Senate denies ‘politicising’ legal education, says Rivers rejected an offer to host law school campus

Michael Bamidele, chairman of the senate committee on judiciary, says there are no plans to “politicise” legal education in the country.

A bill seeking the establishment of law school campuses in Kabba (Kogi), Maiduguri (Borno), Argungu (Kebbi), Okija (Anambra), Orogun (Delta) and Ifaki (Ekiti), passed second reading at the senate on October 6.

The bill is sponsored by Smart Adeyemi, senator representing Kogi west.

Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers, had alleged that members of the senate were trying to politicise the bill for selfish interests.

He had also alleged that the senate is trying to “frustrate” the efforts of the state to establish a law school in Port Harcourt, the Rivers capital.

However, speaking at a public hearing on the matter on Monday, Bamidele said Rivers state had previously rejected the offer to host a law school campus, which prompted the move of the facility to Bayelsa state.

“Legal education should not be politicised. I don’t think there is an attempt by anyone to politicise legal education. Members are expressing their opinion,” he said.

“Rivers was first offered to host a law school campus. It was because of the rejection that it ended up in Bayelsa.

“We are elected representatives of the people and even the council for legal education that we are talking about is under our oversight authority.”

On his part, George Sekibo, senator representing Rivers east senatorial district, said his state should be included on the list for additional law school campuses.

“What the Rivers state government is doing is completely in agreement with the intendment and position of the bill,” he said.

“Sometime this year, the governor of Rivers, haven seen the plight of Nigerians who studied and were staying at home for several years before they gained admission to law school, wrote to the council for legal education if they will accept an offer to give a campus of law school to Rivers.

“They responded. Today, it has been approved. We pray that the committee includes Port Harcourt as one of the campuses in this bill so when it will become an act, we don’t have to go through the process of asking to be included.

“At the time we look at this thing critically, we must be able to take a decision that the establishment of additional law school campuses should be left at the hands and discretion of the council for legal education.”

On his part, Kashim Shettima, senator representing Borno central, described Wike as a “controversial” person, but said the establishment of a law school in Rivers is in the interest of promoting development.

“Nyesom Wike, as controversial as he is, has singlehandedly built a law school. He has added value by building a campus,” he said.

“Equity and justice demand that a law school should be established in Port Harcourt.”

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