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Fee Hike: Law Graduates Beg FG for Downward Review

Prospective candidates to the Nigerian Law School have appealed to the federal government to reverse the recent hike in tuition.

The Law graduates said the current hardship in the country necessitated by fuel subsidy removal and food shortage was enough reason for the government to direct the Council of Legal Education to reverse the hike in tuition in Law School.

Some Law graduates,who spoke to press on the development, said unless the government rescinds its decision by reversing the tuition hike,they may not participate in their one year mandatory Law School programme,given their financial backgrounds.

A graduate of the University of Nigeria,Nsuka,who identified himself as Okechukwu Daniel,told Vanguard in Abuja he is due to be in Law School by April this year, saying he may miss the opportunity if there was no downward review of the fee.

“I graduated since 2022 but just got the nod to proceed  to the Law School in April.  And with the recent high in fee,where am I going to get the money (almost 500,000 ) from,given my parents’ current financial status? The 23-year old who lives with his parents in Abuja asked.

“I appeal to the federal government through the Minister of Education,to prevail on the Council of Legal Education which is responsible for Law School education,to intervene by directing the reversal of the fee to old amount,”he said.

Also speaking,Mr Adam Solomon,who told Vanguard he graduated from the University of Jos,in 2021,said if the federal government was really interested in ameliorating peoples sufferings following the ongoing hardships,then reduction of fees must be seriously taken into account among others things.

“I use this opportunity to beg the government to help us because some of us cannot afford almost N500,000 to pay the fee in Law School. My father who retired from the federal civil service where he worked for 35 years,is yet to be paid his gratuity. My mother who would have taken care of me in a time like this is is not strong enough to be going to the market where she does her business. Unless government assists, someone like me may  not go to the Law School given the new hike,”he said.

In another development,Law graduates of Cross River State origin,have sent a Save-Our- Souls letters to prominent sons and daughters of the state, seeking financial assistance to pursue their education at the Nigerian Law School.

The students, numbering 52,in the letters they dispatched to the state’s prominent citizens, including the governor,Bassey Otu,some copies of which were sighted by Vanguard in Abuja, explained that they were “currently facing financial constraints that impede our ability to sponsor ourselves.”

The graduates, operating under the aegis of Coalition of Cross River Law Graduates, in the letters,titled:”Urgent Appeal for Financial Support:Law School Education “,signed by their Chairman,Egba Victor Emmanuel; Secretary,Ofana Patrick Agbaka; Provost,Daphne Eluwa Emereze and Treasurer,Agatha Ogenye, respectively, described their pursuit of legal education as a matter of significant importance

The letter read:”We write to seek your assistance regarding a matter of significant importance: our pursuit of legal education.

“As dedicated students striving to achieve academic excellence, we are currently facing financial constraints that impede our ability to sponsor ourselves.

“The challenging economic climate has made it particularly difficult for us to cover essential

expenses such as law school fees (standing at four hundred and seventy-six thousand naira only), textbooks, laptops, and other educational necessities.

“While we acknowledge the numerous challenges our state is grappling with, we firmly believe that investing in our education is paramount for the prosperity and well-being of our society.

“By supporting us, you not only empower individuals to pursue their dreams but also contribute to the growth and development of our state.

“We kindly request your assistance in exploring any available resources or programs that could help alleviate our financial burden, whether through grants, bursaries, or other forms of financial aid.

“Any support you provide would make a significant difference in our ability to continue our education without undue hardship.

“We assure you of our commitment to our studies and our determination to make a positive impact in our community and state at large.

“With your help, we are confident that we can overcome this obstacle and fulfill our academic potential.

“The law school resumption date is set for the 24th of April 2024. We eagerly await your response and remain hopeful for a positive outcome.”

Recall that the House of Representatives,in a resolution following a motion to that effect two weeks ago,had urged the Council of Legal Education to immediately halt the increase in Nigerian Law School fees.

The House  also directed its Tertiary Education and Services Committees “to explore solutions to the issue at hand and report back within two weeks for further legislative action, as time is of the essence.”

The development was sequel to a resolution following a motion sponsored by Hon Kingsley Chinda (PDP Rivers) whose absence on the day of consideration necessitates Hon. Obinna Chinda to stand in for him.

Leading the debate on the motion titled, “Need to check the 60 percent increase in the Nigerian Law School Fees”,Obinna called the attention of the House to the fact that “Nigeria is currently facing a 27.33 percent inflation rate, as reported by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, which is projected by trade economics to rise to 30 percent by December 2024.”

He informed his colleagues that the Council of Legal Education “has approved a 60% increase in Nigerian law school fees from N296,000.00 to N476,000.00 for the 2023-2024 Bar Part II academic session.”

He warned that unless prompt action was taken, the fee increase would have a severe impact on students attending the Nigerian Law School.

Recall also that the Nigerian Law School had in a circular to the students admitted to the Law School in Abuja for the 2023/2024 session,hiked its tuition fee to N476,00 from N296,000.

The Director-General of the Nigerian Law School, Isah Chiroma, signed the circular which showed almost a 200 percent increase in tuition of the school from around N296,000 to N476,000.

The hike in the tuition fee came amid economic hardship caused by the removal of the petrol subsidy under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Tinubu had, on May 29, 2023, announced, in his inaugural speech, the removal of the subsidy on petroleum products.

He cited budgetary concerns as the basis of his decision. He revealed the desire of his government to channel the funds towards public infrastructure and improving lives.

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