By Dr. Raphael Christopher
No. But why?
Let’s begin with the Genesis of The Nigerian Law School, which can be traced to the realisation in the 1900s when the British common law governing Nigerian Legal System then, required trained lawyers to help in the administration of justice in Nigeria, that there was not enough formally trained lawyers.
The Unsworth Committee that was set up to consider legal eduction necessary to ensure the production of trained lawyers to help in the administration of Justice then recommended amongst others that a Law School should be established in Lagos to provide practical training for Lawyers.
So, The Legal Education Act 1962 and the Legal Practitioners Act 1962 was born. They have been replaced by the Legal Education (Consolidated, etc ) Act. Cap L10, Laws of The Federation of Nigeria 2004.
The University of Nigeria Nsukka became the very first University to establish The first Law Faculty in the country,
The Universities established, were now to provide theoretical foundational legal knowledge which The Law School will add to and improve through its offerings of the procedural law.
The Nigerian Law School is itself created by The Council of Legal Education, under its statutory powers, given it, under the provisions of The Legal Education ( consolidation, etc ) Act, Cap L10 of The Laws of The Federation of Nigeria 2004.
As such, it is a creation of secondary legislation direction and included by its mention and description within the aforesaid Act – therefore notwithstanding there is no direct statutory legislation to the point, yet nevertheless, by rules of interpretation, The Nigerian Law School cannot therefore be illegal under any interpretation of the word.
Even and taking everything in view, The Nigerian Law School has existed under the CLE since 1962, you can also say it is judicially noted fact of such notoriety and that in and of itself, it is conclusively proved in any dimension of meaning that The Nigerian Law School is legal.
However, many have suggested that due to the current harsh economic realities, poor
facilities, it may be time to consider the unthinkable.
Some have advocated for a complete abolishment of The Nigerian Law School and replacement with private institutions etc etc
Whilst, there is nothing per see wrong with such calls, however it does not seem to me to be the best solution in this present circumstances.
Granted, the world in 1962 is different from the world in 2021. Many things have changed, irrevocably – with the increase in population and new states, The Nigerian Law School
has responded by establishing branches all across the country to cater for this growth.
I believe the present situation where we have law school branches across our nation is laudable as it brings legal qualifications closer to everyone in our vast nation and enables lawyers to be closer to the different geographical local Government areas, communities and society which l helps greatly in the administration of justice in every local government areas and communities in every geopolitical region of our country.
Some have argued for all law school branches to consider closure and amalgamating into the Law School Lagos for reason connected with poor facilities, lack of good skills set, inadequate take up and quotas etc etc .
I don’t believe that is a good solution for the reasons given above.
In any case, in our peculiar Nigerian climate, The Nigerian Law School has never failed its mandate.
This statement may provoke the question – What evidence supports this assertion?
However, I think the question should rather be – what evidence does not in support of this assertion?
The fact that Nigerian Law School has not failed it’s mandate can be seen in the fact that we have multiplied thousands of noble lawyers doing great things in our society, helping to uphold the rule of law and proper administration of justice both in the bar and at the bench, and without any trace of irony, even our learned friends calling for the closure of The Law School are themselves products of The Nigerian Law school The Nigerian Law School works prima facie showing The Law School is delivering on its mandate and should not be abolished.
What should be done?
For one, the primary and
main problem facing The Nigerian Law Schools is lack of adequate finances, fundings and facilities and financial support for indigent law school students.
The staff and teachers in our Law Schools are very hardworking and go to great lengths to ensure students get the best education using what they currently have –
Which is not a lot!
Furthermore, many students across The Nigerian Law Schools are indigent students due to personal tragedies, the current financial woes and economic problems bedevilling our country’s economy.
This situation is not right that they cannot receive help and sponsorship either and The Law Schools are suffering lack of facilities, funding and equipment.
Why is this important?
You see, some of the students that enter The Law School now, in 30 years time, will be The Attorney Generals of our country, they will be Supreme Court judges, they will be Presidents, Vice Presidents, ministers, Court of Appeal and High Court judges, Tribunals judges, lecturers, Professors and authors or work in private practice and private sector where together they will be helping to govern our vast country and administer justice and help in the proper administration of Justice.
Do we want them fully trained, having access to and benefiting from the very best facilities, expertises and fully equipped Law school campuses?
Yes. We want to help them and we want them trained properly so they have the best chance to become better and be well equipped with skills to navigate the legal complex world of tomorrow with confidence.
How do we make this happen?
One way is to fund The Law Schools by a mix of Government financial help matched by private finances coming from the different sets of lawyers that have crossed the halls of the hallowed institution of The Nigerian Law School.
How do we go about this?
I call on the NBA, NBA branches and all Law sets and classes since 1962 till date that have passed through The Law School to please collaborate together as a united body of lawyers, or if not, as individuals or as individual groups to sponsor indigent students, to raise funds for our Alma mater, The Nigerian Law School, by way of regular sponsored walks, dinners, runs, donations, auctions and other humanitarian charitable activities.
If the above suggestions is adopted by the NBA, NBA branches and all Law sets and classes since 1962 till date that have passed through The Law School and if this is done all across the country and done perpetually, and regularly with proper transparency and accountability and probity, and the monies they raise is matched by The Federal Government, every Nigerian Law School would fully resourced immediately, every indigent student would receive needed help.
This would be such a great legacy of stunning proportions that for generations to come, our collective and individual efforts would be the talk and inspiration for the ages and our nation and society for generations in the future will thank us most profusely for this great legacy.
This will have been accomplished by just a resourcing of The Nigerian Law School.
Written By Dr. Raphael Christopher, A Senior Member of Enugu Bar
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