- Olisa Agbakoba has again called for a uniform cut off marks for all students of unity schools
- According to the senior lawyer, the need to maintain same cut off marks irrespective of ethnicity will promote unity in the country
- The lawyer called for a holistic adherence to the decision of the court which ordered that uniform admission requirements, especially cut-off marks, be applied to all candidates
As entrance examination into unity schools across Nigeria approaches, a former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Dr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has reiterated his call for a uniform cut off marks for all students.
Agbakoba spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Friday, March 22, emphasised the need to eschew ethnicity and promote unity in the society.
NAN reports that Agbakoba had in a suit numbered FHC/L/CS/1358/2013, against the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Federal Ministry of Education, had sought an order, restraining discrimination against students applying into unity schools, on account of their ethnicity or place of origin.
The Federal High Court had in a judgment delivered in 2014, ordered that uniform admission requirements, especially cut-off marks, be applied to all candidates seeking admission into federal government colleges.
Responding to questions on the impact of the court’s judgment to consequent admission process into government colleges, Agbakoba said: "I am disappointed; If you recall, the judgment in Olisa Agbakoba v. A-G Federation & Ministry of Education FHC/L/CS/1358/2013, the Federal High Court Lagos Division, had restrained further discrimination against students applying into unity schools on account of their ethnicity, gender or place of origin.
“The Federal High Court’s judgment has established that the Federal Government policy which prescribes and applies different requirements including cut-off marks for candidates seeking admission into these Colleges, based on gender, ethnicity, or state of origin, is discriminatory and violates the Constitution.”
He, however, lamented that almost five years down the line, since the court’s judgment was delivered, its orders are yet to be complied with by the relevant stakeholders, regardless of whether an appeal subsist against same.
He said: “The full benefit of the judgment will come when it is obeyed.”
On whether the term “Unity Schools” have served its purpose of achieving integration among the diverse ethnic groups in society, Agbakoba said that the first set of unity schools in the country, had strive to achieve a measure of unity among the diverse ethnic groups.
He, however, noted with disappointment, that the infiltration of discrimination among Nigerians is now responsible for polarizing citizens along ethnic lines.
As entrance examinations into the federal colleges are billed to kick off in April, Agbakoba called for a holistic adherence to the decision of the lower court.
“The relevant authorities should obey the judgment of the Federal High Court, Lagos, by applying uniform cut-off marks for all candidates seeking admission into unity schools, irrespective of gender, state of origin or ethnicity.
“The judgment of the Federal High Court is subsisting; the appeal by the Federal Ministry of Education does not prevent the Federal Government or the Unity Schools from obeying this Judgment,” he said.
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Recall that Legit.ng earlier reported that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday, March 20, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, ratified the Safe School Declaration.
The minister of education, Adamu Adamu, disclosed this while briefing state House correspondents after the FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Safe School Declaration is an inter-governmental political commitment that was opened for endorsement by countries at an international conference held in Oslo, Norway, on Thursday, May 28 to Friday, May 29, 2015.
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