Student legal practice and advocacy should be promoted on Nigerian campuses

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By Adedimeji Quayyim Abdul-Hafeez

The integrity of a jurisdiction’s legal system is sacrosanct and important as the mechanism holds the role of serving as the arm to resolve disputes, interpret laws and restore the lost hopes to the common man’s plight. To ensure the integrity and efficiency of the legal wheel, legal practice must be promoted to adequately project the peoples’ voices in the sights of the law. Student legal practice and advocacy drives this mechanism in its core roots, in the course of stimulating interest and projecting underrepresented voices in the society.

All certified legalists must begin in a law faculty, especially in our jurisdiction, and it would on be apt if the youngsters are indulged early in the spirit of the laws. Building student legal activists, practitioners and advocates would drive early interests in their required subsequent roles as legal practitioners and would help to imprint excellence in the country’s legal practice, as the practitioners have been indulged in the ways of the legal space in the course of their trainings as lawyers.

A lot happens on Nigerian campuses during a student’s course of learning, some albeit disruptive to academic sessions and campus serenities. Student politicians indulging in practices which lie in contradiction to the student laws in place, violations (sexual, physical, emotional, mental etc.) being meted unto students by their colleagues, student rights being trampled, ethical violations being indulged in with caution thrown the wind, amongst many others, occur on campuses across Nigeria. All these may not appear to managements of these institutions, and even if it does, the management may not be capable handling such situations effectively. These situations had ruptured academic landers, laundered admission chances and even led to loss of lives. Legal enthusiasts and advocates on campuses may help in eliminating these menaces and help project student voices on campus.

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Setting up legal infrastructures on campuses could also stimulate learning on campus and could help in the proper learning of legal terminologies amongst students. For instance, in the University of Ilorin, where I study, the existence of moot courts, mock trials and organizations like the Student Union Bar Association, Judicial Councils, Euthanasia Prevention Initiative and Legal Aid Clinic had greatly help law students understand the lectures delivered to them by lectures and has enabled these students to practically witness and practice what that they have learnt. These gives students the ample opportunity of being grounded in legal processes and create a fit and employable workforce with experience upon the completion of their legal studies.

Legal practice and advocacy could also drive enthusiasm in the knowledge of laws amongst students and help students in their prospective career choices. In my University’s Student Union Bar Association, for example, interested advocates are trained in procedural laws and legal ethics, the like of which is only availed to students of the Nigerian Law School, upon their call to the bar and are awarded with the rank of a Senior Advocate upon a remarkable and meritorious student legal career. This has helped in revealing prospective career choices in the legal practice and helped students contribute to the promotion of crucial voices and student rights on campus.

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These, amongst many other virtues, makes the promotion of student legal advocacy essential to stability on campus, and to the society, by extension. These mechanisms would go a long way in aiding legal advocacy in the Nigerian space and improve the quality of legal education, which is currently in its lows. The promotion of legal practice and advocacy would also go a long way in driving innovation in the legal sector and creating the better society we all covet and desire.


Adedimeji Quayyim Abdul-Hafeez is a student of Common and Islamic Law at the University of Ilorin. He tweets via @quayyimbakr

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