There is currently bickering over the siting of the newly proposed law school in Ekiti State, as two monarchs in the state have claimed it would be sited in their respective domains.
The Senate on Tuesday passed a bill for the establishment of six more branches of the Nigeria Law School in the six geopolitical zones of the country, with that of the South-west officially approved to be sited in IIawe Ekiti.
But two traditional rulers in the state, the Alawe of Ilawe, Ajibade Alabi, and the Olufaki of Ifaki, Adegbenro Falore, have separately celebrated the approval, apparently due to a mix up during the final reading of the bill by the Senate on Tuesday.
The confusion was further compounded with letters emanating from the palaces of the monarchs declaring that they were each the host communities.
When the bill was being passed, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, reportedly announced Ifaki Ekiti in Ido/ Osi local government area of Ekiti State as the host community for the branch approved for Ekiti.
But at a press conference afterwards, Smart Adeyemi, the sponsor of the bill and Senator representing Kogi West, reportedly countered the earlier pronouncement and announced Ilawe Ekiti as the host town for the branch.
The Alawe of Ilawe in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Bummi Ajibade, urged members of the public to disregard the earlier “fake news” that the campus “was for another town rather than Ilawe.”
The monarch said he appeared before the Senate Committee on Legal Education in Abuja in November 2021 and spoke on behalf of the traditional rulers of the six geo political zones where the six proposed law schools would be sited.
“I, on behalf of the entire people of Ilawe Ekiti commend the distinguished members of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for approving the siting of the campus of the Nigerian law school meant for the South-west geo political zone, in Ilawe Ekiti,” he said.
The Alawe commended the leadership of the Senate “led by Ahmed Lawan and the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Legal Education headed by Opeyemi Bamidele as well as the sponsor of the motion, Smart Adeyemi.”
But the Olufaki of Ifaki Ekiti, Adegbenro Falore, on Wednesday said “he received with gratitude the news of the passage of the bill establishing a campus of the Nigerian Law School at Ifaki Ekiti.”
“Your Excellency, we equally appreciate the sponsor of the Bill, Senator Smart Adeyemi for the courage and objectivity in his presentation on the floor of the Senate.
“Our appreciation also goes to the chairman and members of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matter for their efforts aimed at making the Bill see the light of the day. We assure you all that your names shall be written in gold in the annals of Ifaki Ekiti history.
“Your Excellency, we are seizing this medium to draw the attention of your esteemed office to the misrepresentation of the passage of the Bill particularly the location of the Campus by a section of the media.
“It is worthy of note that Ifaki Ekiti is contained in the Bill at the first reading as well as at the passage of the Bill in the hallowed chamber of the Senate.”
The newly approved law schools, in addition to the seven existing ones, bring the total number of law schools in the country to 13, excluding that of the Federal Capital Territory.
What the Senate approved
The approval of the new law campuses followed the consideration and adoption of a report by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters on the Legal Education Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
The bill was sponsored by Mr Adeyemi (APC-Kogi).
Accordingly, the Senate approved the Jos Law School Campus, Plateau, and Kabba Law School Campus, Kogi, for the North-central geo-political zone.
The chamber also gave the nod for the Yola Law School Campus, Adamawa, and Maiduguri Law School Campus, Borno, to serve the North-east zone.
In the North-west, the Senate approved the Kano Law School Campus, Kano, and Argungun Law School Campus, Kebbi.
In the South-east, the chamber gave approval for the Enugu Law School Campus, and Okija Law School Campus, Anambra.
The Senate also approved the Yenegoa Law School Campus, Bayelsa, Port Harcourt Law School Campus, Rivers, and Orogun Law School Campus, Delta, for the South- south zone
In the South-west, the chamber approved the Lagos Law School Campus, Lagos; and Ilawe Law School Campus, Ekiti.
The Bwari Law School Campus, Abuja, remains exclusively for the Federal Capital Territory.