The Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) welcomed a new Director-General, Professor Adedeji Adekunle, SAN on May 26th 2014.
Atypical of the expectations of new leadership in public institutions, staff of the Institute waited with bated breaths to discover the extent to which this soft-spoken, erudite gentleman would further improve the status of the Institute over time. True to form, over the course of the next five years, Professor Adekunle, SAN brought the Institute to one of international repute through strategic collaborations, research-oriented programmes and increase in academic and administrative staff welfare.
From research, teaching, training and project collaborations with the MacArthur Foundation, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Microsoft Nigeria, Open Air (a Pan-African network of intellectual property (IP) experts), Nigerian Stability and Reconciliation Programme (British Council), to review of legislation for States and criminal justice reform programmes in various parts of Nigeria, Professor Adekunle, SAN showcased his dedication and commitment to the advancement of legal education in Nigeria, and emphasis on NIALS as the apex institution for research in Nigeria.
Professor Adekunle, SAN recorded a number of innovative contributions within five years, including the commencement of an Online Learning Programme for postgraduate diploma and Master of Laws Courses in the NIALS School of Postgraduate Studies (the first of its kind since the establishment of the Institute); successful completion of a wew wing in the NIALS Office Building, University of Lagos Campus, Lagos State; Renovation of the NIALS Library; Upgrade of the NIALS Centre for Continuing Legal Education (CCLE); Publication of various books on topical issues affecting the Nigerian polity such as Books on Law of International Investment in Nigeria, Freedom of Information, Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, and Case Digests and Policy Bulletins on the ACJA; and Donation of NIALS’ Publications to various universities within and outside Nigeria.
With regards to the well-being of staff of the Institute, Professor Adekunle, SAN maintained an ‘open-door’ policy during his tenure, to foster transparent relationships within the Institute and to improve relations between administrative and academic staff alike. The research collaborations with international institutions which he fostered, and the resultant projects also provided a unique opportunity for academic and administrative staff to hone their skills/knowledge in these areas of law and social norms.
Indeed, the history of NIALS or criminal justice reform in Nigeria cannot be complete without tales of the magnificent academic exploits of Professor Adedeji Adekunle, SAN. An intellectual colossus, an enviable Christian, leader and respected among his peers, Professor Adekunle, SAN has left huge footprints behind that can only be filled by an equally passionate academic luminary.
Professor Adedeji Adekunle, SAN has conquered all that he set out to achieve for NIALS between May 26th 2014 and May 26th 2019 as a worthy Director-General. The world awaits, with bated breaths and excited anticipation, for future academic accomplishments and leadership initiatives which this legal luminary has up his sleeves.