Why FG sacked law school DG, 6 others

BY IKECHUKWU NNOCHIRI

…NOUN operates illegal law faculties
ABUJA—The Council of Legal Education, Tuesday, adduced reasons why President Goodluck Jonathan, sacked the Director-General of the Nigerian Law School, Dr Tahir Mamman and his six deputies.

The Council which made the disclosure on a day it declared all the law faculties operated by the National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN, illegal, maintained that the tenure of the sacked law school officials had since elapsed.

It will be recalled that Dr Mamman was reportedly sacked by President Jonathan sequel to the recommendation of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN.

Others affected by the recommendation included the Deputy-Directors of the six law schools in the country located in Lagos, Enugu, Kano, Yenagoa and Yola.

Meanwhile, the DG who had already spent five years in office contrary to his four year contract has been permitted to retain his position till December.

Addressing newsmen after a meeting with members of the Council and the embattled DG of the Law School, Mamman, had with the AGF , yesterday, Chairman of the Council and former National President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Chief O.C.J Okocha, SAN, harped on the need for an urgent amendment of the existing law governing the administration of the Law School which he said made no clear-cut provision for tenure of the School’s DG.

He decried that hitherto, the tenure of both the DG and his deputies were fixed through policy direction of the Council, saying, “we felt in this present Council that it was not a tidy arrangement. Some have been in the position since 11 years ago and some have been there for longer than necessary.

“As you all may be aware, the Council of Legal Education and the Nigerian Law School were duly established pursuant to the provisions of the Legal Education Act, No 12, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1962. The said Act has since undergone several amendments, the last of which emanated the Legal Education (Consolidation, Etc) Act, Cap. L10, which is the current existing law on the provisions relating to the composition of the Council of Legal Education and the Nigerian Law School.

“Outputs from the Nigerian Law School presently exceed five thousand legal practitioners per year. This is quite commendable in itself, but we have had worries about the quality of such legal practitioners.

“This year, and by the special grace of the Almighty and Eternal God, the Nigerian Law School will clock fifty years and we have today, duly sought and obtained the kind approval of the Attorney-General to arrange a suitable celebration of this landmark achievement.

“It is pertinent to mention at this press conference that, as duly approved by the AGF, who is by law entitled to give to the Council, directions of a general character with regard to the exercise of its functions, the Council and the Nigerian Law School are currently in the process of restructuring and re-organization, in order to secure the effective discharge of their statutory mandate.”

He said the process will occasion an amendment of the existing Act with a view to making specific provision for the appointment, tenure, duties and responsibilities of the Law School DG, as well as, ensure that only the Council “shall be entitled to approve and accredit Faculties of Law in Nigerian Universities, and also recognize LL.B. Degrees awarded by Faculties of Law or other such bodies in Universities and other Law Degree awarding institutions outside Nigeria.”

Meanwhile, the Council, yesterday, warned those studying law in the National Open University, NOUN, to forthwith seek transfer to Universities with accredited law faculties, insisting that no graduate of the institution will be allowed to attend the Law School.

“We have published in the Newspapers, all the Universities that have genuine law faculties. There are certain requirements that every Law faculty needs to fulfilled certain infrastructural facilities to be put in place and NOUN has not met those criteria.  You cannot have someone that knows nothing in law teaching law students.

“Anybody who is hoping that some backdoor can be opened for their students from unaccredited law faculties to go to the law school is wasting their time, money and energy. Nobody will bend the rules and any Degree obtained from such institution will not be recognized.”

On his part, the embattled Law School DG, Dr Mamman who supported the call for law students at NOUN to seek transfer, added: “The fact is that if such person wants to have an acquaintance with the law, fair enough. But if such person wants to become a legal practitioner in Nigeria, then the person must go to the approved institutions.”

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