The Body of Benchers (BoB) yesterday cautioned the National Assembly against aiding the proliferation of Law School campuses. BoB Chairman, Wole Olanipekun (SAN) gave the advice while admitting 4,691 new lawyers at the Call to Bar ceremony in Abuja.
He said: “May we plead with the National Assembly to stop toying with the idea of promulgating laws or amending the Legal Practitioners Act to pave the way for the proliferation of Law School campuses, particularly, around the neighbourhoods of some lawmakers.
“It is within the exclusive prerogative of the Council of Legal Education in consultation with the Body of Benchers to establish new Law School campuses. “While I do not question the jurisdiction of the National Assembly to make laws as appropriate, Law School campuses cannot be established without clearance from the Council of Legal Education. “What we need now is the improvement and upgrading of the existing Law School campuses, using the newly inaugurated Graham Douglas Law School Campus, Port Harcourt, built and equipped by the Rivers State Government as a model. I dare say that it is the best in the country for now.” He urged the new wigs to always uphold the ethics of the profession and desist from acts that could portray the profession in a bad light.
He urged senior lawyers to improve the welfare of junior lawyers and spoke of plans to mentor new lawyers nationwide through a mentoring committee of the BoB headed by J. K. Gadzama (SAN). Olanipekun urged judges to be lenient with young lawyers, saying: “To our noble judges, before whom these young ones will start appearing, please be patient with them and exercise your awesome owners to commit sparingly.” Speaking on the activities of the BoB, Olanipekun said the body is not an appendage of the Federal Government, or any government, institution, or agency.
“It is an independent and autonomous body, and its meetings, affairs and decisions are not influenced by any power or authority whatsoever,” he added The Nigerian Law School Director General, Isa Ciroma (SAN) said that new lawyers completed the vocational training at the Nigerian Law School as prescribed by the Legal Education Act 1962. He said the new lawyers are those who emerged successful at the August/ September 2022 Bar Final Examination. He said out of a total of 5,802 students who participated in the exams, 4691 emerged successful representing 80.81%. The breakdown of the results showed that 119 students came out with 1st Class; 789 with 2nd Class Upper; 2, 460, 2nd Class Lower; and 1, 323 came out with Pass; while students were from the last exam.