By Freedom Ominyi Eje

INTRODUCTION

The Nigerian Council of Legal Education (CLE) in her wisdom graciously approved the commencement of a special backlog set for the year 2024 in order to offset the backlog of law graduates accumulated by Universities as a result of strike (industrial actions) and the COVID19 lockdown. This Backlog set of students are scheduled to resume session in the early part of next month (May 2024). The decision by the Council is a very laudable and commendable move especially in the light of the fact that most of these fresh graduates would need to complete their legal education at the Law School before embarking on the compulsory National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC).

While the decision of the Council is commendable, there are concerns faced by Applicants and Candidates that fall within this Backlog set.

CORPUS

The high cost of legal education in Nigeria is a fact of common knowledge. The Legal profession (and consequently legal education) from the genesis has been an elitist profession and this reality has an impact even on the formative process of practitioners, this sad reality holds sway till date, to this end, students of Legal Education in Nigeria and even globally would need to be sufficiently equipped with the necessary resources to pursue and complete Legal Education.

There is usually a need for Applicants, particularly from indigent backgrounds to source for funds in order to face the financial realities of the Law School. However, due to the impromptu and short notice accompanying the mobilization of the special backlog set, being a sui generis arrangement, Applicants are not afforded the luxury of sufficient time to source funds to meet up and even more so in the light of present economic realities of the country.

It is also noteworthy that the nature of legal education requires a lot of focus, dedication and commitment. It is thus imperative for a student seeking academic excellence under such an environment to be comfortable in order to remain focused, this comfort may not be luxurious but the basic comfort of affording his complete fees, basic texts, feeding and minor necessities in order to avoid a distracted mind when engaging the rigours of legal education.

I must then make haste to appreciate individuals and corporate bodies who have been in the business of providing scholarships and succour to law school applicants such as State Governments, Senators, Honourable Representatives at National and State Assemblies, Prada Uzodinnma Scholarship Grant, Reginald Aziza Scholarship, Age of the Legal Scholar, Kenna Partners, Omaplex Law Firm, Pavestone Legal, Famsville Scholar, Femi Gbede Scholars, Davidson Oturu Scholarship, Templars Endowment, Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria, Perficient Law school awards, Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Law firms, Judges, Attorney Generals, Religious, financial and traditional leaders/institutions, Public figures and celebrities, social media influencers and content creators, international bodies and good spirited Nigerians and other individuals whom this writer may not remember due to space and information.

Your efforts in the promotion of equal access to legal education in Nigeria through the provision of support to Applicants is duly recognized and appreciated greatly by this writer.

CONCLUSION

It is in furtherance of my contemplations and realities posited earlier in this work that I write to solicit and call on all well-meaning institutions (both public and private) as well as individuals to rally support for the special backlog set who are set to resume law school in less than a month from the date of this write-up.

It is my solemn and humble appeal that while most corporate bodies are used to giving Law School Scholarships annually and for regular intakes and I am also aware that some of them have given scholarship earlier this year or late last year for the regular intakes, this sui generis backlog set happen to be in dire need of scholarships due to the prevailing circumstances surrounding their admission season and timeframe.

Therefore, it is my respectful submission that as many persons who can, should please consider the plight of these young lawyers in the making and give audience to their concern.

Together, we can raise legal practitioners who will uphold the principles of equity, truth and justice by supporting these youngsters.

Freedom Ominyi Eje writes from Abuja, Nigeria as an applicant of the 2024 Nigerian Law School Backlog Set.

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