and accredited by NUC is the subject of the dispute, both are desirable and necessary parties in the suit, and therefore struck out their applications to be removed as defendants. In addition, the judge reminded the AGF that since all his three co-defendants are agents of the Federal government coupled with the CLE Act which gives him unfettered powers to give directives to CLE, he is a competent party in the suit. Amuda-Kannike (SAN) in a meeting in his office at Port Harcourt on Tuesday with the plaintiffs and Coordinator of Law Graduates Forum (LGF), Hon. Carl Umegboro, maintained his position that action of the CLE against NOUN graduates over admission to the Nigerian Law School is ultra vires and cannot stand without legal backing stating that students that sacrificed both time and resources to obtain a degree from an accredited university cannot reasonably be frustrated knowing that advocate and solicitor are fused in Nigeria, and therefore without enrolment to the bar, the law degree may amount to nothing to the possessor who intends to practice law. He added that if the CLE has any objections on the law programme of the University, the conventional and reasonable thing should be to treat the matter as it did earlier over the Evening Law programmes offered by some universities by liaising with the NUC for review of the accreditation and not to refuse admission to students already in the system talk less of graduates, which could be considered as tantamount to malice to the students without putting their fate into consideration. The learned Professor vowed that in line with justice, equity and good conscience, he is determined to pursue the matter to a logical conclusion to ensure that innocent Nigerians who spent their resources to add values to their lives are not frustrated by those in authority. Recalling that these innocent victims-graduates all come from families like members of the Council, and certainly aimed at earning a living from the profession, the learned silk passionately appealed to the young lawyers to maintain decorum and remain strong as the court remains the last hope of the common man. Hearing on the substantive matter which was earlier scheduled for 5th July, 2016 but couldn’t hold due to the public holiday to mark the Eid-Fitri, a Muslim festival is rescheduled on 23rd September , 2016.]]>

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