By Ernest Ojukwu, SAN
Legal Education in Nigeria: A Chronicle of Reforms and Transformation Under Tahir Mamman written by Ernest Ojukwu and published in 2013 is a case study of change that tells the story of opportunities to transform legal education in Nigeria.
We can trace the history of legal education to about 1962 when the first indigenous law faculties and the Nigerian Law School were established. In spite of deafening calls for many years for reform of legal education in Nigeria, not much was done except that the National Universities Commission introduced a uniform law programme in 1990.
The calls for reforms continued thereafter. The reason for establishing the Nigerian Law School in 1962 was simply to have local content in the preparation of applicants for the call to the Nigerian Bar. After this goal was achieved, the Council of Legal Education and the Nigerian Law School made no attempt to set legal education goals or professional goals for its training programme for 45 years.
Professor. Tahir Mamman as Director-General of Nigerian Law School made the first real attempt to set in motion a process to discuss reforms of legal education at the Nigerian Law School. The Legal Education Review Committee that was set up by the Council of Legal Education based on this impetus for reforms submitted its report in 2007. The report stated as follows:
“This is the first review of the curriculum and delivery of legal education by the Nigerian Law School since the Unsworth Committee recommended its establishment in 1961. Although the review, coming some 45 years after the creation of the school is belated in the history of Legal Education in Nigeria, it is a welcome development and we hope the Council of Legal Education will consider our recommendations critically.
This report by our committee provides the Council of Legal Education with a rare opportunity to change the face of legal education in Nigeria and particularly to upgrade the products of our Law School for the betterment of the legal profession and Nigeria in general.”