Nigeria to prosecute parents of out-of-school children

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Nigeria’s Minister of Education Adamu Adamu (Getty Images)

Nigeria will soon effect a policy to prosecute parents who refuse to enrol their children of school age in school, Minister of Education Adamu Adamu said.

The minister made the announcement while addressing journalists during the 9th edition of the ministerial briefing.

According to the United Nations children’s agency, UNICEF, Nigeria is one of the world’s worst countries for out-of-school children with about 10.5 million of the country’s children aged between 5-14 years not in school. Only 61% of 6-11 year-olds regularly attend school.

Of the children not attending school, UNICEF estimates that about 60% of them live in the north of the country, parts of which have been wracked by Islamist insurgency.

Nigeria hopes that with the policy in place, parents will be more inclined to take their children to school as the repercussions will be dire.

“Unless the issue of parents who refused their children going to school is made a crime, and we start jailing parents, the menace of out of school children will not be resolved,” Adamu said.

However, most parents still complain they lack the money to send their children to school and instead send their children to the markets or onto the streets to hawk items.