Nigeria parents risk jail if children miss school


LAGOS – Nigeria’s oil-rich Bayelsa state is threatening parents who do not make sure their children go to school with jail terms.

The state signed the new law into the books amid concerns children were not attending class despite the fact that it spent 70bn naira ($200m; £140m) on new school buildings and equipment.

"We feel it is important to have this law to protect that investment," state Commissioner of Education Jonathan Obuebite told reporters. "Clearly, the law is to demonstrate our commitment to education in the state.”

Both primary and secondary school education is free.

However, many parents appear to be nonchalant about sending their children to learn.

The state's Union of Teachers say it is a good move, but each case needs to be considered individually.

“Before you arrest a parent, you have to find out what the problem is," union Kalama John Tonipre told the BBC.

"if it is done in a legal and proper manner, it is okay. If it is not just a mere political statement and it is done with good intentions, it is good."

Otonye Fatayi, who lives in Yenagoa, says the law is good – but said people needed to be given time to get used to it.


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