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Senate Laments Astronomical Law School Fees, Supports Buhari's Anticorruption Drive

The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Thursday summoned Director General of the Nigerian Law School, Professor Olarenwaju Onadeko, to law school ngappear before the Committees on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal matters and Tertiary Institution to defend the institutions excessive annual tuition fees.

While also calling on the Federal Government to increase its funding of Nigerian Law School, the Senate expressed worry that the Nigerian Law School is becoming unaffordable to the Nigerian masses.

This position was revealed in a motion on the floor of the Senate at a plenary session by Senator Shehu Sani (Kaduna Central) where it expressed deep concern at the school’s cumulative fee of 315,000 naira, which includes N295,000 for central registration and N20,000 for other levies (excluding a computer laptop which every student must possess and the cost of living for the period of time) which was an alleged reason a prospective 30 year old student of the school committed suicide in 2014 because neither he nor his family could afford the astronomical fees.

Despite being funded by Nigerian tax payers money, the Senate warned that should the worrisome development not be arrested, the average Nigerian student would not be able to afford legal education in the near future.

Describing the scenario as a recurrent decimal, Senator Samuel Anyanwu told the Senate that he had to personally donate funds to a number of students from his constituency recently and that it was in the best interest of the wellbeing of the Nigerian masses for the fees to come down.

Senator Francis Alimikhene equally bemoaned the school fees as one that children from poor homes can simply not afford.

President of the Senate, Olubukola Saraki, while concurring with his counterparts on the need to make the fees more affordable also clamoured for a critical look at the issue of scholarships in the country.

The issue of President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade also received commendable approval from the Senate which sought to give the President’s drive a legislative support in his ‘drive towards wiping corruption to a zero level in order to boost the economic profile of Nigeria.’

This was sequel to a motion sponsored by Senator Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba South) where the Senate noted the economically regressive effects of corruption over the decades, resulting in untold hardship to millions of Nigerians and sending some of them to early graves.

Describing corruption as a ‘deadly virus’ that knew no political party, religion, tribe or region, the upper chamber of the National Assembly was worried that some public and civil servants, especially those at the ranks of Permanent Secretaries and directors siphon government funds and dump their loots into foreign banks, making them far worse off than corrupt religious leaders and political leaders who may even choose to share their stolen money with the ‘common man’ (Nigerian electorate).

The Senate thus mandated its Committees on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes and Drugs and Narcotics to liaise with the EFCC and ICPC to help them deliver their mandate while also calling on the anti-graft agencies to operate independently without being a tool for political witch-hunt. It also mandated its Committees on Education and Information and National Orientation to embark on a deliberate civic education program for the citizenry and Nigerian youths.

Senate leader, Ali Ndume agreed to donate the green and white national flag to every senator on Tuesday, December 22nd 2015, to show the Senate’s solidarity with President Muhammadu Buhari who will be in the National Assembly to officially present the 2016 budget.

Senate President, Olubukola Saraki, while describing corruption as one of Nigeria’s greatest challenges stated that the Senate supported President Buhari’s war against graft and that the era of using public funds for which no appropriation has been made is unacceptable and must stop. He also described the Senate as the Nigeria’s main anti corruption agency by virtue of the constitution, hammering on the need for oversight functions of the Senate to be taken more seriously in the anticorruption drive.

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The Senate | Federal Republic of Nigeria | National Assembly Complex | Three Arms Zone, PMB 141, Abuja | Nigeria