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Council of Legal Education, NBA others kicks against additional Law Campuses

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Council of Legal Education
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…Senators, Falana insist on creation law Campuses

Council of Legal Education ,  Nigeria Bar Association ( NBA) , Senator Ike Ekweremdu, Senator Seriake Dickson  rejected proposal to establish six more additional campuses of Nigerian Law School.

However, Femi Falana (SAN) with some Senators carpeted the position’s of NBA and Legal Education Council on Establishment of campuses of Nigerian Law School.

The Senate Committee chaired by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele had at the public hearing , sought for inputs from critical stakeholders on the legislative proposal  titled : ” Legal Education ( Consolidated etc , Amendment ) Bill 2021″ , but got unfavorable submissions from them .

Kicking against the bill earlier was Senators Ekweremadu and Senator Seriake cautioning other lawmakers not subject legal education to politics.

Ekweremadu in his submission warned against politicising legal education saying ” establishment of new campuses or law schools should be left at the discretion of Council for Legal Education as empowered by the Act that set  it up in 1962″.

The National President of Nigeria Bar Association ( NBA) , Olumide Akpata ( SAN)  also in his presentation said there is no need to create additional campuses , but pleading for funding of existing campuses.

He said the existing six are grossly underfunded before the intervention of Rivers State Government with a well equipped campus in Port Harcourt .

” With required infrastructure , the existing law schools across the country are enough to accommodate thousands of law students graduating from the various Universities .

” The Council for Legal Education is the institution empowered by law to set up a new campus on the basis of need assessment and not political considerations  driving the move for establishment of additional six across the six geo – political zones .”

The  Chairman of the Council for Legal Education , Emeka Ngige said the council is 100% opposed to it .

The position of the council he lamented , arose from deplorable condition of most of the existing ones now due to gross underfunding .

” For instance , the deplorable condition in which students at the Yenagoa law campus are studying,  is worse than what prisoners in Ikoyi Prison are experiencing ” , he said .

He pointedly told the lawmakers that they will shed tears if they visit some of the existing campuses and see the deplorable conditions in which students and lecturers are living .

Earlier, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Bamidele said exponential increase in the number of law gradutaes from our Universities, there is need for corresponding increase of Campuses to clear the backlog

He said, “the exponential increase in the number of law gradutaes from our Universities, there is need for corresponding increase of Campuses to clear the backlog as well as to cater for the upsurge in the application for intake into the Nigerian Law School on yearly basis.

“This amendment will also bring about reform in the legal education and encourage conducive learning environment for both the students and teachers at the Nigerian Law School.

Backing the establishment of the law School campuses, Femi Falana argued that Council of Legal Education lacks power to create law school.

He explained that the idea of multi campus came when the Lagos Law School was sold , but got an injunction to stop the selling of building.

 

He said, “It is important to clarify certain fact, the Council of legal Education Act, was enacted in 1962 for the creation of one law.

“No where in the Act, that it was ever thought there that we are going to have a multi campus institution, it is important for our colleagues to realise that in 1999, we have six batches of students who had no place to go, they contacted me and I had to go court.

“The law building of the law school in Lagos had already been sold to a business man who wanted to turn it to an hotel when the school moved to Abuja.

“It was only one campus not until I went to court and we got an injunction restraining the government from selling the law school in Lagos, when the Obasanjo regime came on board we now thought of what to do , that instead of having two campuses why make it a multi campus, so that we won’t create another problem asking everybody to come to Lagos or go to Abuja and that was how we have a multi campus law school, it was not the idea of council of Legal Education. It was done by circumstances.

“The law has not been amended to empower the council of Legal Education to create campuses.they have no power.”

Speaking about funding of law school, he said, “The capital vote for the law school is meagre, but we have about 5,000 students on average , annually at the law school.

“The current fees, of the school per student is N296,000 , and N20,000 application form that is N316,000 per student if we multiply by 5,000 you get about N1.5 billion per annual .Students also pay for accomodation and others.”

In  their submissions , the sponsor of the bill , Senator Smart Adeyemi ,Senator Abiodun Olujimi  , Kashim Shettima, argued for establishment of the proposed law schools for accessibility of legal education  by concerned knowledge seekers .

Senator Olujimi specially said that Senators speaking against the Establisment of campuses are have campus in their state.

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Judiciary

27 Rivers Assembly Lawmakers Dump PDP For APC

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Rivers State Governor Siminalayi Fubara and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike
Rivers State Assembly Complex. Insets: Governor Siminalayi Fubara (L) with FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike
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The Current political drama in Rivers State has taken a new turn as 27 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly have defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

A member of the Assembly, Enemi George, confirmed to Channels Television that the 27 lawmakers were under the leadership of Martin Amaewhule.

He said the decision was taken during their sitting on Monday morning.

For weeks, Amaewhule and another member, Edison Ehie, have been embroiled in a Speakership tussle. Amaewhule is believed to be loyal to ex-governor Nyesom Wike while Ehie is known to be in the camp of Governor Siminalayi Fubara.

The Assembly under Amaewhule had in October served an impeachment notice on the governor and removed Ehie as the House leader. However, some members of the Assembly loyal to Fubara immediately impeached Amaewhule and made Ehie the new Speaker.

The crisis in the 32-member Assembly had begun as a result of a rift between Fubara and his predecessor, Wike, who is now the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Though the two politicians have both attended same public events in the last few weeks and all seemed to have been settled but with Monday’s defection of 27 lawmakers from the PDP to the APC, more drama might unfold in the state’s political arena.

Meanwhile, some political players from other parties over the weekend announced their defection to the PDP.

Leading the defectors from the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the APC were the deputy governorship candidate of the SDP in the 2023 election, Patricia Ogbonnaya; and former Ahoada-West Chairman, Karibo Wilson.

They decamped alongside their supporters and other party excos.

The politicians dumped their former parties to pitch tent with the PDP group loyal to Fubara.

Also in attendance were some of the Ehie-led group of lawmakers, with the member representing Ahoada West, Goodboy Sokari representing the governor alongside Oko Jumbo from Bonny Constituency.

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Judiciary

NJC Recommends Appointment Of 11 Supreme Court Justices

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Entry Point to Supreme Court Complex Abuja
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The National Judicial Council (NJC) has recommended the appointment of 11 justices to the Supreme Court.

A statement by the apex court’s Director of Information, Soji Oye, said the recommendation was made at the 104th meeting of the council in Abuja on Wednesday.

The recommended candidates would be sworn-in after the approval of their recommendation by President Bola Tinubu and the subsequent confirmation of their appointment by the Senate.

With this appointment, the apex court will have the full complement of 21 justices, as envisaged by the Constitution.

Those recommended for appointment to the Supreme Court are:

Hon. Justice Jummai Hannatu Sankey, OFR
Hon. Justice Chidiebere Nwaoma Uwa
Hon. Justice Chioma Egondu Nwosu-Iheme
Hon. Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani
Hon. Justice Moore Aseimo A. Adumein
Hon. Justice Obande Festus Ogbuinya
Hon. Justice Stephen Jonah Adah
Hon. Justice Habeeb Adewale O. Abiru
Hon. Justice Jamilu Yammama Tukur
Hon. Justice Abubakar Sadiq Umar
Hon. Justice Mohammed Baba Idris

The NJC at its last meeting for the year also recommended the appointment of Justice Mohammed Ramat to the Court of Appeal, as well as six heads of courts and 26 other judicial officers.

The various Heads of Court recommended would also be sworn-in upon the approval of their appointment by their various State Governors and subsequent confirmation of same by their respective State Houses of Assembly.

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Judiciary

CJN Urges Judges To Remain Fair In Judgements

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Justice Olukayode Ariwoola
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The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has asked Judges to maintain the integrity that the Judiciary is known for and remain fair and firm in their Judgements.

The CJN was speaking at the opening of the special session of the 2023/2024 Legal year and Swearing-in of 58 newly conferred Senior Advocates of Nigeria In Abuja.

Ariwoola added that he expects every judicial officer to work very hard and also be very honest and courteous to the litigants, witnesses and members of the bar, and discharge all their judicial functions with all the humility at your command.

While pledging to safeguard the rule of law, the holistic independence of the judiciary and the trust and confidence of the public, the CJN further reiterated the determination of the Judiciary, not to be overwhelmed by the sentiments of the public in their decisions.

He stated that the law remained the law, no matter whose interest was involved.

He charged them that In all they do, as interpreters of the law, they should endeavour to severe the strings of emotion from logic and assumption from fact.

The CJN further reminded the judges that it is necessary to have at the back of their minds that public opinions, sentiments or emotions can never take the place of the law in deciding the cases that come before them.

He stated that the Judiciary, as it is today, is more deserving of public trust and confidence than ever before; and they are poised to reposition it for effective justice delivery to make the country a destination of note in the observance of the rule of law and tenets of Constitutionalism.

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