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Bill to Jail and Fine Parents for Not Sending Children to School Passes First Reading

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Bill to Make School Enrollment Mandatory for All Children Passes First Reading.

In a significant move to boost primary and secondary education enrollment in Nigeria, a bill advocating fines and imprisonment for parents who fail to ensure their children receive formal education has passed its first reading in the Senate.

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The bill, titled ‘Compulsory free Universal Basic Education Act 2004, Section 2,’ was introduced by Senator Orji Kalu. According to reports, the section of the bill underscores that all levels of government in the country are obligated to provide free, compulsory, and universal basic education for every child within primary and junior secondary school age.

It also places the responsibility on parents to ensure that their children attend and complete primary and junior secondary school education by sending them to these institutions.

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The legislation goes further to involve local government stakeholders, compelling them to ensure that every parent or guardian fulfills their obligations under Section 2(2) of the Act. Failure to comply with these requirements would result in penalties.

The proposed punishments for parents who violate the law involve a fine of N2,000 or imprisonment for one month on the second conviction, and on subsequent convictions, a fine of N5,000 or imprisonment for two months, or both.

However, during discussions in the Red Chamber, lawmakers suggested amending the bill to increase the fines imposed on defaulters. The amendment was as follows: “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 bill also stipulates that anyone found receiving or obtaining any fee contrary to its provisions would be liable to a fine not exceeding N10,000 or imprisonment for up to three months, or both. It is worth noting that the bill stresses the need for every parent to ensure their child receives full-time education suitable to their age, ability, and aptitude through regular attendance at schools.

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