​Court declares free, compulsory basic education an enforceable right

​Court declares free, compulsory basic education an enforceable right
Ade Adesomoju , Abuja

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday declared free and compulsory basic education up to Junior Secondary School as an enforceable right for every Nigerian child .

Delivering judgment in a suit filed by a civil society group , the Legal Defence and Assistance Project, Justice John Tosho declared that federal and state governments had constitutional duties to provide adequate funding for the free education scheme.

The court held that failure of any government at both the state and federal levels to fund the scheme would constitute a breach of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria .

The court noted that ordinarily , the right to free education in section 18 ( 3 )( a ) of the Constitution was not enforceable like all other rights provided for in the Chapter 2 of the Constitution .

But the judge held that the Compulsory , Free Universal Basic Education Act, of 2004 , enacted by the National Assembly had elevated the right to an enforceable status .

LEDAP had joined the Federal Ministry of Education and the Attorney General of the Federation as the two defendants to the suit .

But neither of the two defendants responded to the suit filed since 2015 until Tuesday , when the Federal Ministry of Education filed a notice of preliminary objection.

Tuesday was originally scheduled to deliver judgment , but the court had to adjourn until Wednesday to take a decision on the preliminary objection.

The judge then adjourned till Wednesday for ruling on the preliminary objection and judgment on the substantive suit .

At the resumed hearing on Wednesday , the court dismissed the preliminary objection before it proceeded to deliver its judgment on the substantive suit .

Justice Tsoho held in his judgment on Wednesday that , “By the combined effect of section 18 ( 3 ) (a ) of the 1999 Constitution and section 2 ( 1 ) of the Compulsory , Free Universal Basic Education Act, 2004 , the right to free and compulsory primary education and free junior secondary education for all qualified Nigerian citizens are enforceable rights in Nigeria . ”

Source: The Punch

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