A former Deputy Director-General of the Nigerian Law School, Prof. Ernest Ojukwu (SAN), has described the Bill seeking to amend the Legal Education Act to establish additional Law School campuses as “misconceived”.
He argued that the principal extant Act did not even establish the Nigerian Law School or any of the functioning campuses.
Ojukwu, who was head of Campus, Augustine Nnamani Campus, Agbani, Enugu between 2001 and 2013, said the state of existing campuses was shameful.
He said in a statement sent to The Nation: “The existing Legal Education Act mentions the Nigerian Law School by reference. No legislation establishes the Nigerian Law School or its campuses.
“So what are you amending? Why do you need to establish additional law school campuses by amending a law that did not establish the school in the first place?
“The next issue is the archaic and outdated policy of continued running in-school-publicly funded vocational and professional legal education at this time of civilisation. That policy has failed and trying to expand it by legislating additional campuses is retrogressive and backward.
“The current thinking is that we should rather review the policy and the existing Legal Education Act by focusing on an empowered Council of Legal Education that will only prescribe a vocational/professional legal education curriculum benchmarks, accredit private training service providers and administer bar examinations.
“It is actually time to abolish the Nigerian Law School. It has outlived its usefulness and it will never rise above its present incapacity due to continued government approach to its funding.”
According to Ojukwu, the government is not ready to continue to adequately fund the Nigerian Law School.
“The Nigerian Law School is terribly underfunded and under supported. Its training is still conducted as stadium lectures because the school cannot fund infrastructure, classrooms and facilities for small class lessons.
“The school cannot employ the required number of teachers because the government does not permit the employment of at least over 200 additional teachers and adjuncts that will make a success of small class lessons.
“There is no way you can prepare a lawyer in a 1500 stadium strength class to one teacher and achieve any useful outcome for standard legal education and competent professional. But that is the current state of the law school generally.
“The management and staff of the Nigerian Law School literally use bare hands to press out water from stone in a tough struggle to keep its vocational education alive.”