The Senate on Monday, said that it was not in any way trying to politicise legal education in the country by seeking for additional law school campuses.
Chairman Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Sen. Michael Bamidele made this known at a public hearing on three bills relating to legal matters at the upper chamber.
The Bills are “Legal Practitioners Act 2004 Repeal and Re-enacment Bill 2021; Legal Education (Consolidation, Etc) 2004 (Amendment) Bill 2021 and Legal Aid Council Act, 2021 (Amendment) Bill, 2021”.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Legal Education (Consolidation, Etc) Amendment Bill passed second reading in the upper chamber on Oct. 6.
The bill seeking additional law school campuses, was sponsored by Sen. Smart Adeyemi (APC-Kogi), aiming at ensuring that every law graduate has as an opportunity to pursue his or her career with ease.
The proposed additional campuses include Kabba Law School Campus, Kogi, North-central; Maiduguri Law School Campus, Borno, North-east.
Others are Argungu Law School Campus, Kebbi in North-west; Okija Law School Campus, Anambra in South-east; Orogun Law School Campus, Delta in South-south and Ilawe Law School Campus, Ekiti, South-west.
Some senators had argued that the move for the creation of more law school campuses would be politicised if caution was not taken.
Responding, Bamidele said that the senate was not trying to politicise legal education in the country.
“Legal education should not be politicized, I don’t think there is an attempt by anyone to politicise legal education. Members are expressing their opinion.
“Rivers was first offered to host a law school campus. It was because of the rejection that it ended up in Bayelsa.
“We are elected representatives of the people and even the council for legal education that we are talking about is under our oversight authority.”
Earlier, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu (PDP-Enugu) said that the law school was one of the most respected institutions in the country.
“So I feel sad that everybody is trying to politicise the law school. If there is a law school in Anambra or Borno or anywhere, it must be on need and not because of political consideration,” he said.
Sen. George Sekibo (PDP-Rivers) noted that Rivers was already hosting one of the campuses.
“What the Rivers State Government is doing is completely in agreement with the intendment and position of the bill.
“Sometime this year, the Governor of Rivers, haven seen the plight of Nigerians, who studied and were staying at home for several years before they gained admission to law school, wrote to the Council for Legal Education if they will accept an offer to give a campus of law school to Rivers.
“They responded. Today, it has been approved. We pray that the committee includes Port Harcourt as one of the campuses in this bill so when it will become an act, we don’t have to go through the process of asking to be included.
“At the time we look at this thing critically, we must be able to take a decision that the establishment of additional law school campuses should be left at the hands and discretion of the Council for Legal Education,” he said.
On his part, Sen. Kashim Shettima (APC-Borno), said, “I differ with Sen. Ekweremadu on stating that we are trying to politicise the issue.
“Gov. Nyesom Wike as controversial as he is, he has singlehandedly built a law school. He has added value by building a campus.
“Equity and justice demand that a law school should be established in Port Harcourt,” he said.
The Rivers Attorney-General, Prof. Zaccheus Adongo, said that, “this bill is quite unnecessary because creating law school is purely administrative.
“All that is required is for the council to determine when and where to establish law school on need assessment basis,” Adongo said.