Nigerians believe the recent fee hike for students of the Nigerian Law School in Abuja is a spiral effect of the high cost of living and the economic crunch experienced in every sector in Nigeria.
According to a publication signed by Isa Hayatu Chiroma, director general of Council of Legal Education, Nigerian Law School, Abuja, the fees payable on full admission for Bar 11 students are thus;
“Tuition and hostel accommodation at N10,000; Three-term dinners at N45,000; Two- cocktail at N30,000; Library development at N35,000; Sports and recreational development at N8,000; Bar 11 examinations at N45,000; Student’s handout and CD ROM (course materials) at N45,000, Identity card at N4,000, and Postage & courier services at N4,000.
Others are, Medical services at N30,000; Internet & ICT at N30,000; Insurance at N10,000; Externship materials and portfolio assessment at N20,000; Faculties maintenance and clearing at N35,000; Security services at N50,000; Electricity/ power at N65,000, and Student’s yearbook at N10,000—total cost of N476,000.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS),” Nigeria’s headline inflation rate increased to 27.33 percent in October 2023. The economic crunch has eroded many families’ income by surging food and other consumables prices.
Bamidele Okuwoga, a legal practitioner, said the hiked fees reflect the spiral economic crunch experienced by all sectors in Nigeria.
“These schools have consumables, and the government subsidies are not forthcoming. Much as we don’t like it, there is nothing we can do about it,” he said.
Okuwoga expressed concerns that many Nigerians are rather not being sincere in addressing developing realities in the country.
“The University of Lagos and other universities just increased their fees, and even at that, the new fees cannot be compared to what is obtainable in some private secondary schools.
We need our government to be responsible, and the citizens must be objective in their demands from the government.
The fees must not be unreasonable, but at the same time, it must reflect the inflation trend,” he noted.
Similarly, Pedro Ochuko, a former student of the Nigerian Law School and legal practitioner, said looking at the breakdown of the new fee, it would not be out of place to say that an accommodation fee of N10,000 is a giveaway.
“I don’t know if the government is still subsidizing the fee. If the government is not subsidising the fee, I don’t think the Law School has a choice.
The changes in the fee are inevitable because the school must run. But if the government is still subsidising, then, the hiked fee imposes a lot of questions,” he said.
Ochuko maintained that the fees are still cheap when compared to other countries.
“In other countries, going through Law School is always financially demanding,” he said.
Friday Erhabor, director of media and strategies at Marklenez Limited, pointed out that the increase is insignificant.
“If the fee is to dollars, it will diffuse to insignificant. The poor will always survive. Education is not cheap!” he said.
Erhabor counselled that parents must prioritise giving their children quality education.
“The same poor people you refer to spend on data and other things. Let’s not raise too much emotion on the cost of education.
What the government can do to help the poor is to strengthen the reach of education loans. The standard of education cannot be lowered because of the poor.
Rather, the assistance to the poor should be raised to afford the education of their dream,” he said.
However, Akobundu condemned the development and blamed the legal practitioners for not defending their profession, which, according to him, has led charlatans to destroy the profession.
Speaking via his Twitter handle, Akobundu @YouthspireNG, he said, “If the ordinary lawyers do not stand up to fix their profession, let the privileged criminals continue to import their half-baked offspring with a touch of Taliban/Hammas and international law degrees and continue to damage Nigeria.”