Out-Of-School-Children: The Fear Of Rising Child Labour

Out-Of-School-Children: The Fear Of Rising Child Labour

BY MARIAM SANNI, ABUJA

It is no longer news that many Nigerian children have become breadwinners of their families instead of their parents and guardians being the breadwinners.

In Nigeria, millions of children are sent out by their parents and guardians to do any kind of job or trade in the name of making money.

One of the negative effect and implication of having a large number of out of school children is child’s labour particularly the Northern part of the country.

 A 9-year old Muhammad Idris, in one of the biggest market in Kano. On his head was a bowl of sachet water. Every day, Muhammad, the second son from a family of eleven defies the rain and the scorching sun.

 AljazirahNigeria chatting with Muhammadu but speaks in the Hausa language said that he does not want to go to school even when being asked what about if he sees someone to sponsor his education.

‘’ I am not ready to go to school. With this sachet water am selling at least I can get something to eat and take care of myself. If I go to school who will feed and provide for me’’

 ‘’I have been struggling for myself since when I was five years old. I sleep on the street most of the times. I and my friends do a different kind of job just to take care of ourselves,’’ he narrated.

 Similarly, Hadiza  Aliu from Nassarawa state, who is twelve years was brought to Abuja for a domestic help job, speaking to our reporter.

 Hadiza is one of the victims of circumstance who has never attended any formal education but had been into child labour.

 ‘’I am from a family of six; my mother is into a petty trade. Before coming to Abuja, I sell groundnut and sachet water in the market. I am the first child of my parent. My father has two wives but he does not take responsibilities.

 ‘’I was brought to Abuja buy one of our neighbour, who told my mother that when I work as a domestic help, I will be able to get money and send to her every month to take care of my sibling.

Despite government interventions, the number of out of school children has been on the rise, which has made child labour been the order of the day.

A report by the Federal Government states that Nigeria has 10.5 million out of school children aged 6-14 with about 69 percent of them said to be in northern states.

Also, the latest Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICs) data shows that 11.5 million out of school children are in the northern part of Nigeria.

 According to  UNICEF/ILO 2012 – 2016 Global Estimates, entitled: “Child labour: Results and Trends”, indicate that these ambitious 2025 targets may not be met as the pace of decline in child labour has slowed considerably in the last four years.

 The report shows that the world remains far from achieving the targets as 152 million children are still engaged in child labour, almost half them in its worst forms.

 According to the report, 64 million girls and 88 million boys are in child labour globally, accounting for almost 1 in 10 of all children worldwide.

 The report also shows that 73 million children, in absolute terms, are in hazardous work that directly endangers their health, safety and moral development. Nigeria, among others, it says, must move much faster if it must honour the commitment to ending child labour in all its forms by 2025.

The report further shows that the business-as-usual scenario would leave 121 million children still in child labour in 2025, of which 52 million would be in hazardous work.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) 2017 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) says about 50.8 per cent of Nigerian children, ages between five and 17, are involved in child labour.

Education Experts say poor political will in government is a threat to equitable access to quality education in Nigeria.

Dayo  Ogundimu, Education and development consultant said that poor political will, corruption, poverty amongst others remains a threats to the equitable access to quality education in Nigeria.

Ogundimu, speaking at the 2-day media dialogue titled “promotion of equity in education for children” organized by the child rights information Bureau (CRIB) of the federal ministry of information and culture in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Kano state, stressed that the issue of poor and inequitable access to education remains an issue of urgent national importance.

He said “The universal declaration of human rights stipulates that every child should have access to education. The declaration does not only prescribe equitable access but also quality education”.

“Access to education by millions of Nigeria remains hindered diet lack of political will, poor planning and infrastructure, corruption, irregular payment of teachers’ salaries “,  he added.

Speaking further, Ogundimu said that everyone needs to be involved in ensuring sustainability in the education sector as the consequences of poor and inequitable access to education are gradually unfolding in all aspects of the Nigeria society today.

The Education Specialist Development, UNICEF, Azuka Menkiti speaking on the topic “Gaps in Education in Nigeria,  revealed that within the huge numbers of out of school children , girls are in the majority especially Northern Nigeria.

She noted that the education indicator for northern Nigeria is different from the southern part of the Country.

 According to her, gender is also an important factor in the pattern of education marginalization.

Mrs. Maureen Zubie-Okolo, UNICEF’s Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, in an interview with pressmen in Abuja, said the figure of child’s labour was alarming and worrisome in spite of all legislation.

She also noted that  North West as accounting for 41.9 per cent of children working in hard conditions, followed by South-South 37.9 per cent; South- East 36.1 per cent; North-East 34.1 per cent and South-West 25.4 per cent in that order.

According to her, the major causes of child labour as poverty, rapid urbanization, and breakdown in extended family affiliations, the rate of high school drop-out and lack of enforcement of legal instruments meant to protect children.

She identified one of the most common practices of child labour as the use of children as child domestics.

 “The high level of diverse and tedious jobs that children execute in dangerous circumstances is particularly worrying. “These jobs include being street vendors, beggars, car washers or watchers and shoe shiners. “Others work as apprentice mechanics, hairdressers and bus conductors, while a large number work as domestic servants and farm hands. “Traditionally, children have worked with their families, but today children are forced to work for their own and their family’s survival. “The money earned by child family members has become a significant part of poor families’ income.

“These children who work suffer from fatigue, irregular attendance at school, lack of comprehension and motivation, improper socialization, exposure to risk of sexual abuse, high likelihood of being involved in crime.

“These children who are mostly young girls, should be in school but instead, they are in the market hawking food items because their families need the extra income,” she said.

AljazirahNigeria in an interview with the Executive Director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) Auwal Ibrahim Musa, he lamented on the high numbers of children being forced into child labour.

‘’When I say when we have a government, I mean both at local, state and national levels. We have people who take care of the future of the country and its people.  Despite the fact that forced labour is not allowed in this country, you still see people doing that.

‘’Now the worst aspect of this is that people who are very wicked take children and young people and convert them into modern slaves. They take them to Europe, Asia, America, Africa and all other countries. Even domestically here, you see people who take children as house helps without even helping them to attain even minimum primary school certificate, ‘’ he said.


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