Professor I. O. Omoruyi, PhD, FICMC
DEAN, FACULTY OF LAW
It is with the greatest pleasure that I welcome both new and returning students to the Faculty of Law, University of Benin, as we commence a new academic session. As law students who need a roadmap for successful academic pursuit, this prospectus is designed to provide the needed guidance and assistance to you in settling down. This important document prepares you for the necessary adjustments you will have to make to ensure a smooth academic session as well as acquaint you with the splendid possibilities that unfold before you, in furtherance of the realization of your dream to study law. The prospectus also outlines some basic regulations and procedures you must obey or follow to make good success of your academic endeavour. It further contains certain general information that will not only be useful to you but also, in some practical respect, will show you the way, lighten your burden, point out the pitfalls along the way and make your academic journey stress and trouble free.
It is worth noting that the University of Benin where you have chosen to study law was established in 1970. However, prompted by a desire to establish adequate facilities for the provision of sound legal education of the highest possible standard, that is adaptable to the contemporary needs of the Nigerian society, the Faculty of Law was established in 1981. In the over four decades of its existence, the Faculty has consistently sustained its position as a quintessential citadel of legal education due to its unwavering commitment to excellence in teaching, learning and research across a broad spectrum of disciplines in law. Both undergraduate and postgraduate legal studies, are central parts of this laudable plan.
Gladly, the Faculty of Law has established itself as one of the foremost faculties of law of the highest standard, rated among the best in Nigeria and beyond. Its commitment to academic excellence is unassailable and without equivocation. Eloquent testimonies to this fact, among others, include the full accreditation status conferred on the Faculty by the National Universities Commission (NUC) as an emerging centre of excellence in the provision of legal education in Nigeria. Furthermore, commendation and accolades from reputable sources in Nigeria and overseas of its endowment and rich ancestry in many significant dimensions particularly for the quality of its teaching, learning and research have been received. These include the core leadership demonstrated yearly by a progressively and numerically high proportion of the Faculty’s alumni. They constitute the finest of legal minds in the legal profession due to the strong but unique academic background, excellent personality and integrity of character received from the Faculty. The glowing news received from employers of labour, indicate that these crop of men and women in their chosen career paths are not only visible assets but they also exert strong scholarly and professional influence in every sphere of human organizations where they are gainfully employed. In May 2012 for instance, a Senior Lecturer (now a Professor of Law) of the Faculty was adjudged winner of the Nigerian Universities Doctoral Theses Award Scheme (NUDTAS) by the National Universities Commission (NUC) Abuja. Her PhD thesis won the best Doctoral Thesis Award in law in Nigerian University System. The awardee’s dissertation was described as “appreciable mastery of the study of international law and human rights in Nigeria” by the school of postgraduate studies, University of Lagos. Her thesis has since been published as a book and publicly presented at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) University of Lagos.
Despite the daunting challenges confronting University and legal education in Nigeria, the Faculty of Law, University of Benin has risen above these challenges and continues to remain a reference point in legal education in Nigeria. Some phenomenal achievements out of the numerous watershed landmarks recorded are worth mentioning to reaffirm the above evidence. In 2016, two of our academics were awarded international research fellowships. First, the United Nations University Institute of National Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA) in Accra, Ghana, appointed one of our senior lecturers as a research fellow to join other one hundred and thirty-five research fellows engaged in diverse fields to fashion out frameworks for particular needs in the various countries of the United Nations. Second, another senior lecturer was awarded a post-doctoral research fellowship by the Govan Mbeki Research and Development Centre of the University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa. Also, in the same 2016, the officially published Nigerian Law School Bar Examination Results confirmed that one of the alumni of this Faculty excelled with a first class honours. In recognition of this extraordinary scholarly feat, the administration of the Nigerian Law School Abuja sent a letter of commendation to the Vice-Chancellor University of Benin to congratulate the entire University and particularly, the Faculty of Law for this uncommon excellent performance of its product. Many of our products continue to excel at the Nigerian Law School at the Bar final examinations.
The fundamental lessons derivable from the above snippet of information is that, as a Law Faculty, we are committed to excellence and cutting-edge innovation in teaching and research. We provide our students with the desired enabling environment in which they can flourish and acquire basic legal education as well as the right training that can enhance their abilities, not only in the conduct of robust research and scholarship, but also in cultivating the right capacity for confronting and surmounting the challenges prevalent in contemporary dynamic society, especially in the legal profession.
As the Faculty continues to maintain its pride of place in the legal education sector, the lecturers are here to help you excel. Please, feel free to approach them with your academic and social problems. Even where they are unable to help you solve them, they will be willing to ensure the problems do not overwhelm you. They will assist you in effecting containing and coping with challenges. Since no Faculty of Law anywhere in the world can teach all the legal knowledge required in the classroom, you are advised to thoroughly use the rich law library. This is because, the law is only partially in your lecturers’ brain; the bulk of the legal knowledge you are required to acquire during your tenure can also be sourced from law reports, journals and textbooks, which are inexhaustible in the law library. Our goal as a Faculty is to ensure that you acquire not only legal knowledge for practical value, but much more to acquire the right training in legal thinking and this you can only achieve if you apply yourself diligently to the use of the law library and other materials that are available to you.
The Faculty has a dress code, which you must compulsorily obey, WITHOUT EXCEPTION. This is imperative since legal training (as you aspire to become lawyers) is a professional activity and the Faculty does not want your prescribed dressing and grooming to derogate from your anticipated dress code. Note that lecturers, non-academic staff and members of the Law Students Association (LAWSA) Executive of the Faculty have been given the authority to help ensure strict compliance with the dress code and penalize you if you are inappropriately attired as prescribed by the Faculty. It is important to stress that compliance with the dress code is part of your legal education and training. The University affords you the opportunity to meet people from diverse backgrounds. Consequently, I encourage you to associate yourself with noble persons on campus. Register and participate in LAWSA extra-curricular activities as well as moot court competitions. Please avoid all manner of ignoble associates and secret societies. Also, you are enjoined to eschew every form of examination malpractice. No student found guilty of examination malpractice (and other miscellany of misconducts) gets admitted into the Nigerian Law School. Do not be misled! Do not jeopardise your chances of being admitted to become a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria through any involvement in negative activities capable of denting your future. Credible empirical evidence indicates most candidates who are involved in examination malpractice suffer from low self-esteem. So have confidence in your ability; believe in yourself, remain focused and determined; and surely, your success is assured.
It is imperative for ALL law students of the Faculty to pay all the approved University charges and register all their courses online timeously. The evidence of such registration must be submitted to the appropriate/designated Departments of the Faculty of Law for proper documentation and further necessary processing. This compulsory process of registration and documentation must be accomplished within the time-frame stipulated by the authorities of the University of Benin.
Once more, it is my pleasure to welcome you to this great Faculty as you join us for your legal education. I wish you the very best of your stay with us; and I do hope and wish that, at the end of your course of study, you shall be found worthy, both in character and in learning. I wish you the best in your endeavours.