The American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola, Adamawa State, said it has received full approval by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Council for Legal Education to commence its innovative Bachelor of Law (LL.B) programme, adding that admission into the programme for the 2016/2017 academic session is ongoing.
Nigeria’s certifying authority for law programmes, the Council for Legal Education, had at a full council meeting on June 28, ratified the decision of its board of studies to approve the School of Law at AUN. The AUN School of Law is the fourth school of the 11-year-old development university, following the Schools of Information Technology and Computing; Business and Entrepreneurship; and Arts and Sciences.
Before the board’s approval, the council had conducted a resource verification exercise on AUN’s state-of-the-art facilities on the heels of a similar exercise by the NUC, which regulates university education in Nigeria.
The AUN President, Dr. Margee Ensign, while expressing the sentiments of the AUN community, said: “The university is pleased and proud that the Council for Legal Education has approved the launch of our new School of Law. AUN, Africa’s first development university will bring an innovative and important dimension to legal education in Nigeria.”
Modelled on the American liberal arts tradition of a broad education and critical thinking, the university said the law courses reinforce its development philosophy and will be enriched by its extensive international faculty.
“The law curriculum embraces Humanitarian Studies, Gender, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Environmental Law, HIV and the Law, Gender and Development, Energy and Natural Resources Law, and Technology and the Law, among its novel courses that distinguish AUN’s unique approach to legal education.”
The Dean, School of Law, Professor Oladejo Justus Olowu, who held top faculty positions in South African universities before coming to lead the AUN programme, expressed hope that positive change would be triggered in the country’s legal education system.
“We went abroad and acquired comparative benefits in the study and applications of law, which is what we have all brought together in birthing the potpourri of multicultural ideas. There is no university in Nigeria that has a programme on the intercourse between law and bioethics or biotechnology; we discovered this from the best practices around the world.”
He said AUN would produce a new generation of lawyers that will do the right thing. “Our law graduates are going to be alternative dispute practitioners and comprehensive attorneys: arbitrators, conciliators, mediators, and negotiators. We are going to do things differently and innovatively. Nigerians will soon feel the impact of the first generation of lawyers to emerge from the AUN.
“You only hear lawyers speak about gender equality, but no lawyer in Nigeria went through a law programme that has the gender content. The AUN law programme will be the first to develop a law programme that has law, society, and development as a module. Development discourses have been left to economists, development theorists and policy analysts; it has never been a subject for schools of law in Nigeria. Clearly, that is now going to change.”