With few days to the commencement of the 2020/2021 Nigerian Law School examination, parents of students at the Bwari campus have called on the management of the school to relocate the students to its other campuses owing to reported security scare in the area.
The examinations have been scheduled to start from Monday, May 17, 2021.
But the worried parents, who insisted that the safety of their wards should be the priority, stated that they do not want to go through the same harrowing experience of parents of the Greenfield University students abducted by bandits in Kaduna recently.
Boko Haram scare has created panic among the residents of the Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in recent weeks.
Bwari town, an outskirt of Abuja shares boundary with Tafa Local Government Area of Niger State.
It is home to many government and private institutions such as the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Federal Government College, Bwari; Nigerian Law School, Bwari (Abuja Campus); and Veritas University, among others.
Before the report of the alleged presence of bandits in Bwari, the Niger State Governor, Mr. Sani Bello, had raised the alarm that Boko Haram invaded and hoisted their flags in Shiroro Local Government of the state, a local government that is less than two hours’ drive from Abuja.
Despite the assurances by the FCT Police Command, the parents of the Law School students were said to have approached the management of the school to either postpone the examination till when tension has died down or preferably relocate the students to safer campuses to take their Bar exams.
The parents also forwarded their request to the Director-General of the Law School, Professor Isa Ciroma (SAN), through the Council of Legal Education, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and other legal bodies to allow law students of the Bwari campus to take their Bar examinations in the Lagos, Enugu, Yenagoa and Kano campuses.
THISDAY gathered that the request was based on the fact that the campus is close to communities in Niger State that have been threatened by bandits and Boko Haram.
But Ciroma was said to have declined their request, instead assuring them of the safety of the students at the Bwari campus.
An official of the Nigerian Law School, Bwari campus, who spoke to THISDAY on condition of anonymity, said that the institution had already taken proactive steps to ensure the safety of lives and property on the campus.
“The school has done the needful; we, in the law school have not heard anything; we just gathered rumours; nothing has happened in the place,” he said, adding that the exam is still holding and nothing to fear.”
He stated that as a proactive institution they had alerted the security agencies as soon as they heard the rumour.
“So far so good; lecture is going on and exams will still be on Monday as planned.
“Parents should just allow the security agencies to do their job; we are trusting God to take control. All parents should do is to continue to pray and be hopeful. We are still living here on campus and going about our normal businesses. There is nothing to worry about now,” he maintained.
Also speaking, Chairman of the Council of Legal Education, Chief Emeka Ngige (SAN), who confirmed the apprehension of most parents, however, noted that the issue was taken out of proportion.
Ngige acknowledged that the fears of parents were well-founded going by recent kidnap of university students in Kaduna State, but noted that necessary steps had been taken to guarantee the safety of the law students in Bwari.
He said: “Some people are just trying to escalate the tension, I have been discussing with a lot of parents, and I’m also a parent; I am concerned. But I have spoken with the Attorney-General of the Federation and he has assured me that they are providing security for the Law School in Bwari.
“The examination is just three days away; some parents want the school either to be closed or the exams to be brought to their doorstep and it is not convenient for all of them. It may be convenient for somebody who wants to come to Lagos; there are those who don’t have any relation in Lagos for just three days or a week exams.
“So, since the government has assured of security at the Bwari Law School, all we need to do is to keep calm; let them take the exam and go.”
He argued that there were other government institutions in Bwari such as JAMB, which did not shut down because of the scare of insecurity.
The council chairman said Nigeria should beef up security and be vigilant.
Ngige stated that if it were possible he would have acceded to the demands of the parents.
He appealed to them to remain prayerful and trust God to keep their wards safe.
Ngige said: “I’m appealing to parents; if it is within my power as chairman of the council, I will just assuage their feelings and decentralise the examination, postpone the date of the exam, put it in June and relocate them to different states but the government said they will provide security and the exam must take place in Bwari. So, we remain prayerful and then vigilant.
“I don’t quarrel with them over their feelings because if you see what has happened in other institutions like Kaduna, no parent will be happy to find his or her ward somewhere that there is rumour of attack.”
He, however, said parents, who are apprehensive, can withdraw their children from taking the current exams by writing a letter to the council.
Meanwhile, some senior lawyers who spoke on the issue called on the government to beef up security around the Bwari campus to ensure the safety of the students.
For Professor Yemi Akinseye-George (SAN); Mr. John Baiyeshea (SAN) and Mr. Dayo Akinlaja (SAN), the government must do everything to guarantee the safety of the Bwari Law students as well as all other students across the country.
“The Director-General of the Nigerian Law School, Prof Isa Ciroma (SAN), is widely reputed as a thoroughbred intellectual and astute administrator. I believe we can rely on his assurances that the school has made adequate arrangements to protect the students from the threat of terrorists or any other violent invasion of the school.
“Postponing the exams is not in the best interest of thousands of students from Nigerian and foreign universities, including those who are eagerly waiting to resume studies at the Law School,” Akinseye-George explained.
Akinseye-George, who is also the President of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies (CSLS), added that in view of the backlog of students awaiting admission, postponing the exams would be ill-advised.
Also speaking, Baiyeshea said the concern of parents over the safety and security of their wards were genuine, particularly in the Northern campuses, adding that the concern should not be dismissed.
“We are all living witnesses to what has happened to Students in other institutions. Students of Greenfield University Kaduna are still being held by the evil, satanic, and barbaric cannibals called bandits.
Government should not wait until another disaster happens (God forbid), before they start running aimlessly about to negotiate with the savages”, Baiyeshea said.
Akinlaja, on his part noted that in view of the current spate of insecurity and high incidence of the kidnapping of students on campuses, parents should be emotionally distressed and agitated.
“On account of that, one is disposed to entreat the authorities of the school to make alternative arrangements for the students. However, if it is that adequate security measures have been put in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the students, the authorities should endeavour to give empirical assurances to the parents and all stakeholders,” he added.