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Thursday, September 30, 1999 Published at 17:59 GMT 18:59 UK

World: Africa

New education scheme for Nigeria

President Obasanjo of Nigeria has launched a new intiative to extend national education.

Speaking in the northwestern state of Sokoto, he said it would now be compulsory for children to attend school for nine years.

But he did not announce any new funding for schools.

Correspondents say there has theoretically been free primary education in Nigeria for years, but many children drop out of or never attend school.

Most of the state schools lack desks, chairs, books and even chalk, while the teachers are often paid in arrears.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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