The National Assembly has approved a bill that would make free, obligatory, and basic education a fundamental right for all citizens, ICIR report.
The bill, titled ‘A Bill For An Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to make free, compulsory, and basic education a fundamental right of all citizens under Chapter IV of the Constitution; and related matters,’ was passed by both chambers of the National Assembly on Tuesday during the voting on constitutional amendment.
There were 307 votes in favor of the bill in the House of Representatives, and 88 votes in favor of it in the Senate.
In both the Senate and the House of Representatives, one vote was cast against the bill.
According to the bill’s terms, every Nigerian citizen is entitled to free education in any government-owned elementary school and has the right to seek remedy if denied.
The Universal Basic Education Act of 2004 guarantees uninterrupted access to free education for nine years, although it is not recognized as a fundamental human right.
The bill’s proponent, Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila, stated that it sought to eliminate illiteracy among Nigerian children, as he believes that education is a right, not a privilege.
“We think that no kid should be abandoned.
“The word illiterate must be absolutely eradicated,” he remarked.
Nigeria has the world’s highest percentage of out-of-school children.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, about 10 million Nigerian children are out of school (UNICEF).
This number is rising due to insecurity, particularly the kidnapping of students by terrorists in Northern Nigeria.
Though the North has a larger rate of out-of-school children, the problem is widespread throughout the country.