A professor of Law and United Nations expert on Human Rights and
International Solidarity, Obiora Okafor, has called on universities to develop specialised courses on new and emerging areas of international law that regulate debt relief, illicit financial flows, human rights, migration, and poverty amelioration among others.
He also urged universities and stakeholders in the justice sector to urgently grow a pool of international lawyers, who possess high technical and specialised skills, to guide Nigeria’s foreign policy responses to complex problems arising from the COVID-19, pandemic.
He spoke at a workshop that featured eminent speakers and experts, including the President of the Nigerian branch of the International Law Association (ILA), Prof. Fidelis Oditah, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Afe Babalola University, Prof Damilola Olawuyi; Legal Adviser, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigeria, Ms Omotese Eva; former United Nations Assistant Secretary General and visiting Professor of law at Queen Mary University London, Dr. Olufemi Elias and Senior Legal Officer, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Abuja, Yusuf Danmadami.
The virtual workshop was organised by the Nigerian branch of ILA, and themed: “International law and foreign relations during and Post-COVID 19.”
Okafor said universities’ law faculties should develop specialised courses in international law and foreign relations, in line with current trends.
In her contribution, Ms Eva said given the rapidly evolving nature of international law, more practical and innovative skills development courses are needed at the university level, to acquaint students with skills required for an international affairs career in a rapidly changing world.
Similarly, Dr. Elias, who is Nigeria’s nominee for the Judge of the International Court of Justice, highlighted how international lawyers are developing innovative responses to the challenges posed by the pandemic.
He urged students and aspiring international lawyers to take advantage of the resources, online databases and tools, to make in-roads to new and emerging areas of international law.
On his part, Danmadami stated that most of the homegrown community laws, rules and guidelines developed by ECOWAS should be introduced to students at an early stage so that Africa and Africans can play more significant roles in the development of international law.