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Free, compulsory universal basic education Bill passes second reading in House

A Bill to amend the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to make universal basic education free and compulsory for all citizens has passed a second reading in the House of Representatives.

Sponsored by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, the Bill seeks to make basic education free and compulsory as their right guaranteed under the Constitution was passed at Thursday plenary.

In a lead debate, the Speaker through the Chief Whip, Mohammed Monguno, said that if successfully signed into law after the amendment, every Nigerian would be entitled to compulsory education.

Monguno noted that every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to free, compulsory and universal basic education, and every government in Nigeria shall provide free, compulsory and universal basic education to every child from primary to junior secondary school.

“It shall be the duty of every parent to ensure that his child or ward attends and completes his primary and junior secondary school education by endeavoring to send the child to primary and junior secondary schools.

“Every stakeholder in education shall ensure that every parent or person who has the care and custody of a child performs the duty imposed on him under section 45 of this Constitution.

“Section 318 of the principal Act is amended in sub-section 1 by the addition of  a new definition paragraph immediately after the definition of the word “authority” as follows: “basic education” means free and compulsory education from primary school to junior secondary school.

“The Principal Act is hereby amended by renumbering the existing sections 45 to 318 of the constitution as sections 46 to 319”, he submitted.

The Bill was referred to the Special Committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution for further legislative action.

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