The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke on Monday called for the reform of the judiciary to start at the legal education level.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Council of legal education, Mr Adoke said that if these fundamental reforms are not implemented in earnest, the legal profession may continue to suffer serious decline and loss its pride of place in the affairs of the country.
The Minister urged members of the Council to ensure that the necessary restructuring and organization of the legal education sector is put in place. He said the vision of the Council should be to promote the Nigeria legal system until it is at par with the international standard.
“We must produce lawyers capable of providing manpower needs of the country in the emerging fields of law and technology,” Mr Adoke said.
He said that the Council should brace itself to be able to train lawyers on E-commerce, cybercrime, biotechnology and space law.
“Our lawyers must also be equipped to prosecute complex international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, organised crimes such as human trafficking and child labour,” the attorney general said.
The need to reform the legal education was also of concern to both the Director General of the Nigeria law school, Tahiru Manmman and the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Joseph Daudu.
Both Misters Manmman and Daudu agreed that the laws guiding the legal education in Nigeria need to be updated to reflect the demands of the time.
“Law itself is very archaic and a lot of things there are obstructions to good governance and good administration both in the council and in the Nigeria Law School; so some of the provisions of the law need to be looked at,” Mr Manmman said.
“The NBA sent three bills to the Senate and not with a mind-set but with a foresight that changes are needed and changes are necessary to bring up the quality of legal education in this country,” Mr Dauda said.
The council has a mandate to ensure quality legal education in tertiary institutions and the Chairman of the Council, Onueze Okocha promised that the Council will do its best to achieve its objectives.
Mr Okocha called for the amend mention of the laws governing the council.
“The short preliminary discussion that I’ve had with the Director General of the Law School, I pointed out to him that there were few areas we needed to consult with the Honourable Attorney General and Minister of Justice to see if the law can be fine-tuned,” he said.
The reason for the fine-tuning according to Mr Okocha will be to address “some areas that are still hazy, some questions that are still doubtful from the provisions of the status are properly clarified.”
The Council of legal education is a statutory body charged with the responsibility of ensuring standards in the teaching and learning of legal education.