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Future is bright for legal profession –Law School D-G

What are you doing to improve the quality of graduates from the NLS?There has been concern expressed in many quarters about the quality of lawyers…

What are you doing to improve the quality of graduates from the NLS?
There has been concern expressed in many quarters about the quality of lawyers we turn out. One of the areas of concern of the management of the NLS and the Council of Legal Education (CLE) is to improve standard. Our mandate is to provide bar vocational trainings for law graduates to enable them become legal practitioners and we believe that every legal practitioner produced by the NLS must possess sufficient lawyering skills and there are a number of things being done in the last eight months and more is still to be done. I have no doubt that we are going to achieve success but you may not see it yet. It will take a year or so when our products start going out, the end users and others will then be able to appreciate the changes we are talking about.
Ethics has been reintroduced as a full-fledged subject and that is very key to our profession. A lawyer must acquaint himself well both in learning and character and that has been an area of concern. Stakeholders complain about falling standard in ethics amongst our lawyers. The immediate NBA President, Mr. Okey Wali SAN, would describe himself as the president during whose tenure there was the largest number of disbarment of lawyers – those who were struck off the list of lawyers for improper conduct after due process and that is ongoing. Now, every lawyer knows that if he steps out of line he is going to be sanctioned.
We are ensuring the infusion of the profession into our training module that only inure to the advantage of the student and enhance the quality of our products. In a structured manner we are infusing senior members of the profession with expertise in various areas into our training module. They will come in and provide more flesh into what we have taught  in house on the practical side of those areas and do it by way of presentation and in an interactive mode thereafter.
To ensure that we have uniformity all round, we are in advanced discussion with the NIGCOMSAT to provide us with video conferencing facilities for our campuses with which we can reach all our campuses at the same time. So if we are having a session in one campus say in Yola, other campuses will be linked as that presentation will be run simultaneously. The fellow speaking in Yola would be seen all over and students will form part of the interaction thereafter with him. So rather than each campus doing it separately, all the students in all campuses would have met with him, albeit physical to some and not physical to others. And we are inviting members of the profession – the bar, the bench and even industries and the responses have been good.  
What in your opinion is the future for the legal profession?
The future is very bright for the legal profession. Law graduates of today are better exposed than in our time. They have greater access to knowledge. If they apply themselves positively, the sky is the limit. I will advise that they should read. One of the things we discovered recently is that students don’t read. Many of them are interested in walking narrowly to an answer; you need to read and it is affecting practice too. How many lawyers now read the cases they cite in court? Practice of law is very dynamic and I advise students to take advantage of availability of knowledge worldwide to equip themselves for the 21 century legal practice especially in emerging areas in the practice of law to which the world is going. Many lawyers in Nigeria are already retraining themselves to fit well into practice and I will advise lawyers to engage in continuous legal education at home and abroad. I also want to encourage our universities to do more in the area of communication skills for students before graduating. The use of English in the perfect way appears to be on the wane.  
Are NOUN graduates admitted into the Nigeria Law School now?
The NLS, the BOB, CLE and other stakeholders have determined that the study of law should be undertaken in a proper institutional setting to equip those studying law with both legal and moral skills necessary for practice of law and that is why they came up with this policy and it is communicated orally and it’s on our portal and I believe NOUN was aware of this. Why it continued along the course it is pursuing I don’t know but certainly we don’t have recognition for the study of law outside those prescribed by the council and the BOB.
You cannot study Medicine, or Engineering or Pharmacy by correspondence, the regulatory bodies of all professions determine how entrants can come into it and when those bodies set up by law have made the prescription, I do not believe that such prescriptions should be flouted by any one so that is the position as of now for our profession.
Parents have expressed concern over the Kano and Yola campuses, how do you re-assure them?
We need to get to the basics. The federal government is responsible for security in Nigeria. There is no basis whatsoever to assume that the government would not alert the citizens if need be and that is what it has been doing. In Adamawa State in particular, there is no dislocation of life or any form of social imbalance that has affected the society. There have been reports of activities of insurgents here and there in Adamawa in some fringe areas but generally speaking, life and properties are safe. I was there recently and everything is normal; likewise in Kano. So really there is no reason for alarm.
I have heard some parents express some anxiety, understandably so because every parent would naturally react whenever things like this happen but there is really no basis for thinking of closing our campuses or any relocation of students. In Yola the next door to us is the American University with which we share a fence and life is going on properly.
Of course we are mindful of the reality of the security concern and we are doing our own probabilities to ensure that we safeguard as much as possible the lives and property of our staff and students.
How many projects have been executed after the fund raising at the 50th anniversary celebration?
The 50th anniversary planning committee has now transformed into a committee that will ensure the fulfillment of pledges and promises that were made. I am also a member. The committee oversees the implementation and redemption of pledges. It is headed by Mr. Dele Oye. The Class of 86 made a pledge of building a complex at the headquarters and we have realised a chunk of that and I believe that before this year ends that project should get going. Likewise in other campuses, we have Kano and some redemption in Lagos. The renovation of the Sir Adetokunbo Ademola Hall is going on, in Enugu and Yenegoa.
Of note is the fulfillment of a pledge made by the Katsina State government at the headquarters. There is a 250 bedroom hostel going on now promised by the Katsina State government which has made good its promise. We are hopeful that the job would be completed next year. It’s an ongoing thing and further promises are coming up to; we are doing well in that area.

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