A human rights group, Centre for Human Rights and Social Advancement (CEFSAN) has dragged the Kano State Government to court over its failure to provide free and compulsory education to all qualified citizens of the State
In an Originating Motion dated 21st October 2022 filed before Federal High Court, Kano, CEFSAN is seeking a declaration from the Court that the act and/or omission of the Kano State Government and other Respondents of not providing free and compulsory basic and Junior Secondary School education to all qualified citizens of Kano State is unlawful and void and in gross violation of their fundamental right to free education as aptly protected under Article 17(1) of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap 10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, Section 2(1) of the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act, 2004, Section 15(1) of the Child Rights Act, 2003, Section, 18(3)(a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended), and Item 3(e)(iii)–(v) and Order II of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, 2009.
The group is further seeking an order of the Court directing the Respondents to provide financial and institutional resources for free and compulsory universal basic primary and junior secondary school education in fulfillment of their constitutional obligation.
CEFSAN said it recently conducted a survey which shows that the majority of the public schools in Kano State have remained neglected and many students have dropped out of school due to dilapidated classrooms, lack of qualified teachers, and overcrowded classrooms.
The other respondents in the suit are the Attorney General of the Federation; the Attorney General of Kano State; the Federal Ministry of Education; the Kano State Ministry of Education and the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Kano.
The National Education Data Survey (NEDs) report for 2015 shows that Kano state has the highest number of Out of School Children with 1,306,106. In 2020, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) published a report on the basic education statistics of states in Nigeria. The report said Kano State has 989,234 of 10.2 million out-of-school children in the country, making it the state with the highest number of out-of-school children in the country. The state government annually allocates over 20 percent of its budget to education, but failed contracts and poor infrastructure continue to harm the sector.
The state governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, on the Inauguration of his second term in Office in May 2019 declared a free primary and secondary education for school-age children in the state. In November 2020, the governor signed the bill for free and compulsory basic and secondary education in the state but little has been done to upgrade the schools which are mostly in bad shape.
According to the law, any principal or teacher found collecting any amount either from parents or students would pay N20,000 as a penalty or spend one month in jail. Also, parents, who refuse to send their children to school will be charged, either one-month imprisonment or pay an N20,000 penalty.
However, public schools have remained neglected since the law was passed with many students dropping out of school due to dilapidated classrooms, lack of qualified teachers, and overcrowded classrooms.