The National Assembly has approved the establishment of additional law school campuses across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.
The decision followed the consideration of a report by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters.
While the existing law school campuses are located in Lagos (South West), Abuja (North Central), Yola (North East), Kano (North West), Enugu (South East), and Yenegoa (South-South), the additional campuses approved include Kabba Law School Campus, Kogi (North Central); Maiduguri Law School Campus, Borno (North East); Argungu Law School Campus, Kebbi (North West); Okija Law School Campus, Anambra (South East); Orogun Law School Campus, Delta (South-South); Ilawe Law School Campus, Ekiti (South West), and Jos Law School Campus (North Central).
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The bill that birth the approval was sponsored by Senator Sam Adeyemi representing Kogi West in the 9th Senate.
This indicates that the six new campuses will augment the existing six bringing the total number of Law school campuses across Nigeria to twelve.
The development has, however, been received with mixed feelings by some law students. While some see it as a great move by lawmakers, others believe it is not without some negative impacts.
Speaking with The News Beam on the condition of anonymity, a law school student at the Lagos state campus expressed her satisfaction.
Congratulating law school hopefuls, she said,
“I’m happy for the incoming law students. Increase in admission, the present campuses will be decongested. Plus there might not be backlog sets anymore because universities’ quota will increase”.
She, however, faulted the admission procedures of private higher institutions which she believes are corrupt and might affect the system. She said,
“Well, let’s just hope that these universities won’t admit more students because of the increase. Especially the private ones, because we know they only care about their pockets. I really hope it’s executed properly”.
The law school student also criticized the slow implementation and execution of projects in the country.
“They might be able to admit the two sets that are currently waiting to enter law school at once. But I doubt the buildings would have been completed because these people are sluggish when it comes to implementation but swift when it comes to “punishment and stretching” students”, she concluded.
Ms. Mojere Bamigboye, in a chat with The News Beam, also commended the initiative explaining that it will go a long way in addressing some of the problems caused by the quota system.
“This is actually an important aspect where the bill would be considered good law. Because the quota issue is really disturbing. We have over 150 students waiting to go to law school, not because of finances or academic issues but because the quota allotted to the university has been filled up”.
The final year Law student of the University of Lagos, however, opined that while there are a number of benefits derivable from the establishment of more campuses, there are also certain disadvantages. Mojere said,
“The passage of the bill of additional law school in Nigeria would be considered both a blessing as well as a curse if it is thoroughly considered”.
Highlighting the benefits, she said;
“It is considered a blessing because there would be enough campus to accommodate the number of LLB law students who are qualified to go the Nigerian Law school. This would therefore bring to an end the annual ritual of spillover of LLB graduates who all though qualified to go to NLS can however not go because the quota allotted to their university has been filled up”.
She also expressed concern about the drawbacks which might stem from the security situation of the country.
“In the other light, the additional law school would be considered a bad law on the basis of the location of the law school. Out of the newly added NLS, 4 out of 6 are located in the north. with respect to insecurity in this area of the country”.
Concluding, Mojere said;
“Statistics have even shown that from the existing law school in Nigeria LLB graduates are selective of which NLS they attend due to the issue of insecurity on the basis of the location of these law school. This, therefore, raises the question of would LLB graduates be willing to risk their lives for the sake of attending law school and being called to bar??”
This question posed by Mojere was answered by Civil Lawyer and Case Manager, Mr. Emmanuel Nutayi. He said;
“(It) might really not be a bad law because the campuses are established in the 6 geo-political zones in Nigeria. So, whether security or it, they’re entitled to it? Though students have the right to choose the campus of their own, law school resides the right to post you anywhere they deem it fit “
Nutayi also said;
I think it’s great news because the number of aspirants to the bar is massively increasing
Expartiating, the lawyer brought to fore the fact that law school is not exclusive to Nigerian law students. He said,
There’s the bar I and Bar II. Foreign students would first do bar I, obviously because they studied outside the county. Maybe outside common law countries or not. Thereafter, they’re admitted to bar II with Nigerian students. The quota for each school at times might not let some eligible students go to law school the year they should. Increasing the number of campuses increases the number of quotas to be given to schools.
To drive home his point, the lawyer sighted an example. He said;
“Someone in Eksu just told me she’s going to law school next year although she graduated last year. This is because they have spillover and it’ll be their turn next year”.
“Imagine the additional 6 campuses have been in operation, she doesn’t have to wait till next year.“