THE NLS ‘LIFESTYLE’ (Sequel to NLS Loading…)

**WARNING: THIS POST IS AS LONG AS IT TOOK TO WRITE, IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A SPECIFIC AREA, I’VE PUT HEADINGS IN BOLD SO SCROLL DOWN. OTHERWISE, PLEASE ENJOY THE ESSAY  BLOG POST**

Hello Again, Let me first say that the word ‘Lifestyle’ is a little misleading because the longer you stay at the NLS, less of your life and style is at your own disposal. However, to summarise the Nigerian Law School (NLS) especially if you’ve been out of Nigeria a while: ‘Easy? No . Do-able? Yes’. So, since we’re clear, let me offer you some useful information to have you as prepared as possible. Before I continue, thank you all for letting me know you found the previous post on applying and registering for law school helpful.

The deadline for registering is today I believe but if you haven’t already applied just keep trying, when there’s a will, there’s a way. Visit this website. Clink on this PDF. Apply here

When I was applying, I had to scrape info from blogs and comments that’s why I’m writing this.  As you probably suspect, there are many things that require adjusting to from culture to style of teaching to weather (Abuja is ridiculously…like ridiculously HOT). To write this, I asked  friends for input on what they think is vital to know but nothing can really prepare you for everything and everyone’s experience will be different. You HAVE TO EMBRACE THE NEW EXPERIENCE & HAVE FUN! You just do. Academically, Bar 1 is peanuts compared to the Bar 2 programme, but that’s a discussion for later. So without further ado, here is some information on areas which I think are vital:

A. LIFESTYLE

Dress Code –  Honestly, there isn’t a set synchrony among the campuses. You must know though, that EVERY morning there will be marshalls stood in front of the entrance to the class room checking that your outfit is regulation compliant and very willing to send you back or embarrass you if it’s not. As a rule of thumb, if you feel you’re looking so fly and they may send you back – They probably will. I’ve set out the strict regulation wear and “#OOTD” variant for the Fashion bloggers among you. In case you didn’t already know, standard regulation wear is BLACK & WHITE.

  • GUYS: Regulation Wear: Plain White Shirt, Plain Black Tie, Black Leather Office Shoes, Black Suit. {#OOTD Variation: Textured White Shirt (Leave your stripes at home), Knitted Tie/ Silk Tie, Formal Velvet Slippers, Navy Blue/ Charcoal Grey Suit/ Double breasted blazer…) You can keep Afros (I think) but keep it all trimmed and clean, that ‘hippie’ look will not fly here.
  • LADIES: Regulation Wear: Plain White Formal Shirt; Plain Black Skirt that ends below the knee; Plain Black Dress (No sleeveless, you must wear a blazer if it is); Blazer or Skirt Suit; Plain Black Shoes (Flats or Modest Height Heels -No peep toes) {#OOTD Variation: White top (Leave your frills at home; sometimes they allow chiffon, sometimes they don’t), White Camisole, Pencil Skirt with a not too high slit, Blazer with minimal leather panel, Peplum Blazer, LONG Body Con or Maxi Dress, Plain Black Pumps (I have a very navy blue pair that I wear)…)

Both the regulation and OOTD variants should pass for the marshalls. For me, I spice it up but mostly stay within regulation. I don’t like insults. Essentially just be modest, don’t go to class flashing your thigh or baring all that chest…or maybe you should Who doesn’t like a little drama. Anyway, some people will get a lot of grief from marshalls- some won’t. That’s just the way life is. I’ll attach some pictures later to help. You can wear whatever you like after school I believe.

Living

As at when I was in Bwari, people mainly lived: On Campus OR At Elim Hotel OR Liberty Hotel OR Came from Abuja

  • Campus

Prepare to see endangered species of creepy crawlies all sorts. It could be worse…but it could definitely be better. It’s 2 to a room, 4 to a flat (for want of better word) i.e. 4 people share a Toilet and Bathroom.  Generator is on from 7pm -12 midnight, sometimes in the morning too. Water doesn’t run so you’ll need a big drum, you can buy that in Bwari or Abuja town. You get these ladies that basically clean, fetch water, wash clothes and so on for you for a fixed monthly fee or pay as you go, it’s quite a handy service, they’ll come to you don’t worry. I laid linoleum on my floor and helped my ‘flatmates’ too, cos the carpet was rather filthy. You’ll need mosquito nets, they may give you some but you’ll need nails and Ropes to hang it up. Ladies, get a long mirror. Doors are locked at 12 midnight. If you’re planning to sleep in the hostel, make your way on time, they will not hesitate to lock you out.

  • Pride

This is private accommodation. Not quite Unite or Opal, but you get the idea. They have a variation of 1 to 2 bedrooms and different sizes and facilities. It’s almost directly opposite the school gate. If i can get a contact number I’ll put it here.

  • Elim/ Liberty Hotels

Elim is a very popular one, it housed some cool and some not-so-cool kids. It’s a hotel, good standard for the remote area it’s in but not exactly by all standards. It’s not bad though. There isn’t 24/7 light. I think you can pay to get your laundry done. They serve food that isn’t bad, some of it is good, there’s a shawarma guy by the pool and I think there’s a ‘gym’ of some sort. Elim is located a few houses across the Law School Gate, it’s not too far to walk or drive to and from school.

  • Living in Town

This works if you normally live in Abuja or Bwari town (hardly a town). It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to drive in, there’s a new express way or something, avoid the busted up road.

Weather

IT’S HOT IN THE AFTERNOON. IT REALLY IS! Interestingly enough, it can be rather Cool/ Cold in the mornings and on some evenings. For me, I sweat really easily and that makes me uncomfortable. Shortly after I got to Bwari, I set aside my long weaves and did only short hairstyles. Braids also works & Ghana Weaving (Note: Keep the colour to a minimum, some people got away with fiery red hair or glaring ombré but I doubt many will so don’t bother). Get a lot of light clothes and sandals to wear after classes, they finish rather early. Maybe a jumper for when it’s cold later on. Get a strong umbrella, the rain can be brutal , I had a chić raincoat. Oh, and sunglasses and sunscreen are your friends, but you WILL tan regardless.

Worship

There are several organisations set up for several forms of worship. There’s a chapel and there’s a mosque. There are several fellowships including Anglican, MFM… The Christian Lawyers Association of Nigeria (CLASFON) is  non-denominational and tends to be the most subscribed; it’s run by students.

Health & Fitness & Turn Up

Food was a big problem for me.  You’re NOT allowed to cook. There is a Mami market that has regular Nigerian food on deck, the food can be quite good but I can only have so much rice and swallow. In my time, the most popular were Mama Ngozi & Akwa Best. There’s a Suya Guy and Shawarma too.  Behind Block A Female Hostel, someone does sweet potato and some nice pepper sauce – I ate this a lot. I eat fruits a lot, storage was an issue. In the hostel, there’s a communal fridge but it was far from my room and there isn’t always light. Things are kept in it at your own risk. I would advice bringing/buying a lot of snacks (Biscuits, Granola, Breakfast Bars, Burger Peanuts, Plantain chips (love these)) if you’re a snacker like me and cereal for breakfast to keep you throughout the day. I ate at Lovitoz (see below) a lot too. Coach Wilson is your guy for fitness. There’s a very good aerobics class on every morning except Sunday on the football field from 5:30-6:30am. It seems early but you get used to it quickly. It’s actually really good, and you need it for all that rice you’ll be eating. Tell Coach, Oyinda from last set referred you to him, he’ll hook you up with any info you need. His number: 08056981041 . In general, the grounds are good for running and long walks.

LOVITOZ!! – No one can talk about NLS Bwari now and not talk about Lovitoz. Lovitoz is your one stop shop for everything turn up: From lunch to Drinks to Football Matches to TURN UP!  I don’t need to give you details, it’s all you’ve got, you’ll soon grow to love it.

B. ACADEMICS

How different is it? IT IS VERY DIFFERENT. The syllabus isn’t super complex but it is VOLUMinous. The emphasis is more on what you remember  than what you understand. I won’t comment on the quality of teaching, all I’ll say is make sure you get what the good lecturers say down and compare your notes with your serious friends. Don’t even try to go solo. For most of us, its an adjustment back to having a set time for class each day instead of a few hours here and there. Classes can be hilarious especially when there is a cacophony of accents. It can be annoying when everyone goes super political. Good notes and your laws should be sufficient to pass. Don’t take it so seriously that you don’t do anything but study BUT don’t faff all the time (and there will be A LOT of faffing) that you leave studying too late. Do the much you can daily. It would be annoying to have to come back to retake the exams.

Subject deficiencies The Nigeria law school requires certain courses to have been taken, it you haven’t taken them you will have to take extra classes on Friday – remedial classes. Those courses include Law of Evidence, Commercial Law, Tort, Contract…

 Books to buy

Make sure you have your laws: 1999 Constitution (as amended), Criminal Code, Penal Code, Land Use Act…

There will be many handouts and textbooks, some good-some bad, you’ll have to figure that out yourself. So, that’s a lot of information, I’m sure at least some of it is helpful, you’ll learn a lot more by actually being there. Feel free to ask me anything in the comments or however you like.

On a final note, it can be really hard to adjust but some serious fun is there to be had. I made some very awesome friends who I’m hoping to be called to the Nigerian Bar with shortly. Go with an open mind and expect the unexpected. Bar 2 is a whole different ball game, maybe I’ll do another post when the time comes. Wish you the best Prospective Zebras (my dad calls us that because we’re always in black and white).

Ms Johnson. xxx

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20 thoughts on “THE NLS ‘LIFESTYLE’ (Sequel to NLS Loading…)

    1. Thanks Whitney,
      Liberty isn’t so close. It’s about 10minutes drive away. Too long to walk. It’s just as good as Elim, some people think better because it’s more quiet.

      Ms Johnson
      Xxx

  1. Hello, Thank you for the information. Quite elaborate and helpful. Just wanted to know. Do you have to attend classes everyday and is there any sort of daily register or punishment for not attending. Lovely Blog.

    1. Hi,
      You’re very welcome. Classes are on every day, attendance is compulsory but many people skip. There is an attendance sheet signed every morning and afternoon, you don’t want to skip signing those because if your attendance is not up to par, you may be disqualified from exams and so on, especially for Bar Part 2. In Abuja, you’re to sign on the sheet, In Lagos, you thumbprint

      Ms Johnson.
      xxx

  2. Hi, thank you for your post. I was just curious as to how long the law school permits for attendance of graduation. So, are we restricted to taking 1 week off or 5 days etc if at all they take attendance?

    1. Hey there,
      You’re welcome. I can’t remember the exact limit but there is one. I was away for 5 school days and 1 weekend. 7 days in all. But then, I only have school on 4 days anyway. Essentially, just ensure you apply for leave to attend your graduation as soon as you can and sign the attendance everyday that you’re in campus so you don’t have any deficit. Hope that helps

      Ms Johnson.
      xxx

  3. Hi,
    So I bought some striped shirts and dresses for law school because i had not seen this blog and they dont have a dress code published on their website. I dont know if they will allow that.

    Thanks
    Jessica

    1. Hi Jess,
      It will depend on the stripes and how obvious or bright they are. There’s no harm in taking them and seeing if they allow it or not. Just make sure you have your plain coloured clothes in case. As I said, some people get away with wearing anything, maybe you’ll get lucky.

      Ms Johnson.
      Xxx

      1. Alright…thank you very much, your blog has been really helpful

        I was wondering if it will be possible for you to upload some pictures of the rooms, bathrooms and classrooms and make it like a sequel to the sequel

        thanks
        Jess

      2. Lool…Hi Jessica.

        Unfortunately, I don’t think I have pictures of the bathrooms and so on. I remember showing it to people while on FaceTime/ Skype but I don’t have many pictures just one of the biggest beetle I ever saw & one of the signs to the Female bathroom spelt ‘fimele’ or something.

        Ms Johnson.
        Xxx

  4. Hi, I have other questions!

    I was reading old bar1 blogs and I saw that one student said she could not get accommodation and soon as she arrived and had to look for alternative arrangements. On another, I read you have to be compliant with the dress code during registration…so, how long does it take to get an accommodation and do you have to be in black and white to complete registration? Thanks 🙂

    1. Lol..that’s cool Inya. In answer to your questions:
      -Accommodation is given on a first come-first serve basis. It could be that she registered very late, maybe not even on the registration day. In such an instance, accomodation cannot be guaranteed. As I said earlier, you can get accomodation as soon as you complete the registration process.

      -Yes! It’s safest to wear conservative black and white for your registration. In my time, most people did though some people didn’t. They might let you off for Bar 1 but for Bar 2 registration they called a lot of people out for not wearing regulation wear.

      Ms Johnson.
      Xxx

  5. Hi! Thanks so much for the blog post. Really really helpful for those starting off. I’m headed to Bwari in two weeks and hoping for the best. Quick question, regarding Bar 2 though. I know the bar finals (Bar 2) are usually in August of each year, but for 2015 they have changed to November. I am wondering if you are aware if it’s a change that will happen during the coming years (2016,2017 etc) or it was a one off to deal with the 2013 ASUU strike (a friend suggested). Kindly give direction. Many thanks again!!!

    1. Hey Dami,

      You’re welcome. You’ll have an interesting time no doubt. The bar finals are actually in October this year and call to bar inn December. However, I can’t be sure of Law School’s plan for the future. It will come down to the powers that be to decide if they prefer this system or the old one.

      Ms Johnson
      xxx

  6. Hello

    So I wanted to ask, in UOL we did criminal evidence, but on my admission acceptance thingy it says I am deficient in the law of Evidence, this was the same for a friend of mine, however one of our classmates was not deficient in it. I really do not want to do the law of evidence that was the only reason I did criminal evidence in the first place. I don’t know if you had a similar experience in your time and what happened eventually.

    Thanks again
    Jess

    1. Hi Jessica,

      Yes quite a few people from the same Uni had that issue. Some were considered deficient, others were not. To resolve this, print out your evidence handbook showing all the topics and so on, attach that to a copy of your transcript showing your score in evidence and a letter addressed to law school. Do it as soon as possible because once a lot of people start sending letters to rectify deficiencies, they’ll be less willing to waive it for you.
      Hope that helps. All the best for law school.

      Ms Johnson.
      Xxx

  7. Thanks so much for your reply! I was wondering if the remedial classes for the deficient courses are indeed N50,000 per course? Kindly correct if you know. Many many thanks.

    1. Hi Dami,
      You’re very welcome. The prices may have changed but I believe by last year it was N30,000 for 1 remedial course, N50,000 for 2 remedial courses.

      Ms Johnson.
      xxx

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