Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to disregard sentiments in establishing more campuses of the Nigerian Law School.
Wike stated this when members of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, led by its chairman, Sen. Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House in Port Harcourt.
Wike said approval for any new campus of the Nigerian Law School in the country should be based on needs assessment and not on political sentiment.
He noted that with the paucity of funds to the Nigerian Law School by the Federal Government, States with capacity to build new campuses of the institution should be encouraged to do so based on the model provided by the Council of Legal Education.
The Governor explained that due to the current insufficient carrying capacity of the Nigerian Law School, there had been clamour for proliferation of more campuses across the country, but cautioned that this must not be done on the basis of political sentiment.
Wike stated that two years ago when he attended the call to bar ceremony at the Abuja campus of the Nigerian Law School, he was appalled by the decrepit infrastructure in the school.
According to him, this was what spurred the Rivers State Government to build 900-bed space hostels and 1,500 capacity auditorium for students in Yenagoa campus, and then, the subsequent construction of a new campus in Port Harcourt.
“From the record I checked, Nigerian Law School has never gotten more than N61 million to fund the Law School yearly. And I made a special appeal to support to 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. And I want to thank the DG for being a true Nigerian. As I speak to you today, Rivers State government is investing not less than N5.1 billion on the Yenagoa campus. What is our interest? Our interest is to contribute to the development of legal education in Nigeria,” he said.
Wike suggested that 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.
“I will appeal, in solving this carrying capacity problem, let’s not also create other problems. It is a professional school and so we must be guided. If any state wants to have a Law School there must be a model,” he said.
Wike 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.
He said that everything that is supposed to be in a Law School will be in the Port Harcourt campus when completed early next year.
The Governor also disclosed that once the project is completed and handed over to the Council of Legal Education, the State government will also provide subvention to the Council to run the campus for the next four years.
In his speech, Sen. Bamidele, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, said they were in the State to assess the progress of work at the Port Harcourt campus of the Nigerian Law School.
Bamidele commended Gov. Wike for his intervention to build a befitting campus of the Nigerian Law School in Rivers State.