LEDAP hails NASS for making universal basic education enforceable right, justiciable

By Executive Editor, Judiciary.

LEGAL Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), a human rights pressure group, has commended the National Assembly for passing the Bill to alter the Constitution to include the right to free, compulsory and basic education as a fundamental right under the Constitution. But the group regretted the rejection of the reservation of quota for women in political offices by the two Chambers and urged the distinguished Senators and honourable members in the House of Representatives to reconsider their position in this respect.  

The National Assembly on 1st March 2022 successfully passed the Bill for an Act to alter the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to make free, compulsory and basic education a fundamental right for all citizens under chapter IV of the Constitution. On the same day, the National Assembly rejected the Bill for an Act to alter the constitution to provide for special seat for women in legislative houses and other political offices.

The right to free, compulsory and universal basic education is currently contained under Section 15 (1) under chapter II of the 1999 Constitution. This chapter was however made non-justiciable by virtue of section 6(6) (c) of the same Constitution.

In a statement released to the media and signed by the group’s national coordinator, Mr. Chino Obiagwu, SAN, it said the organisation in 2017, LEDAP  in suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/978/2015 obtained a judgment from the Federal High Court which states that by enacting the Universal Basic Education Act (UBE), the National Assembly has made this right to universal basic education an enforceable and justiciable right. We commend the National Assembly for legislating to constitutionalise this judgment.

But it stated that it is quite disheartening to see lawmakers vote against bills directed to increase the participation of women in politics in Nigeria, adding that Nigeria currently has only 4.47% women’s representation in its National Assembly while urging the National Assembly to see the need to ensure that women and their interests are adequately represented in the decision making process in the country.

LEDAP therefore appealed to the 36 state houses of assembly to endorse the Bill on right to education and realise the goal of educating every Nigerian child. “We further urge the National Assembly to urgently reconsider their stance on reservation of quota for women in political offices”, it further stated.