By Henry Umoru
THE Senate has begun moves to ensure that all the Nigerian Law Schools are beneficiaries of Education tax funds with the amendment of Tertiary Education Trust Fund Act 2007.
Consequently, the Senate has come up with ” A bill for an Act to amend the Tertiary Education Trust Fund Act 2007.”
The Bill Scaled second reading yesterday in the Senate.
In his lead debate on the bill, Senator Micheal Opeyemi Bamidele, APC Ekiti Central, sponsor of said that the bill which was read for the first time on the floor of the Senate on Thursday, 28th May, 2020, seeks to amend sections 4, 7 and 20 of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Establishment, Etc.) Act, 2011 (hereinafter referred to as the “principal Act”)
He said that amendment also seeks to add the Nigerian Law School, as one of the benefiting tertiary institutions in Nigeria, for the purpose of disbursement of education tax, under the Act.
According to him, the Bill seeks specifically to amend section 4 of the principal Act by inserting “the Nigerian Law School”, as one of the Tertiary Institutions, to benefit from the interventions of the TETFUND.
Senator Bamidele said, “Mr President, Distinguished Colleagues; by way of a proper context and historical basis for the proposed amendment, it is imperative to state here that the Report of the Unsworth Committee on Legal Education, which recommended the establishment of an indigenous law school for the vocational training of aspiring legal practitioners in Nigeria, conceived the Nigerian Law School, as a tertiary institution with the sole mandate of bridging the gap between academic study of law in Nigerian or foreign universities, and the practical application of the law.
“Based on this, it therefore becomes incumbent on the Nigerian Law School to ensure that students adapt their academic knowledge to the conditions of practice by introducing them to the practical skills and techniques of legal practice.
“There is no gainsaying that the Nigerian Law School is the only institution responsible for vocational training of lawyers in Nigeria. Undoubtedly, it is saddled with a critical statutory responsibility bearing in mind that lawyers play leading roles in the socio-economic condition of the country.
” Perhaps, Lawyers, as judges, in private or corporate practice, in the academics or in government, immensely shape the society and the lives of their fellow human beings. It should be emphasised that over five decades, since the establishment of the Nigerian Law School, the Institution which commenced operation in January 1963 with only 8 Students at its mono-campus in Lagos, has since expanded rapidly into a multi-campus Law School, with its headquarters now in Bwari, Abuja and Five (5) other campuses in Lagos, Enugu Kano, Bayelsa, and Yola.
“Mr President, Distinguished Colleagues; the expansion of the Nigeria Law School from its former mono-campus system to the present multi-campus law school, was necessitated by the increasing demand for space at the school.
“This inevitable expansion, of course, has its attendant challenges such as increasing demand for befitting learning facilities including lecture halls, E- Library and ICT deployment in the multiple –campuses to enhance learning, provision of hostel accommodation and other infrastructural facilities suitable for effective training of globally competitive lawyers in Nigeria. Indeed, the training of the 21st century lawyer is becoming more and more expensive hence the need for this Distinguished Senate to consider the inclusion of the Nigerian Law school, as one of the tertiary institutions to benefit from the infrastructural intervention projects of TETFUND, which is the main thrust of this amendment.”