The upper chamber of the National Assembly has urged the Federal government of Nigeria to increase the number of Campuses of the Nigerian Law School to 12.
The Senate asked the Federal government to establish a minimum of an additional 6 with one in each of the geopolitical zones of the country.
The call for the establishment of more campuses followed a Bill titled, “A Bill for an Act to amend the legal education (consolidated etc) Act by establishing the campuses for the Nigerian Law School, and for other related matters,” sponsored by Senator Smart Adeyemi (Kogi West).
In his lead debate on the Bill that passed second reading on the floor of the Senate, the lawmaker explained that the six additional campuses will cost N31.2 billion.
Presently, Nigeria has six campuses of Law Schools.
Explaining where the six proposed additional campuses will be cited, Senator Adeyemi said that the one of North Central will be Kabba Law School campus, Kogi; North East, Maiduguri Law School Campus, Borno; North West, Argungu Law School Campus, Kebbi.
Others are South East, Okija Law School Campus, Anambra; South-South, Orogun Law School Campus, Delta and South West, Ifaki Law School Campus, Ekiti.
The present law school campuses are in Abuja, Lagos, Enugu, Adamawa, Kano and Bayelsa.
On the projected cost implication of establishing the campuses, the lawmaker explained that the construction of lecture halls for the six (6) campuses- N9,000,000,000.
Utility vehicles: Buses & Hilux provision for the six (6) Campuses- N1,200,000,000; residential quarters for lecturers for the six (6) Campuses- N3, 000,000,000
Hostel accomodation for students for the six (6) Campuses- N6,000,000,000; Furniture and Security equipment for the six (6) Campuses- N3,000,000,000; road network for the six (6) Campuses- N6,000,000,000
Salaries, wages and allowances for academic and non-academic staff for the first year across the six (6) campuses is N3,000,000,000.
The total cost implication for the six campuses is N31,200,000,000 (Thirty-one billion, two hundred million).
In his debate, Senate Adeyemi said “It should be noted that the Nigerian Law School was established in Lagos under the Legal Education Act 1962 which is now Legal Education (Consolidation Ete) Act Cap. L10, Laws of the Federation, 2004. From 1962 up till December 1997, the Law School remained in Lagos but the School was relocated to Bwari in Abuja in December 1997 following a Federal Government directive.
“Mr. President, the Nigerian Law School developed a Multi-Campus structure in 1999 and the original premises in Lagos became the Lagos Campus of the Nigerian Law School.
“The Nigerian Law School is an Educational Institution set up to provide a Nigerian Legal Education to foreign-trained lawyers and to also provide practical training for aspiring Legal Practitioners in Nigeria. Before the establishment of the School in 1962, Legal Practitioners in Nigeria had received the requisite training in England and had been called to the English Bar.
“The Nigerian Law School later established four other Campuses so as to accommodate the increasing number of Law Students that graduated yearly from Nigerian Universities, many of who had to wait for years after graduation before they could secure admission into the only two Campuses that existed as at then. The four additional Law School Campuses includes Enugu Law School Campus, Bayelsa Law School Campus, Kano Law School Campus and Yola Law School Campus.
“The six Law School Campuses were also strategically located in such a way as to ensure that each Geopolitical Zone of Nigeria got one Campus. This initiative is in furtherance of the deliberate and decisive resolve to keep Nigeria united by giving every section of the country the expected sense of belonging.
“Mr. President, Distinguished Colleagues, the Nigerian Law School offer Courses in Criminal Litigation, Civil Litigation, Corporate Law Practice, Professional Ethics and Skills, as well as Property Law Practice. Nigerian Law School has graduated over 70,000 students, many of whom are now successful Lawyers, Judges, Solicitors and Citizens.
Anyone who has obtained a University Degree in Law and wants to practice as Lawyers in Nigeria must attend the Nigerian Law School, the Council of Legal Education then gives Certificates to Students who pass the Bar Part 11 Examinations, and such students are then called to Bar,
“As at when the need arose to increase the number of Nigerian Law School Campuses to six, less than 20 Nigerian Universities had Law Faculties, mostly Federal Universities.
Today, the number of Nigerian Universities that has Law Faculties has increased to about 70 comprised of Federal Universities, State Universities, and Private Universities, this figure above is ever increasing.
“Distinguished Colleagues, according to the admission quota of Law Students allocated to all Universities per year, 5640 students are admitted yearly into their Law Faculties. The implication of this data is that about 5500 Law Graduates are produced from the 55 Universities yearly.
“It should be noted that while the records of the Nigerian Law School indicates that it has the capacity to admit 6510 Students yearly. which ordinarily would have been adequate to accommodate all prospective Law Graduates from the Universities, unfortunately, the less than or about 70 Percent yearly performance of the Law School has over several years accumulated about 30 Percent failure yearly. This record implies that about 2000 of the 6510 admitted yearly have to repeat the School for another year, with no automatic guarantee of making it on the second attempt.
“A five-year analysis of this spillover of about 2000 students amounts to 10,000, while it builds up to 20,000 over a period
“Mr. President. Distinguished Colleagues, the consequences of the situation narrated above carries negative financial, psychological, emotional, social and productivity implications on the Law Graduates from Universities, their parents, the economy and the government of Nigeria In the last 5 years or more. Law Graduates are made to wait for between 2 to 4 years, awaiting admission into the Nigerian Law School, due to lack of vacancy to admit them into the few Campuses available
“Much as the standard of the Nigerian Law School has been one of the best across the globe, any attempt to stretch its admission Capacity beyond its facilities and human resources will be counterproductive as it will negatively affect the welfare and performance of the students: Also, to allow the present situation persist for the next few more years will spell doom for this nation in several ways
“In view of the imminent disaster in our legal industry, this amendment to the Nigerian Council of Legal Education is to encourage the Federal Government of Nigeria to increase the number of Campuses of the Nigerian Law School to 12, at the minimum, by establishing additional one each in the 6 Geopolitical Zones of Nigeria.
“I, therefore, urge Mr. President and my respected colleagues to support this Bill so as to rescue the future of youths, i.e. the intending Lawyers, to save parents from the burden of prolonged dependency, and to also reposition the Nigerian Law School for optimal service delivery.”