May 18, 2024

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Bill to jail, fine parents for not enrolling their children in school passes first reading

A bill recommending a fine to be paid by parents who fail to provide their children with primary and secondary school education has passed first reading at the Senate.

The bill was proposed by Orji Kalu and titled; ‘Compulsory free Universal Basic Education Act 2004, Section 2’, according to Punch.

The section stated that governments at all levels in the country, shall provide free, compulsory and universal basic education for every child of primary and junior secondary school age.

“Every parent shall ensure that his child or ward attends and completes his primary school education and junior secondary school education by endeavouring to send the child to primary and junior secondary schools.

“The Act further states that stakeholders in education in a local government area shall ensure that every parent or person who has the care and custody of a child performs the duty imposed on him under section 2(2) of this Act,” it stated.

The act also recommended punishments for parents who contravene the rule, adding that “On a second conviction, a fine of N2,000 or imprisonment for a term of one month or both; and on subsequent conviction, to a fine of N5,000 or imprisonment for a term of two months or to both.”

However, the lawmakers at the Red Chamber, amended the bill, as they proposed increment of the fines to be paid by defaulters.

“Section (4) (b) of the Principal Act is amended by deleting N2,000 and inserting N20,000. Section (4) (c) of the Principal Act is amended by deleting N5,000 and inserting N50,000. Section 3(2) of the Principal Act is amended by deleting N10,000 and inserting N100,000,” the amendment stated.

It stated, “A person who receives or obtains any fee contrary to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N10,000 or imprisonment for a term of three months or to both.

“Every parent shall ensure that his child receives full-time education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude by regular attendance at schools,” it stated.