Department of Commercial Law

Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria - Nigeria



The present Department of Commercial Law started as a legal department of the Institute of Administration established by the Northern Regional Government. This department trained students to become lawyers, which training was eventually concluded in any of the Inns of Courts in England. The legal department later became the Faculty of Law when the Institute was upgraded to a full-fledged University. The University was taken over by the Northern Region House of Assembly Act in 1962.

Since inception, many great legal practitioners owe their training to the Faculty of Law, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, including the past Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mohammed Lawal Uwais. The Faculty started with the award of first degree in law (LL.B) in 1965 and in 1982, the part-time course for the award of first degree in law was introduced; though at present, it has been phased out by the Council for Legal Education and the last batch of students passed out in 2005/2006 session.

The Faculty considers its role to be that of providing a sound University education in law in consonance with universally accepted legal education standard and to inculcate in our graduates a legally sharp discerning mind able to provide legal services within the context of national development.

To impart the necessary and appropriate knowledge and expertise that would enable the graduates compete effectively in the global corporate environment at all times as corporate leaders and researchers with global impact.

To be a department for excellent academic and human development in the field of corporate law and practice.

The department of Commercial Law is one of the four departments in the Faculty of Law, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. The department was initially part of the department of Private Law. In order to fulfil the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) accreditation, which requires Faculties of Law to have at least four departments, Commercial Law department was created in 1981 with Prof. I AAyua as the founding Head of Dpepartment initially in acting capacity and in 1982 he was confirmed as substantive Head of Department.
Under the leadership of Prof Ayua, the department grew to become a resourceful academic unit of the University, as it is today. Several other heads of the department equally contributed significantly to its development that make it to become reputable in academic research and human resource development that meet that meet the needs of society at all times. The successive heads of department after Prof Ayua are as follows: Dr TAT Yagba, Prof. IJ Goldface-Irokalibe, Dr Linus Ali, Prof DC John, Dr AA Akume, Prof AK Usman, Prof AR Agom. Dr, SA Apinega is the current head of department.
Currently, the department handles teaching and research in six commercial law courses at the Faculty’s LLB Programme and five postgraduate programmes with contemporary courses that meet the needs of the students. The department also services several commercial law courses in other Faculties, Institutes and departments such as ABU Business School, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Administration etc.

The objectives for the establishment of the programme include the following:-

  1. To produce law graduates who would be called to the Nigerian Bar and practice legal profession both in Nigeria and abroad.
  2. To provide qualified legal personnel who would teach law both in Nigeria and abroad.
  3. To produce law graduates with a broad and comprehensive background in law to engage in a wide variety of professional services to the society both nationally and internationally.
  4. With its rich and most comprehensive Commercial law curricula, the programme is aimed at producing graduates that chose to specialize in Commercial law with an in-depth knowledge in the sharia legal system to meet the needs of the hybrid legal system especially in the northern states of the country.
  5. As the only first generation University in the Northern states, the Faculty trains postgraduate personnel to meet the manpower needs of the sister faculties and legal departments in virtually all the Universities and other tertiary institutions in the Northern states.
  6. To generally, provide a professional degree whose graduates would pursue careers as
    1. Private legal practitioners
    2. Counsels in both state and federal ministries of justice
    3. Administrative officers in government ministries
    4. Foreign affairs officers
    5. Legal advisers in government parastatals or private corporations
    6. Company secretaries
    7. Administrative/legal officers in commercial or industrial enterprises
    8. Legal or administrative work in international organizations
    9. Justice in both higher and lower bench
    10. Candidates for postgraduate courses leading to specialization in certain areas of the law.

The department believes and operates on the three fold principles of Integrity, Rule of Law and Academic Excellence.