The Senate’s proposal to establish six more law schools was thwarted yesterday.
The opposition came from the Council of Legal Education (CLE), the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), and some senators.
The public hearing on a bill seeking their establishment and two other bills, organized by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, witnessed vehement opposition to the bill.
The panel had sought inputs from critical stakeholders on the legislative proposal titled, “Legal Education (Consolidated, etc, Amendment) Bill 2021” but got unfavorable submissions from them.
First to pick holes in the bill were Senators Ike Ekweremadu (PDP: Enugu West) and Seriake Dickson (PDP: Bayelsa West), who called on their colleagues to be cautious with the advocacy.
Ekweremadu, particularly, warned against politicizing legal education, noting: “Establishment of new campuses or law schools should be left at the discretion of the CLE, as empowered by the Act that sets it up in 1962.”
NBA President, Olumide Akpata, said the move was unnecessary, as the existing six campuses “are grossly underfunded before the intervention of Rivers State Government with a well-equipped campus in Port Harcourt.”
He added: “With the required infrastructure, the existing law schools across the country are enough to accommodate thousands of law students graduating from the various universities.
“The CLE is the institution empowered by law to set up a new campus on the basis of need assessment and not political considerations driving the move for the establishment of additional six (campuses) across the six geo-political zones.”
CLE’s Chairman, Emeka Ngige, also expressed his organization’s total aversion to the idea, citing the prevailing underfunding of the existing six.
Earlier, the bill sponsor, Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC: Kogi West), as well as Senators Abiodun Olujimi (PDP Ekiti South), Kashim Shettima (APC Borno Central), and others argued for the establishment of the proposed law schools for accessibility of legal education by knowledge seekers.