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Senate bill proposes jail term for parents who fail to enrol their children in schools

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The Nigerian Senate has commenced the processing of passing a bill that recommends a fine or imprisonment for parents and guardians who default in enrolling their wards for primary and junior secondary school education

The Senate also recommended free meals for every child in the country.

The bill, presented by Senator Orji Kalu and titled ‘Compulsory Free Universal Basic Education Act 2004, Section 2’, outlines that each government in Nigeria is obligated to offer free, mandatory, and universal basic education to all children of primary and junior secondary school age.

According to the act, “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.”

It 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.”

The act specified that any parents found contravening the earlier prescription should be liable, on the first conviction, to be reprimanded.

“On a second conviction, a fine of ₦2,000 or imprisonment for a term of one month or both; and on subsequent conviction, to a fine of ₦5,000 or imprisonment for a term of two months or to both.”

However, the Senate has amended the proposed fines previously stated in the act and introduced stiffer financial penalties for any defaulter.

The amendment states that “Section (4) (b) of the Principal Act is amended by deleting ₦2,000 and inserting ₦20,000. Section (4) (c) of the Principal Act is amended by deleting ₦5,000 and inserting ₦50,000

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