Kalu’s Education Bill: Senators mull fine, jail term for children’s non-enrolment in schools

A bill proposed by Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, to amend the Compulsory Free Universal Basic Education Act 2004, has received the unanimous nod of the Senate after the Clerk of the Senate, Barrister Chinedu Akubueze, read its short title during the plenary session pre- sided by the Senate President, Akpabio.

Shortly after the Leader of the Senate, Opeyemi Bamidele, introduced the bill to the Red Chamber, it received the approval of theSenate via a voice vote, The bill prescribes a fine of N50,000 or imprisonment for parents default in enrolling for primary and secondary school education. It also recom- mended free meals for child in the country.

The bill states that every government in Nigeria shall provide free, compulsory and universal basic education for every child of primary and junior secondary school age. It further states 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.

As proposed, 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 Bill further noted that a parent who contravenes the earlier prescription should be liable, on the first conviction to be reprimanded.

“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.

The Senate, however, in its amendment, proposed N50,000 fine instead of the N5,000 previously stated in the Act. The amendment states: “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.” It added, “Section 3(2) of the Principal Act is amended by deleting N10,000 and inserting N100,000.” “A person who receives or obtains any fee contrary to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N10,000 or imprisonment for a term of three months or to both.

As proposed, every parent shall ensure that his child receives full-time education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude by regular attendance at schools.

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