From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has revealed how President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration saved 10,000 law graduates who were victims of universities that exceeded admission limits and would have been prevented from attending law school.
This comes as he announced that, through one of the Ministry of Justice’s parastatals, the Council of Legal Education Nigerian Law School, graduates of the National Open University of Nigeria who graduated in 2010 can now enrol in Nigerian Law School.
The Minister made the disclosure at the 46th Session of the State House Briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja last Thursday.
According to him, the council’s policy requires universities to limit the number of candidates admitted to study law each year.
Malami said: “But arising from the impunity that has characterized our system over time, some of these universities exceeded the regulated limit. It is as good as Nigeria enrolling as an OPEC member and it is given a production line of 1000 barrels per day and then Nigeria took the decision to produce one million barrels. The implication is that you will have a backlog of over 900,000 that you will have nowhere to sell.
“So over time before the coming of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, there were a lot of graduates in law that could not be admitted in the law school because of the impunity of the university system.
“So, a decision was taken with the compassion of President Muhammadu Buhari, to ensure that the backlog of over 10,000 students arising from over admission by some universities are addressed and I’m happy to report that that is being addressed and they are given an opportunity to enrol and register at law school and practice eventually upon successful completion of the programme as lawyers.”
The minister also stated that the enhancement of curriculum and the adoption of an interactive method have made the law school’s programme more student-focused, aligning with the law and vocational nature of the school as well as best practices.
He went on to say that the school’s establishment of a quality assurance unit has ensured that academic programmes are delivered consistently across its six campuses.
“Nigeria Law School has six campuses, and quality assurance is being considered for the first time under President Buhari’s leadership because we cannot tolerate a situation in which someone is produced as a lawyer in Campus A who is half-baked and then someone is produced in Campus B who is fully baked, which undermines the uniformity and the need for the universality of approach in the country’s law curriculum.”
Speaking on the council’s admission of graduates from the National Open University of Nigeria, Malami said: “The Nigerian Law School as you rightly know, is responsible for the production of lawyers and sending them to practice as lawyers across the nation. By way of achievement, in the 18 months period under review, the council commenced a programme to admit graduates from the National Open University of Nigeria in 2010. Before President Buhari’s Administration, those that have indeed enrolled in the Open University Programme as lawyers could not gain admission into law school. But then we felt it is unfair, having been put in place by the legislative process, an institution that has produced graduates and you cannot accommodate them to practice law, even when they are confirmed and ascertained to have indeed studied law and are eligible both in learning and character.
“The council looked into it and under the period under review, the council has commenced the programme of admitting them. That is justice for you. For President Muhammadu Buhari, if you do not believe in a programme don’t put it in place.”