Re-packaging the Nigerian Legal Academic Structure – Daniel Bulusson

Daniel Bulusson

The current Nigerian legal academic structure is one that allows the baking of a law student from a faculty of law of an accredited university for a minimum of five {5} years, then a nine {9} months programme at the Nigerian Law School of any of the six campuses located in Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Enugu, Bayelsa, and Adamawa. This structure has served the country well and produced the best crop of lawyers the country can boast off, but then again, times have changed; the system has become over populated. We now have a system overwhelmed by the large number of law graduates produced every year.

One way or the other, we now have non-accredited universities offering law to Nigerian students, it is my belief that a student who cannot be admitted to the Nigerian Law School to become a legal practitioner ought not to be overburdened with the study of law as an undergraduate course. In the same vein, non-accredited universities whose law graduates cannot be admitted into Nigerian Law School ought not to offer law as a course to Nigerian students.

Growing up as a Nigerian youth has taught one that the country’s machinery takes too long to adapt to change. It looks like the society and its people are changing faster than the system. A societal need would arise and before it is attended to by the system, another more impending and damaging need would arise. If a structure no longer fits a societal need, the ideal thing is to improve on same to fit the societal need.

The large number of new generational law students in the country, requires a more intone educational system to maintain the standard of legal education in Nigeria. It is not mandatory for every university to offer law as a course, likewise nothing stops the country from having a university specialized in the study of law to Nigerian students. The current curriculum taught in faculties of law as an undergraduate can be modified to fit the current day society, it does not add up spending time studying courses that won’t be used in real life scenarios.

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Many legal practitioners of today are of the opinion that law taught as a subject in the university, and law school is quite different from law as practiced after call to the Nigerian Bar, as it stands, it takes a young wig a minimum of six (6) months to two (2) years to acclimatize to the current legal structure that exist in the country.  The time spent on learning law on the job in this country cannot serve a legal professional fruitful beginning, as opposed to the high cost it takes to study law due to the exorbitant amount of money paid as school fees, and then incur a high cost of living as a young legal professional in Nigeria.

There needs to be a balance between the academic structure that produces the lawyers, and the legal system that accepts them into the society. There should be a model structure for becoming a legal professional in Nigeria suitable to our way of life, and crop of graduates. One need not spend some herculean six {6} to seven {7} years when same results can be obtained in five {5} years. Success need not be difficult as we are erroneously meant to believe by being a Nigerian.

It does not make sense for the procedure to be enrolled as a law student to be high, the school fees spent on becoming a lawyer in Nigeria is high, the number of years it takes to become a legal professional in Nigeria is high, after call to bar, the cost of living as a legal professional in Nigeria is high. To my mind, suffering and success are not related in any way, it is only in Nigeria that one is taught to believe that success comes after suffering.

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It is high time we looked inward as a country, and fashion a structure accommodating to our genre of people, culture, and level of technological advancement, and model a society befitting to the modern generation Nigerian law student.

God speed!

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