Court Rejects Bid To Reduce Law School Fees

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A Federal High Court siting in Abuja and presided by the Chief Judge, Justice Ibrahim Auta, on Thursday struck out a suit instituted by human rights activists and legal practitioner, Mr. Bamidele Aturu, challenging the Council of Legal Education over what he described as an excessive and oppressive tuition fee at the Nigerian Law School.

Aturu had gone to court in 2010 following the increase in school fees at all camuses of the Nigerian Law School by the authorities of the school to N230,000.

He asked the court to declare that the increase which translates to about 180%, constitutes a denial of the right to education which Nigerians who are desirous of such are guaranteed.

Aturu also wants the court to compel the school to rescind the decision and order prospective law students not to pay the excessive and oppressive sum as school fees.

In attempting to establish that he has the locus standi to institute the suit, Mr. Aturu told the court that he assists some indigent students to pay their fees and that the increase has become burdensome on him.

In their response to the suit, the Council for Legal Education in Nigeria challenged the locus standi of Mr. Aturu in instituting the suit and contended that he is not directly affected by the increase since he is neither a student of the Nigeria Law School nor a potential student.

The Council also argued that Aturu must establish a certain right peculiar to him and posited that his claim to be a philanthropist does not accord him any status to institute the case.

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In delivering the court’s decision on the matter, Justice Auta observed that Aturu is not a student or a potential student and that he failed to show evidence of the consent of the students to sue on their behalf  and that he did not produce the list of the students he’s paying school fees for.

He also faulted Aturu’s non inclusion of any evidence to show how much he paid for the students he claimed to have paid the fees for.

From the foregoing, the court held that the rights activist failed to establish how he is affected by the subject matter of the suit.

“This court is a court of law and not an avenue for cheap popularity. This case is hereby struck out as being incompetent and is dismissed,” the court declared.

No order was, however, made as to cost.

—Nnamdi Felix/Abuja