“The Faculty is accredited by the National Universities Commission and the Council of Legal Education. The Faculty parades scholars both within and outside Nigeria with vast experience in diverse areas of law.”
This is clearly stated on the Faculty of Law page of Redeemer’s University’s official website as of January 11, 2024, just six days after law graduates of the institution took to X to complain about the school’s inability to get them into the Nigerian Law School (NLS).
The Nigerian Law School, established in 1962, is a compulsory phase all aspiring lawyers must pass through if they hope to practise law in Nigeria. According to an official announcement signed in 2023 by Mrs Max-Uba, Secretary and Director of Administration to the Council of Legal Education, only candidates whose data was forwarded to the Nigerian Law School by deans of their respective faculties are eligible to apply.
To be eligible to attend the Nigerian Law School, you must be a graduate of law from an accredited university in Nigeria or other common law countries. The registrar or faculty dean of your university must forward the transcript of your qualifying law degree, showing the subjects taken and grades obtained, directly to the Nigerian Law School.
On Wednesday, March 15, 2023, the National Universities Commission (NUC) granted full accreditation status to the LL.B Law Programme of the Faculty of Law, Redeemer’s University, in a release communicated to the university management. This was five months after they’d released their first set of law graduates in October 2022. The official NUC website shows that the university received an interim accreditation in 2020 and full accreditation in 2022, which they have to renew in 2027.
At the time, the then Dean of the Faculty, Prof. O. B. Akinola thanked the management and Redeemer’s law students for the success of the accreditation exercise which was held in November 2022. However — according to multiple threads of complaints on X — since then, two sets of graduates of Redeemer’s Bachelor of Law (LL.B.) programme have been denied admission to the Nigerian Law School (NLS).
The graduates revealed on X that the university had always given them the impression that the programme was accredited from as far as 2017 when they were admitted. But no concerns were raised until they couldn’t get into law school months after graduation.
“After convocation in October 2022, no one communicated anything to us. We were just left hanging. Most of us decided to go for our service year when nothing was forthcoming from the management. There’s been no apology or information about where we stand. No one has thought it wise to communicate formally with us since 2022,” one of the graduates shared her experience with Zikoko.
She revealed that although students were rushed during their final exams in 2022, they still hadn’t been admitted to law school almost two years later. In 2023, they wrote to the university management and to Pastor Enoch Adeboye, the general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) which established the university in 2005.
“We also wrote to Pastor Leke Adeboye (Pastor Enoch’s son), who said he was not in the capacity to take action. Several parents of the graduates wrote to the school, but no reasonable response was given except ‘let’s keep hoping’. To date, the school hasn’t once addressed us concerning this issue and has disregarded our plea for official communication.”
The Redeemer’s University Alumni Association promised them feedback on their complaint but failed to do so. According to another law graduate of Redeemer’s, several attempts at contacting the school’s Alumni Relations Officer, Femi Bellos, were allegedly met with threats.
As a first set graduate from the university’s law programme in 2022, she confirmed there was no formal notice from the management or faculty of law about heading to the NLS.
In March 2023, she’d seen the name of her university on the official list of accredited law faculties with a quota of 50 students, but the joy that came with the news was short-lived because neither she nor her classmates were ever mobilised. This list was approved by the Council of Legal Education and signed by the Secretary of the Council and the Director of Administration, for admission into the one-year Law School programme.
If Redeemer’s University’s law programme was officially accredited in 2023, and the university made the list for the 2023/2024 session of the NLS programme, why haven’t the graduates been admitted yet?
So far, Redeemer’s University has made no official statement in response to their alleged graduates’ complaints on social media. Their official social media accounts remain active, but none of their recent posts address the issue. As of this report, attempts to contact the institution for an official statement, through the numbers displayed on their official platforms, have all gone unanswered.
One of the affected graduates revealed that in July 2023, the dean of Redeemer’s University’s law faculty had a Zoom meeting with parents and students, but nothing tangible was revealed besides an announcement that he would leave after his tenure expired that year and the graduates would not attend law school in the next session (2023/2024).
“Even after this meeting, there was no formal message from the school or faculty with updates or progress reports. We were left to figure things out ourselves, asking relatives who are knowledgeable about Nigerian Law School matters and accreditation assessments. Now, we are in February 2024, and the Nigerian Law School has resumed. No information from our school, no memo and no notice. I feel the school and faculty of law have moved on with their lives and left us.”
It’s impossible to practise law in Nigeria without passing through NLS. Nigeria operates a complimentary system of legal education where aspiring lawyers are taught substantive law (theory) at the university and procedural law (practical) at the Nigerian Law School.
An aspiring lawyer must have a five-year law degree from an accredited university and practise a year at NLS before they can be called to the bar. At this point, the Council of Legal Education awards the law graduate a “call to bar” certificate to show that they’re eligible to practise in a court of any jurisdiction in Nigeria. If Redeemer’s University doesn’t respond or act, the affected graduates may have to start over in another institution, taking them back seven years.
The law graduates of Redeemer’s University are asking for “compensation for the intentional waste of our precious two years, official communication as to the state of our admission into the NLS, a public apology to the parents and students for outrightly disregarding our call for official communication, and lastly, our outright admission into the NLS.”
While there has been no response from the school, according to reports from students and graduates, the institution still admits new students to its law programme.