The statement entitled, ‘Non-recognition of the LL.B degree programme of the National Open University of Nigeria’ read, “The Council of Legal Education again announces for the benefit of the general public that the LL.B degree programme offered by the National Open University of Nigeria is not approved. This is an advertorial by the Council of Legal Education penultimate Tuesday.
“The policy of the statutory bodies responsible for the training and admission of aspirants to the Nigerian Bar, i.e. the Council of Legal Education and the Body of Benchers, is that the study of Law must be undertaken on a full time basis, in recognised institutions for the provision of undergraduate studies. This is also the position of the professional body of lawyers in Nigeria – The Nigerian Bar Association.
“Consequently, the regulatory bodies have long proscribed the study of Law through part time, distance learning or correspondence studies and it was in consequence of this that part time LL.B programmes run by the faculties of Law of accredited universities were abrogated. The position of the bodies has been that every aspirant to the legal profession must undertake an undergraduate study on a full time basis, in a recognised faculty of Law. This is because the study of Law transcends knowledge acquisition; it involves the moulding of future entrants into the Bar in learning, character and attitudes.
“The National Open University of Nigeria is not within the ambit of institutions envisaged by these bodies to offer a Law degree programme. Indeed, the NOUN has always been informed of this position; and its decision to commence and run the Law programme was in defiance of this policy.
“Any person, who undertakes the study of Law at the National Open University of Nigeria is to note that the qualification obtained is unacceptable for admission to the Nigerian Law School for the Bar vocational training.”
Whereas the resuscitation of the NOUN took place in 2001 after the military government shut the institution in 1984, its Law faculty came into operation in 2007. Yet, more than eight years after the birth of the institution’s School of Law, it has been a harvest of controversies surrounding the accreditation of the programme. The Chairman of the CLE, Chief Onueze Okocha (SAN), had hinted two years ago that there would be no admission for Law graduates of the university to the law school.
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