As the Nigerian Law School marks its 60th anniversary this year, Hon. Justice Sylvanus Ajuyah OFR, an octogenarian and former High Court Judge in the defunct Bendel State, shares his experience as a pioneer student and what he thinks about today’s legal practitioners

Can we meet you Sir?

I am Sylvanus Ayere Ajuyah

How old are you, Sir?

I am 89 years old.

As a pioneer student of the Nigerian Law School, can you please tell us how many of you were in that class and what are their names?

We were eight that started the Nigerian Law School on 2nd January, 1963: Myself, S. A. Ajuyah, J. S. Anyanwu, S. O. Chinke, I. A. Damiebi, O. C. Obi, N. N. Onuoha, I. O. Sonoiki and N. N. Wachukwu. We were all matured students at that time.

Do you know where they are now?

Well, I don’t know where they are. That is why I brought out that picture (pointing at a group photograph) to identify them. I am sure many of them are ‘asleep’ now.

Where was the school at that time and hall of residence?

I think 213, Igbosere Road and we were all provided with accommodation there also.

Do you still remember names of your lecturers?

(Though he could not vividly remember all their names, he was able to mention two names) Mr. Rudd, who was a white expatriate and another whose name I cannot now remember. Mr. Ibironke came from the Ministry of Justice as a State Counsel; he lectured us on Constitutional Law.

What were the Courses you offered?

Evidence, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, a bit of Land Law and Drafting. It was one white expatriate that took us on Legal Drafting.

How did you relate in class then and how was your interaction with your lecturers?

We talked as colleagues and we discussed as colleagues. The lecturers were good and were devoted. They gave their best to us. There were other people who were invited to talk to us like Chief Rotimi Williams, Justices of Court of Appeal who presided over debates. There were also Moot Courts where Judges presided and gave judgements.

What inspired you to take to Legal Practice?

I needed a profession. In my days at Igbobi College, I was more of a mathematician while my friend, Professor Ade Ajayi was a historian, and so I wanted a break. My university training combined with my training at the Law School gave me a strong footing upon which my legal practice was established.

What is your advice for students at the Nigerian Law School?

I advise students to read hard and concentrate on their work; not like some legal practitioners of today, they are lousy, they are not serious.

What is your advice for lecturers at the Law School

They should be diligent in their work and give their best to the students.

Culled from “Fifty Years of Legal Education in Nigeria-Challenges and Next Steps by Council of Legal Education.”

Editor’s Note: Hon. Justice S. A. Ajuyah transited on the 26th of February, 2015 at the age of 90. This interview was conducted in 2013.

To join our Telegram platform, please click here 

COPYRIGHT 2022 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag. To ADVERTISE in CITY LAWYER, please email citylawyermag@gmail.com or call 08138380083.

All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.