Recently, Nigeria rolled out the drums albeit without much confidence and cheers regarding its achievements, to celebrate its 50 years of independence.
Before independence, it had a legal infrastructure crafted to provide appropriate legal framework for the needs of colonial administration, local administration and a system of commerce that was a mixture of British mercantilism and diverse customs of Nigerians.
Before then, Lawyers were trained abroad.
However, shortly before independence, a need had already been recognized in United Kingdom for a system of legal education of Africans within Africa to provide manpower for its system of administration of justice, and also as administrators and legislators. 1
As a follow-up to independence, the Unsworth Committee was established to consider and make recommendations on the future of legal education in Nigeria with specific concern for legal education, admission to practice, right of audience before the courts, reciprocal arrangements with other countries, conduct, control and discipline of members of the Bar.
The Committee’s report (the Unsworth Report) recommended inter alia that:
Legal education should be provided locally and adapted to the needs of Nigeria.
Law faculties should be established at University of Ibadan and any other subsequent universities to offer degrees in Law.
A Law School should be established in Lagos to provide practical training for Law graduates.
A Law degree should be a requirement for practice of Law in Nigeria.
1 C. O. Okonkwo “A Historical Overview of Legal Education in Nigeria” to Ayuu & Guobadia, Supra, Report of the Committee on Legal Education for students from Africa CMND 1255 (1961).