Law Students from the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) have expressed misgivings over the decision by the Nigerian Law School and the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) to deny them admission into Law Schools.
The students made their grievances known during a discussion with lawyers and groups supporting the perceived denial. It took place when the Law Society of the Port Harcourt Study Centre of the National Open University swore in new Executives Committee as part of the centre’s 2013 Law Week Celebration.
The out-going President of the centre’s Law Society, Livingstone Wechie, in his hand-over note to the incoming Daniel Ejii, said it was unjustifiable and negates essence of the open varsity system to deny its law students the benefit of passing through law school at the completion of their regular studies.
“That is automatically saying we can’t be lawyers because if we are not allowed into the Law School, we cannot be called to bar. If we are not called to bar, we can’t be regarded as lawyers after facing same examinations, same study experience and course exposure as the conventional university law students.
Wechie, who is also Rivers Spokesperson for the Civil Liberties Organization, added, “I am yet to see what regulation of the Law School, NUC or the open varsity system forbids us going to law school. I also ignore personal statements as those recently credited to Ex-NBA officer, OCJ Okocha, boasting that open varsity graduates will never go to Law School. We will fight to any length. It is a right we cannot be denied.
In his reaction, C. U. Mmuozoba of the Nigerian Law School, Enugu Campus, assured the students of his full backing to ensure that every law graduate of the open varsity who successfully completes his programme isadmitted to Law School.
Mmuosoba, who spoke on ‘Legal Education In New Age’, on the occasion, however, explained that, “It is not that the Nigerian Law School is averse to admitting open varsity graduates. What the lingering problem is, is about relevant stakeholders not having been able to put the enabling structures in place at the open varsities.
“It is unfair for Open University to take your money, make you spend years gaining legal knowledge and say they you cannot go to Law School. Iam fully behind you, but you have to be civil in your agitation. No violence”,he told the law students.
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