Child Labour: 50% of Nigerian Children Affected
According to development stakeholders, no fewer than 50% of Nigerian children are currently being used for child labour; this is absolutely unacceptable. Making this known at a public lecture organised for women leaders from various communities in Awka, the stakeholders described child labour as a situation where children are exploited through work that hinders them from freely enjoying their childhood and prevents them from attending regular school.
“Although exploitation against children is prohibited by legislation worldwide, many children who should have been in school are still subjected to conditions that are alien to their age or aptitude,”
Among the dignitaries at the lecture were the former governor of Anambra State, Dame Virgy Etiaba, the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Ify Obinabo and her counterpart in the Ministry of Information, Mr Paul Nwosu.
The stakeholders identified poverty, polygamy, lack of family planning, broken homes, tradition and wrong mentality as some of the root causes of child labour. Despite governmental interventions and laws prohibiting child labour, children are still being subjected to all sorts of abuse and forced labour.
“Why should Nigeria’s youngest individuals who, for reasons of age, bear the torch to a brighter future be subjected to backbreaking work, when they should be in school and equipped with all the tools they need to shape a peaceful and prosperous future?”
Former governor Etiaba urged the current state governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, to prioritise the welfare of children under his government. Urgent action must be taken to answer the grave questions regarding what makes it possible for forced labour to thrive in parts of Nigeria if we are to pay the enormous debt we owe our children, especially those betrayed by the country’s failures to keep its promises.
Childhood only happens once, and no child deserves to have theirs stolen from them.