Justice Hilary Oshomah of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt on Wednesday held that Court lacks the requisite power to compel Council of Legal Education CLE to admit law graduates of the National Open University to the Nigeria Law School. Justice Oshomah stated this while dismissing the suit filed by law graduates of NOUN, seeking to be admitted into the Nigerian Law School, NLS.
Some graduates of the Law Department of NOUN had on the 12 May, 2015, instituted a legal action against the CLE, National University Commission, NUC, Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN, over their refusal to allow them admission into the law school.
The graduates in their suit wanted the court to compel the relevant authorities to make provisions to include graduates of the NOUN in the Nigerian Law School as benefiting by law graduates from other institutions.
The legal counsel to the graduates, Prof Abiodun Amuda-Kannika, SAN, had in court prayed the court to deliver judgment in favour of his plaintiffs based on the relief sort by the affected graduates.
Meanwhile, counsel for CLE and the others, Mark Agwu, told the court to strike out the matter, noting that part-time and correspondent graduates are not qualified for admission into the NLS.
However, Justice Oshomah, in his judgment held: “The power to admit students into law school is intrinsic and since the first defendant (CLE) does not share its power with any other person, that on issue of who to admit students and criteria of admitting that student is a matter of the domestic confines of council of Legal Education.”
Oshomah while explaining that academic matters should be left in the hands of the academicians ruled: “This court cannot decide to order University Commission or Council of Legal Education to admit students from National Open University of Nigeria into law school for reasons being that they obtained their law degree by part-time or distance education.”
“This is the decision of the Court, that the reliefs sort by the plaintiff are totally misconceived, unmeriterous and not granted. On this decision, this honourable court dismiss this suit.”
Meantime, counsel to the plaintiffs, Amuda-Kannika, expressed hope that the judgment of the court would be annulled on appeal, saying: “The decision has been given by the court, we believe in God and I believe that administratively it can be strengthened out. But it all depends on my client they might have a second thought at to the next line of action.
“We believe that we ought to have won, but haven lost, we believe in God that their LLB certificate cannot just be LLB alone, we will have BL at the end of the day because I believe that the Attorney General still have power to override the decision of the council of legal education under Section 4 of the Council of Legal Education Act, to allow the decision of the council to be set aside and allow them to go to law school.”
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