The Senate has given preliminary approval to a bill that would impose a punishment of N50,000 on parents who fail to send their children to elementary and secondary school.
The Red Chamber also suggested providing free food to all of the country’s children.
Every government in Nigeria shall provide free, compulsory, and universal basic education for every child of primary and junior secondary school age, as stated in Section 2 of Senator Orji Kalu’s bill, the “Compulsory free Universal Basic Education Act 2004,” which was introduced in 2004.
Additionally, “Every parent shall ensure that his child or ward attends and completes his primary school education and junior secondary school education by endeavoring to send the child to primary and junior secondary schools,” according to the statute.
“The Act further states that all educational stakeholders in a local government area shall ensure that every parent or person who has care and custody of a child performs the duty imposed on him under section 2(2) of this Act.”
The act further stated that a parent who violates the aforementioned prescription should be subject to reprimand upon conviction.
“On a second conviction, a fine of N2,000 or imprisonment for a term of one month or both; and on a subsequent conviction, to a fine of N5,000 or imprisonment for a term of two months or both.”
However, the Senate amended the Act to suggest N50,000 fines rather than the original N5,000.
Section (4) (b) of the Principal Act is changed by striking N2,000 and replacing it with N20,000, as set forth in the amendment. By this Act, N5,000 is removed from subsection (c) of section (4) of the Principal Act, and N50,000 is added in its place.
With this amendment, “Section 3(2) of the Principal Act is amended by deleting N10,000 and inserting N100,000.”
It read, “Whoever receives or obtains any fee in violation of subsection (1) of this section shall be guilty of an offence and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine not exceeding N10,000 or by imprisonment for a term of three months or by both.”
The law states that “every parent shall ensure that his child receives full-time education suitable to his age, ability, and aptitude by regular attendance at schools.”
The Senate, on the other hand, has proposed N100,000 in instead of N10,000.
A change from N10,000 to N100,000 was recommended in the Senate’s “Section 3(2) of the Principal Act is amended by deleting” clause.
When asked about this new development, Ayodamola Oluwatoyin, Programme Coordinator for Basic Education at Reform Education, Nigeria, told Punch that while the lawmakers’ action seems commendable, an investigation into the additional charges by public schools across the country is warranted.