By Sola Omoniyi, Lagos
Parents are set to be fined N50,000 if they fail to provide their children with primary and secondary school education.
This comes as the Senate has passed, for the first reading, a bill titled “Compulsory Free Universal Basic Education Act 2004, Section 2,” recommended by Senator Orji Kalu.
The Red Chamber also recommends free meals for every child in the country.
The bill proposed by Senator Kalu states, “Every government in Nigeria shall provide free, compulsory, and universal basic education for every child of primary and junior secondary school age.”
The act further states that “Every parent shall ensure that their child or ward attends and completes their primary school education and junior secondary school education by sending 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 them under section 2(2) of this Act.”
The act further notes 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, a fine of N5,000 or imprisonment for a term of two months or both.”
The Senate, however, in its amendment, proposed N50,000 fines 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 adds, “Section 3(2) of the Principal Act is amended by deleting N10,000 and inserting N100,000.”
It states, “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 both.