The Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters has endorsed the Dr. Nabo Graham Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
It said the campus has come to stay.
The committee gave the endorsement yesterday after inspecting construction work on the campus as part of its oversight function.
Members of the committee were conducted round the project site by Governor Nyesom Wike.
Committee Chairman Michael Opeyemi Bamidele said the senators were impressed by the work already done on the project.
He said: “And we are really excited about this for the future of the legal profession, which is our own primary constituency, because ours is a committee where virtually all members are lawyers and members of this profession.
“It was important for us to come here because we are not going to just write any report and take any decision based on sentiment. I mean, this is a nonpartisan legislative action.”
Bamidele noted that Rivers State was boldly setting a high standard for legal education in the country.
The committee chairman noted that the construction of the Port Harcourt Campus of the Nigerian Law Scholl was creating many jobs that would be beneficial to the people in the long run.
Hosting the committee members at the Government House in Port Harcourt, Wike decried the poor conditions of existing Law School campuses.
He said: “Most of us attended the Nigerian Law School in Lagos. Even at that time, it was not easy to have accommodation within the Law School. But at least, we were able to attend classes. So, it is reasonable for everybody to say there is need to increase the carrying capacity. But that must be done with objectivity; that must be done with facts; that must not be done by sentiment.”
Wike recalled that two years ago when he attended the Call to Bar ceremony on the Abuja campus of the Nigerian Law School, he was appalled by the decrepit infrastructure in the school.
The governor said the situation spurred his administration to build 900-bed hostels and 1,500-capacity auditorium for students on the Yenagoa Campus as well as initiate the ongoing construction of a new campus in Port Harcourt.
He said: “From the record I’ve checked, they’ve (Nigerian Law School) never got more than N61 million to fund the Law School yearly. And I made a special appeal for support to the Council of Legal Education to rehabilitate the campus in Abuja, and the Director General said no, we have more problems in Yenagoa, leave Abuja. You’ll never allow your slave to attend the campus in Yenagoa.
“I want to thank the DG for being a true Nigerian. As I speak to you today, the Rivers State government is investing not less than N5.1 billion in the Yenagoa campus. What is our interest? Our interest is to contribute to the development of legal education in Nigeria.”
Wike said based on the Federal Government’s inability to sufficiently fund the Nigerian Law School, any state government that desires to have a campus should approach the Council of Legal Education for approval.
The governor explained that the construction of Nabo Graham Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School in Port Harcourt will cost the Rivers State government N16 billion.