Wednesday 24th May, 2017
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Every Nigerian child has right to free, compulsory basic education - Court

Every Nigerian child has right to free, compulsory basic education - Court

Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court in Abuja has declared that the right to free and compulsory basic educa­tion up to Junior Second­ary School as enshrined in the Constitution can now be demanded by every Nigerian child.
Justice Tsoho, in a judg­ment on Wednesday, held that both the federal and state governments were constitutionally required to provide adequate fund­ing for the free education scheme.
The judge said although the right to free education in Section 18(3)(a) of the Constitution was ordinar­ily not enforceable like all other rights provided for in Chapter 2 of the Con­stitution, the Compul­sory, Free Universal Basic Education Act of 2004 enacted by the National Assembly has elevated the right to an enforceable status.
The judgment was on a suit filed by a group, the Legal Defence and Assis­tance Project (LEDAP).
The court held that the failure of any government at the state and federal levels to fund the scheme would constitute a viola­tion of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Federal Ministry of Education and the Attor­ney-General of the Fed­eration (AGF), who were named defendants in the suit, failed to file any document in response to the suit filed in 2015, until February 28, 2017, when the Federal Ministry of Education filed a notice of preliminary objection.
At the proceedings, Justice Tsoho dismissed the preliminary objection before he proceeded to deliver the judgment on the substantive suit.
In a statement issued yesterday, LEDAP’s Exec­utive Director, Adaobi Eg­boka quoted the plaintiff’s lawyer, Chino Obiagwu as describing the judgment as hope for 28 million Ni­gerian children.
The statement quoted Obiagwu as saying, “Hon­ourable Justice Tsoho has today given life and hope to over 28 million Nigeri­an children who are cur­rently out of primary and junior secondary school or who are at risk of being withdrawn from school because of the inability of their parents or guard­ians to pay the tuition fees and school expenses, or who are withdrawn from school so that they can be given out in early marriage or be sent to the streets to hawk or beg for alms.

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