A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has reserved judgment in the suit filed by National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) graduates against the Council of Legal Education (CLE) to Wednesday, October 4, 2017.
Honourable Justice Hillary Ide Osho Oshomah adjourned the suit for the second time after listening to all the parties and their submissions. Other parties named in the suit are the National Universities Commission (NUC), the university, NOUN, and the Attorney General of the Federation/Minister of Justice.
The judge, on June 14 readopted the processes earlier filed before the former judge, Justice B.O. Quadri who failed to deliver judgment on 27 January as scheduled after a hearing on December 7, 2016. The plaintiffs through their lead counsel, Professor Abiodun Amuda-Kannike (SAN) are challenging the arbitrary refusal of CLE to admit them into the Nigerian Law School since 2013 despite the NUC’s accreditation of their law programme.
At the moment, NOUN has graduated about 1,800 law students with Bachelor of Laws degree (LL.B) since inception but refused admission for their vocational training in the nation’s law school for enrolment to the bar.
Speaking with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Professor Amuda-Kannike stated that he was disturbed on the double standard being adopted against the students who studied like their counterparts in the conventional universities and sadly for issues also prevalent in all the universities in the country. The learned professor of law added that they successfully presented their matter before the honourable court and expectedly, justice will prevail in the matter.
The former judge, Justice Quadri at the preliminary objections had ruled in favour of the plaintiffs, and dismissed and struck out all the objections filed by defendants against the suit except NOUN that filed none. Eventually, the substantive matter which kicked-off immediately witnessed numerous adjournments till the aborted judgment. Since then, the Law Graduates Forum had embarked on clarion calls to virtually all the relevant authorities for intervention and finally, to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Hon Justice Ibrahim Auta after four months of the botched judgment. Suddenly, the matter was however, enlisted for fresh hearing before the present judge.
Commenting on the development, the chairman of the Law Graduates Forum (LGF) of the university, Carl Umegboro expressed his gratitude adding that he is confident that the judgment as fixed by His lordship will hold as scheduled unlike the previous. The LGF chairman further lamented that the graduates had been subjected to severe trauma and unnecessary discrimination despite their verifiable outstanding performances at competitions with their counterparts.
“I am impressed with the way the judge gave rapid attention to the case and believably working to bring the long battle to abrupt end. I am equally confident we will be vindicated at last as a supremacy battle between the two governmental bodies cannot adversely affect innocent students who are third parties”, Umegboro said.
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