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Introduction: The desire to give the practice of librarianship in Nigeria a professional recognition and legitimacy or legal status led

to the promulgation of Decree No. 12 of 1995 on the 15 th day of June, 1995 known then as The Librarians (Registration etc) Council of Nigeria Decree and now called The Librarians (Registration etc) Council of Nigeria Act due to democracy. Before 1995, there was no law or statute establishing a body to regulate the practice of the profession neither was there any to that would assist in strengthening the development of basic law and other infrastructures which would lay solid foundation for the fostering of practice of librarianship in Nigeria. Between the time (1949, even before) an Ordinance for the creation of National Library and 1995 that this decree was promulgated, the profession has been practiced in Nigeria without a body to regulate its practice. It was correct this imbalance that Librarians in the country started clamouring or struggled for a law that would give the profession legal backing and at the same time create a regulatory agency. It took so many years to achieve this difficult but laudable feat which had remained a mirage due to political instability, and the often lukewarm attitude of some highly placed librarians themselves. With the promulgation of Decree No. 12 of 1995 now known as Laws of the Federation - Chapter L, decades of endless wait for legal status for the profession ended. Again, the promulgation of the decree by the Federal Military Government of Nigeria during the tenure of General Sani Abacha as Head of State and Government gave librarianship as a profession its life and blood. This implies removing Librarians from inferiority complex of not having an existing legal foundation among the comity of other professions. Another waiting period of seven (7) years was experienced before the inauguration of the Librarians Registration Council of Nigeria by the Federal Government of Nigeria during the first presidential term of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 2002 to among other things determine who are Librarians, and to determine the standards of practice from time to time. For the purpose of this review the decree will be referred to as Act. Let me quickly, at this juncture, add that presently there is no such legislation or statute establishing a body or an institution for the regulation of Archival and Records Management practice in Nigeria but since the profession is yet to gain ground it would not be out of place to bring it under what can be referred to as related Library Professions. The Review: Section 1; This section created the council, and stated it legal status. The section is hereby reproduced accordingly;
1) There is hereby established a body to be known as the Librarians (Registration, etc.) Council

of Nigeria (in this Act referred to as the Council). 2) The Council shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and may sue and be sued in its corporate name. Section 2; The section 2 of the Act specifies the duties, functions and responsibilities of the Council. Section 3; This section specifies the membership of the council, and how they shall be appointed and elected. In all, the Council shall consist of twenty seven (29) members.

Furthermore, members of the council are to elect one of their number as Chairman of the council. Section 4; This section deals with the qualification of those to be appointed members of the council, their tenure of office (three - years), resignation, re-appointment or re-election, filling of a vacant position, and other sundry issues relating thereto. Section 5; The funding of the activities of the council, budgeting, expenditure reporting, and other accounting procedures and accountability. That is; general financial provisions and responsibility of the council is dealt with in this section. The Act further stipulates that the Council shall not have power to borrow money or dispose of any property except with the prior consent of the Minister and it shall not have power to pay remunerations (including pensions), allowances or expenses to any member, employee of the Council or to any other person except in accordance with scales approved by the Minister. Section 6; This deals with power of the Minister to give directives, and is hereby reproduced verbatim The Minister may give to the Council directives of a general character or relating generally to particular matters (but not to any individual person or case) with regard to the exercise by the Council of its functions and it shall be the duty of the Council to comply with directives. Sections 7 and 8; In section 7, the Act deals with the appointment of a person with no less than ten (10) years experience as a qualified librarian as the registrar, and who will also act as secretary to council. The duties of the registrar, information contents of the register, maintenance of the register, procedures for registration, applicable fees, and corrections to be made in the register with councils approval while section 8 deals with issues relating to the publication, and sales of the register of member of the profession. It equally deals with reprinting or reproduction of editions of the register as well as list of corrections therein. Sections 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15; These sections deal with matters relating to registration. Section 9 specifies the condition for registration to be met by an individual seeking to be a registered librarian, citizenship status, and his moral standing in addition to his or her qualification satisfies the council before he or she can be registered. Section 10 gives the council power to approve institutions and courses for the training of librarians in the country including the qualifications. In the event of an individual being refused registration by the council, the Act in section 11 gives power to the applicant to make an appeal of the decision of council to Federal High Court within prescribed period and manner. Section 12 gives power to the council for the supervision of instructions and training given at the approved institutions as well as examinations being taken by person attending such courses and institutions. The Act in section 13 specifies the issuance of certificate of professional competence to persons who qualified as librarians by examination for the purposes of registration, and steps for redress in the event of refusal. In section 14, the Act states that a certificate issued by the registrar shall serve as evidence of registration while in section 15 shall notify the Association, as soon as possible, the entries in the register. Sections 16, and 17; While section 16 treats the establishment of the Librarians Disciplinary Committee, etc, section 17 deals with the issues relating to unprofessional conduct, etc. Section 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22; These sections deal with miscellaneous issue. For instance, those persons who for profit reasons carry on the business of librarianship or presents themselves as librarians without being duly registered under the Act, or without reasonable excuse takes on any name or description which suggests that he has been authorised to practice as a registered librarian

shall be guilty of an offence under section 18. The section equally states other offences. Whereas section 19 define the scope and limit of practice of a registered librarian, and the duties of heads of academic institution with regards to furnish the council with names of their students in a particular year; section 20 empowers the registrar, who is also secretary to the council to make rules and regulations which are necessary for smooth administration and give effect to the provisions of the Act, section 21 gives full interpretation and definition of certain items of the Act and that only those persons whose names are entered in the register are considered registered, and section 22 show how the Act is to be cited. The Act also has first and second schedules which are supplementary provisions relating to the council, disciplinary committee, and investigating panel. While the first schedule deals with the proceedings of the council, and constitution of committees, the second schedule deals with such issues relating to disciplinary committees, assessor, and investigating. The sections equally have miscellaneous items such fixing of the seal of the council, and what can prevent any person from being a member of disciplinary committee. LANGUAGE The language of the Act is simple, and straight to the intended point to some extent. I am of the candid view that the Act is not devoid of any ambiguity. This is because ambiguous legislation has always been difficult to interpret. Oche (2000), states that language is the cloak which wraps every legislative framework. He further emphasised that the meaningful pursuit of any legislative objective requires an unambiguous perception and appreciation of the purpose of the framework which is created for the realisation of a given objective. In all honesty, if the language is not clear and simple it will definitely affect the smooth implementation of the Act. Again, the Act is written to favour librarians alone to the neglect of other library related professions like Archivist, Health Information practitioners, Publishers, etc. OBSERVATIONS: Though some may argue that the provisions of the Act is sufficient as it relates to librarianship in Nigeria for the time being, but as it is the case with many legislations which cannot lay claim to perfection but sixteen (16) years is such a long time to have seen the defects in the Act especially with regards to implementation. My humble observations and submissions are stated below; Section 1, subsection 1; the Act states that there is hereby established a body to known as the Librarians (Registration, etc.) Council of Nigeria (in this Act referred to as the Council The point of ambiguity is (Registration, etc). The etc should be deleted and replaced with other library related professions. Section 3, subsection 1(d); three persons to be appointed in rotation from such other association of librarians as may be incorporated from time to time. The point of ambiguity is such other association of librarians. Clarification required.

Section 4, subsection 1, line 2; is fully registered or qualified for registration as a librarian

The phrase or qualified for registration has no place in the Act because if one is not a registered librarian then what would such a person be doing in the Council? Subsection 5; why would members appointed on the basis of section 3, subsections 1 (b)(d) and (e) address a notice of resignation to the Minister who did not appoint them in the first place? Section 6 has no place in the Act. Section 7, subsection 5(c) does this subsection imply that without the approval of the council through the registrar, a registered person would not have more qualifications in addition to the qualification(s) already possessed? Is it the duty of the council to tell librarians what qualification to obtain and the not to obtain? In section 11 which treats appeal to the Federal High Court in the event an application is refused. The ambiguities here are as follows; (i) which Federal High Court? Abuja, or any other one within the Federation? (ii) what happen if the Court affirms the decision of the council? Does the applicant have the right to proceed to superior courts (Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court). Section 12. Instead of appointing a Visitor, will it not be proper to constitute a committee known as Education Committee to perform the duties stated therein? The whole of section 13, and it subsections are not clear. Section 18, subsections 4 (a) and (b); the fines stipulated for such grievous offences stated in subsections 1, 2, and 3,is too meagre to dissuade offenders from continuing in the act. Section 19; subsection 1; the phrase particular qualifications needs to clarified. General Observation; The Act did not specify the date of which it shall come into effect. In all the sections where qualification appeared, the word qualification is not specified whether it is First degree, Masters degree, or Ph. D especially, section 9, subsection 2, the whole of section 10. CONCLUSION: I would like to conclude that the Act as it is now, inspite of the few areas it has been found to be defective for the smooth implementation of its provisions, generally, it meets the basic requirements towards making the librarianship profession the pride of all professional bodies.

REFERENCES: The Librarians (Registration, etc) Council of Nigeria Act. Oche, Patrick (2000). Impediments to Smooth Administration of Statutory Scheme: Drafting Related Problems in Focus. Cited in: New Vistas in Law. Vol. 1.