The President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Olumide Akpata, on Monday, urged the National Assembly not to see legal education as constituency projects, which the proliferation of law school campuses connoted.
Akpata, who said legal education was too important to be reduced to constituency projects, queried, “How do you set up law school campuses when you cannot finance them?”
The NBA president spoke in Ado Ekiti at a press conference on the 2022 Legal Education Summit with the theme, ‘Reimagining legal education in Nigeria’, organised by the association and the Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, which holds on Tuesday and Wednesday on the institution’s Ado-Ekiti campus.
Akpata said the summit was conceptualised to intervene in legal education and fashion out policies that could inject sound legal education in the country.
Speaking on the establishment of six new law school campuses, he stated, “The National Assembly should bear in mind that the existing campuses are grossly underfunded and that it would be wrong to establish more under this context.”
The NBA president also appealed to the Federal Government to reach an agreement with the Academic Staff Union of Universities so that lecturers could return to work and save the country’s ivory towers from total collapse.
Akpata stated, “Our government should stop paying lip service to the issue. The government needs to get serious about how it wants to run education in Nigeria right from budgetary allocation.
“Education at all levels must get the seriousness it deserves. Let the government fulfil its own side of the pact. Government should quickly do what is necessary to open our schools for normal activities. Strike and school closure have recurred over and over again.
“With time, the brand ‘Nigerian trained’ may become an albatross, because employers will start asking how you were trained. So, it is important for the government to resolve the issue if they think the education of the Nigerian children is still important.
“We are going to be looking at our curriculum. We will also look at technology. We are also looking at our teaching methodology, quality assurance and the issue of the decentralisation of the Nigerian Law School.”
The Chairman, 2022 Planning Summit and ABUAD Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof Damilola Olawuyi, stated that the summit was geared to reset the system, since policy makers in Nigeria had come to the realisation that the legal education system had declined geometrically.
Olawuyi said discussants at the event, which would be declared open by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, included the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu; Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Prof Abubakar Rasheed; and ABUAD founder, Aare Afe Babalola.