President Tinubu Reinstates Council of Legal Education, NHRC, NIALS Boards

President Bola Tinubu has ordered the reinstatement of the boards of three public institutions under the Federal Ministry of Justice. This overturns a prior presidential decision that had disbanded the boards of parastatals, agencies, institutions, and government-owned businesses under the federal government.

Following a request for the boards of some statutory organizations under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Justice to be excluded, this action was taken.

The Federal Ministry of Justice’s permanent secretary and solicitor general, Mrs. Beatrice Jedy-Agba, stated in a letter seen by newsmen on September 4, 2023, that Tinubu had granted exemption to the boards of the Council of Legal Education (CLE), the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), and the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS).

The letter was signed by the Solicitor-General, the letter was directed to the office the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and copied to all the chief executives of the three institutions.

Justice sector stakeholders had queried the dissolution of the boards.

It was noted that the NHRC governing council led by Dr. Salamatu Husseini, went through Senate screening and confirmation in June 2021, even as it was almost midway through its tenure.

While stakeholders had queried the dissolution of the NIALS board traditionally headed by an incumbent Chief Justice of Nigeria, it was also argued that the Council of Legal Education board was dominated by non-federal government institutional representatives comprising the 36 state Attorneys-General, 16 representatives of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and a Dean of an accredited Faculty of Law.

The federal government has only five representatives as members of the council, namely the Chairman, Director-General of the Nigerian Law School, and three persons appointed by the Attorney-General of the Federation.

The recall of the Chief Emeka Ngige SAN-led Council of Legal Education board which was inaugurated by the immediate past administration on May 15, 2023, for another four-year tenure also became urgent due to pressing tasks including impending approval of Bar Final Results and subsequent Call to Bar ceremonies of successful students slated for October10 and 11, 2023.

Tinubu had on June 21, 2023, exempted the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) from the list of dissolved boards of federal government parastatals, agencies, institutions and government-owned companies.