Ekiti State Govt Sued Over Right To Free Education | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Ekiti State Govt Sued Over Right To Free Education

Ayo Fayose, EFCC, Buhari
Posted: May 2, 2016 at 5:30 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

In a fresh suit filed before an Ekiti State High Court, a pupil of Divine Academy in Ekiti State, Amidat Akingbolu, is seeking a determination of the Court on whether the Ekiti State government is under legal obligation to provide free, compulsory and universal basic education for every child of primary and junior secondary age under the unambiguous provisions of the Free Universal Basic Education and Child Rights Law of Ekiti State.  The case has yet to be assigned by the Chief Judge.

The Ekiti State government had provided free primary school education since 1955 when the policy was introduced by the Obafemi Awolowo-led administration. But Governor Ayo Fayose has abolished free education in the State by imposing a fee of N1,000 and N500 for pupils of private schools and public schools, respectively. Ms. Akingbolu is challenging that decision of the government. According to the pupil and her counsel, Kabir Akingbolu, this policy contravenes section 2(1) of the Free Universal Basic Education Act of 2004, and Section 15 of the Child Rights Law of Ekiti State. The Catholic diocese of Ekiti State has also approached the court to cancel the policy.

Mr. Fayose is being accused of enforcing policies that run contrary to the provision of the law. The governor is accused of failing to pay counterpart funding, under the Compulsory Universal Basic Education Act of 2004, to access federal government support to free primary and junior secondary education in the State. He has also been accused of wasting hundreds of millions of naira in State funds on sponsoring political newspaper adverts, radio and television jingles, and renting private jets for political rallies.

The plaintiff, in her affidavit of support, further claims the inability of herself and her siblings, like any other indigent students of the State, to attend schools since the introduction of the obnoxious fee due to the financial burden it imposed on their parents.

Considering the ongoing sealing of private schools not in compliance with the policy, the plaintiff is demanding a perpetual injunction restraining the governor from locking or sealing off any private school for the purpose of collecting fees from students and from further collecting money under any guise from any child of primary and junior secondary school age in any of the schools in the State.