Tobi Soniyi in Lagos and Alex Enumah in Abuja
Director General of the Nigerian Law School, Prof. Isa Hayatu Chiroma, SAN has assured all students coming to the school of their safety in all campuses.
In an interview with THISDAY, Chiroma said security of both students and staff remained a top security of the school.
The assurance came on the heels of complaints by students and parents who claimed that students who studied law abroad were being posted to Yola Campus where security remained an issue.
But the DG of the law school dismissed such fears.
“I have no reason to post somebody to where his/her security would be compromised because I am the head of this institution and I am accountable, nobody knows anybody except me.
“If there is a security risk, I see no reason why I will have to post a student to that area. This is our own mandate to do our own job the way we should do it and I am sure somebody would not sit down somewhere and decide how this job is to be done.
“As a journalist, I believe you place the society first and foremost above other interests because that is what we, in the legal profession do,” Chiroma said.
He described the allegations that students were being posted to Yola in order for him to benefit as baseless.
He said: “The issues you raised are mere allegations because I have been here in the last one and a half years. If you turn behind you, you will see the number of director-generals that have been here before me and they served very well.
“Since I became the director-general, we have posted foreign students just once. The issues you raised on indiscriminate posting of students to campuses without security consideration is something I don’t understand.
“You mentioned Kano and Yola. What is the security challenge in Kano and Yola? I can tell you there is no security challenge in Kano. Even in Yola, there is no security threat. I think the allegation is coming because I am from there.
“I have no reason to post my students where there is a security risk. It may interest you to know that I am the founding director-general in Yola. I went there to open that campus and I served there for about five years. I went there at the peak of Boko Haram. So, I can tell you if there is security issue or not in Yola.”
He explained that the issue of posting students in the Nigerian law school was a simple one.
“For me as the director-general and as an academic, I don’t treat students differently. Whether you are from oversea or Nigeria, we are all Nigerians and it is our duty to treat all of them equally,” he said.
He explained that in the past students who studied abroad used to be in Abuja.
“But the issue is, I cannot treat those who studied overseas differently from those who studied in Nigeria because they are all Nigerians. When we post, we don’t look at where you are coming from, we post based on available space in our campuses.
“We have five campuses and Abuja. Since I came in, I said each and every student is a Nigerian, he or she must be posted to campuses and that is what I have been doing.
“That is what we did in the last posting and I want to assure you that it will continue. On the allegation that I am posting people to Yola for personal reasons, the total capacity for Yola campus is 370, so if it is something else I would have increased the quota to 1,000 like Abuja or 1,400 like Lagos. People think for others the way they think. I am here sitting in trust, I see no reason why I will post people to Yola just because I want to increase their quota.
“We posted students to Yola, to Enugu, to Yenagoa, to Kano and to Lagos, why is there no allegations that we are posting people to Lagos that has capacity for 1,400 or Kano that has capacity for over a thousand or Enugu that has capacity for 900, it is only Yola that is the least of all, 370. Bayelsa has 404.
“Well if you occupy public office, these are some of the things that must happen, we are however grateful for giving us the opportunity to hear our own side of the story.”
He also said there was no backlog of students.
According to him, students on our various campuses just left about two weeks ago.
“Our council approved a backlog session for all students in Nigeria and I am pleased to tell you that only 2,400 students applied, that means there are no law students waiting outside,” he added.
Chiroma said before he came in, there were about 6,000 to 7,000 seeking admission, but said this year only 2,400 students applied meaning that there were no students outside.