ASUU strike: Hundreds will miss law school as NLS begins new session

  • The children of commoners are the most affected — Don

Every year, hundreds of university law graduates from Nigeria and abroad apply to the Nigerian Law School (NLS) to study one of the prerequisites to become a lawyer.

Although not all are admitted to the school, but for those who are lucky, they must pass the required courses to become certified lawyers.

As is tradition, NLS issued a circular last week calling for applications for admission to the school for the October 2022/2023 academic session.

Admission is open to law graduates from Nigerian universities and overseas trained law graduates who have taken and passed the Bar Part 1 course at the Nigerian Law School.

Unfortunately, hundreds of law students from Nigerian universities who were scheduled to be scheduled in this set will miss the process due to the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

The recent five-month strike seems to have no end in sight as the federal government and the union have yet to find a compromise.

Meanwhile, some final year law students who spoke to the Daily Trust expressed disappointment with the system, saying they had been waiting a long time to graduate from university but for the relentless strikes.

A 500L law student, Musa Haruna Bawa, who was due to be at the Nigerian Law School in October this year but cannot due to the ongoing strike, said more than 300 of them will be absent.

“And only in BUK you can add the number of ABU, UDUS and other federal or state universities that have joined the strike,” he said.

He said that “the most disturbing and annoying part of the strike for me is when I and most of my colleagues saw the NLS circular for the candidates targeted.

“It became a subject of discussion between us. We are supposed to be in the NLS by September 2022, but unfortunately we missed it. Even if ASUU calls off the strike now, we cannot get to the NLS this session unless by the end of 2023 and to start by 2024 or thereabouts,” he said. .

Bawa recalled that the strike began a week before her first semester exams. “According to the practice of our school, as long as we are done with the first semester exams, we will not take a semester break but continue with our academic problems. And when general students are on break in the middle of the semester, we will start end-of-year exams to meet NLS guidelines for school application.

He said at the start of the two-week warning strike: “I was happy with it, because throughout the said weeks I did nothing but read my books in the hope that the strike might be completed within the stipulated weeks”.

“Unfortunately, two weeks have passed and ASUU has announced additional weeks,” he said, adding that he should keep all academics aside and stay focused on his day-to-day business, like plan B.

Bawa, however, expressed his confidence in what ASUU is doing as it is for the good of Nigerian students. “You can see many students taking classes on the floor without a working fan, air conditioning or heater when the weather is cool. Although they have their own interests, they prioritize ours over theirs.

He called on authorities to respond to ASUU’s demands and on President Muhammadu Buhari to keep his promise to bring teachers back to class.

For Yusuf Emiola, a final year undergraduate law student and director of the Bayero University Law Clinic, the ongoing ASUU strike has caused him a great deal of psychological, financial and emotional stress and strain.

Emiola, who started law school in 2016 hoping to graduate by 2021, unfortunately the relentless ASUU strike, which initially occurred in 2020, disrupted the academic calendar and it became impossible for him to graduate that year.

“I was about to start my 1st semester exam in February 2022 when this unfortunate strike started. Notice my matriculation year in Nigerian law school is 2022/2023 academic calendar which is due to start in October of this year (according to the circular published by the NLS).

“That, by implication, means that I and my other college colleagues will not be going to law school this year,” he lamented.

He said they automatically became juniors compared to their contemporaries at other institutions who would be eligible to enroll, adding that the legal profession is based on seniority, which is determined by the year of graduation. degree from the Nigerian Law School.

“My hope of becoming a lawyer before I turn 25 has vanished before my eyes and there is literally nothing I can do to save it. I just want both parties to be considerate in everything they do. Where two elephants are in conflict, it’s the grass below that suffers the most, and that’s what we’re dealing with right now,” he said.

“We want our lives back. Both parties must remember that millions of Nigerian lives are at stake whatever decisions they make,” urged Emiola.

According to him, in the legal clinic he runs, they regularly take up cases of indigent defendants, which they pursue in court through their pro bono lawyers.

“We had to deal with new cases but the ASUU strike made that impossible as most of our clinical law students come from various parts of Nigeria and they had to return home. Many innocent indigent people who depend on our services for justice are suffering from this strike,” he added.

He hopes that the strike will end soon to allow them to resume their business, as this is their way of contributing to the decongestion of prison establishments.

Another student, Halipa Magaji, said it is very unfortunate that education is reduced to such a state, which is capable of demoralizing many students, especially at tertiary level.

“We are grieving under the sadness of missing Law School Admission for 2022/2023 and if left unchecked, we may miss this academic session due to the ASUU indefinite strike,” said he declared.

“We were supposed to be the last group for the Bar ll final exam last year. If you recall, we spent nearly 11 months during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, which necessitated the suspension of academic activities and other day-to-day activities in general,” he said.

Magaji blamed the federal government for being negligent with the education sector and prioritizing political affairs over the public interest without knowing that students are among the people who brought them to power.

“We are very disappointed with the efforts of this government. We young people are willing and able to vote for those who would put our interests first and not their personal interests,” he added.

“Mr. President’s statements on the ASUU strike made it clear that he is unaware of the strike and is not prepared to meet their demand when they are entitled to everything or what they asked as officials,” he said.

While lamenting that the government is only focusing on lucrative sectors like oil and gas, aviation and others and abandoning the most vital sector, the education sector, he urged the federal government and ASUU to show compassion towards Nigerian students, especially those in public tertiary institutions. the six-month-old strike.

“It is a crushing problem that the government is spending huge sums to run its day-to-day affairs, political activities and even elections with an amount exceeding ASUU’s request,” he said.

Another student, Hauwa Ahmad Muhammad, said: “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the law school’s recently issued circular. The most painful aspect is that we are supposed to have graduated in 2021, but here we are in 2022 and even then there is no hope for us.

“Welcome to Nigeria, where your graduation year will be extended as you continue to age and where our government sets an age limit for employment,” she added.

She said that as things stand, she had no hope of becoming the kind of lawyer she set out to become, as she had no plans of her own now.

She said both parties shouldn’t just look at their own interests, “they should both put themselves in the shoes of our parents or guardians.”

“ASUU, on the one hand, should be realistic about the global economic situation; this is not the time for them to demand that all their needs be met.

While urging students to make good use of the time to read extensively, she appealed to law firms to encourage applications from law students for internships.

Reacting, a law professor at BUK, Nasiru Adamu Aliyu, said the ASUU strike was causing a lot of problems for Nigerian students who were supposed to be in law school.

Professor Aliyu, who also taught for 15 years at NLS, said admission to Bar II is not a waste as there are many backlogs and Bar 1 students, those who have studied abroad who have completed their own studies and perhaps those who have failed before. and also reapplied.

“The problem is that with those who have done Bar I and done the required courses, we cannot tell them to wait because the Nigerian students are not ready. The strike is causing problems for the children of the commoners because the elite children are the ones studying abroad,” he said.

He said another implication is that their companions would become their seniors in the profession.

Jon J. Epps