NOUN vs Law School: Another imminent chaos, By Gibson
By O.O. GIBSON
The unprecedented lingering tussle between NOUN and the CLE is about to degenerate into another protest in Abuja, the seat of power and focus of the world.
National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) made this public in May, 2018, when it gave the Federal government three months ultimatum to resolve the matter to allow the innocent law graduates proceed to the Nigerian Law School for the mandatory vocational training in view of enrolment to the bar for legal practice.
The three months ultimatum is about to elapse and nothing seems to have been done by the relevant stakeholders to resolve the matter as anticipated.
Sequel to the above, the students’ body reiterated its earlier position and declared a mass protest in two phases; commencing from 27th to 31st August and 1st October, 2018 respectively. Independence Day is unique to all Nigerians and even to our famous then colonial nation (Great Britain). A day set aside for reminiscence, proclamations and hopes for all citizens to celebrate with passion.
The issue at hand is too trivial to expose Nigeria to international ridicule on that beautiful day; hence the need for immediate resolution to save the country from embarrassment.
The ODL (Open and Distance Learning) is practiced globally without controversies over admission into law School except in Nigeria; the giant of Africa. Ridiculously, Nigerian students that studied through ODL mode in foreign countries are cheered and admitted into the Nigerian Law School by CLE.
NANS as the umbrella body of all Nigerian students and future leaders needs to be listened and hearken to for its justifiable stand behind NOUN law graduates. For quite long, the nation has not experienced NANS mass action and it will be very bad for it to resurface at such critical time politics is already heating up the system, and also when we have relative tranquillity and smooth academic activities in the country.
NANS intervention is a moral obligation and show of solidarity to colleagues being maltreated and oppressed to extinction and for this reason, it boldly expressed that “an injury to one student is an injury to all Nigerian students” which must be resisted. The above position of NANS was duly endorsed by the Equity and Social Justice Initiative (ESJI), a non-governmental organization. In its words, the executive Chairman, Mr. Shuaib Umar said “Without mincing words, it is terribly disgraceful that innocent Nigerian youths were subjected to such stretched hardship and ridicules. “ this is for doing nothing wrong but incarcerated for their hard work and brilliance, thus a vendetta against virtues”.
A thorough appraisal of NANS intervention and solidarity with NOUN law graduates is similar to that of Nigeria’s solidarity with South Africa against colonization, oppression and discrimination meted out to the people by the then colonial masters during the apartheid era. It is indeed regrettable that for five years, the NOUN law graduates maintained calm and patiently relied on the promises of various stakeholders which turned out to be nothing but gimmicks.
Despite the pains and frustrations, they did not resort to chaos but depicted high sense of humility and approached the three arms; Judiciary, Executive and Legislative arms of the government to intervene in the their plights. The court after due consideration referred the matter to the academia for amicable resolution which was not given the desired attention.
The National Assembly which enacted the establishment law ended up amending the university’s act with a view to improving the institution. The bill is yet to be assented to believably as a delay tactics.
The vulnerable innocent graduates are now at the mercy of the Executive arm of government, considering the fact that all the stakeholders are under the arm that also established the university alongside managing it. The countless appeals and presently notice of mass protest by the NANS shouldn’t be neglected in view of proactive security. Otherwise, the usual reactionary security after deeds were done with monumental losses may become the lot again.
Federal government and its relevant agencies on education including the Council of Legal Education should give the pressing issues a serious thought without further delays. Obviously, citizens that applied for admission in a government’s institution established by an Act of the National Assembly cannot justifiably be issued deficient certificates after strictly complying with the curriculum outlined the National Universities Commission (NUC) like their counterparts from other universities. The delay tactics, gimmicks, scheming and deceptions must stop forthwith.
Interestingly, pursuant to section 4 of the Legal Education (Consolidation, etc) Act, the Attorney-General of the Federation may give the Council directions of a general character with regard to the exercise by the Council of its functions and it shall be the duty of the Council to comply with such directions.
In view of the above, it will be honourable for the Minister to exercise his powers to avert the eminent chaos as prevention they say, is better than cure.
Gibson writes from Benue. Mobile: 08036914385