The court upturned the ruling of a lower court.
The Court of Appeal on Wednesday ruled that Lead City University, an Ibadan-based private university, had been running its Law programme illegally.
The three-man panel of judges, in a judgement that lasted about three hours, upturned an earlier decision of an Oyo State High Court which declared illegal the invalidation of the programme by the National Universities Commission (NUC).
The lower court’s judgement was based on a suit filed by a first class graduate of law in the university, Segun Alli, accusing the NUC of denying him the right to proceed to the law school after completing his degree programme in the private university.
Giving the lead Judgment, which was unanimously adopted by two other justices, Chidi Uwa upheld the appeal of the NUC, declaring that the university has been operating its law programme without the required accreditation.
The court also held that Mr. Alli lacked the locus standi to initiate the suit in the first place. It held that the matter under contention was between NUC and the Lead City University over compliance with directives to set up a valid Law Faculty.
The Appeal Court said the University had failed to obtain and meet the requirements of the NUC and National Council of Legal Education before graduating students for the same course.
Justice Uwa added that Lead City University had admitted students to study law in the university on 22nd of May 2005 whereas it got a license to operate on 9th June, 2005.
Wondering how the university could be running programmes before it came to existence, Mr. Uwa said the NUC only approved the setting up of a law faculty at the university in 2008 while the University graduated their first law students in 2009, describing same as totally illegal.
Commenting on the lower court’s verdict, the Appeal Court said the judge blew hot and cold in the case, saying Mr. Alli acted as a ‘busy body’ in a matter that is between the university and the regulatory body.
He advised parents to investigate properly the institutional accreditation status before sending their wards to study courses, insisting that students would not be allowed to benefit from illegality.
The atmosphere was tense as the judgment was delivered on Wednesday as parents of students offering Law in the university and some of the students came in large numbers to listen to the verdict.
At a point, Justice Uwa had to pause to give stern warning and advice to parents, who appeared dazed by the verdict.