Good afternoon Nigerians.
I’m just here to remind you that the young boys with soapy waters and foams in their hands that tried to clean your car in traffic this morning are children. Ada, your neighbour’s daughter who hawks pepper from dawn till dusk everyday is just 10 years old. The alabaru that wheeled your goods in the market is a child likewise the group of children that almost got hit while they were trying to sell gala to you. So, Happy Children’s Day!
In case you still think this is a fiction, The National Bureau of Statistics reported in 2017 that about 50% of Nigerian Children aged between 5 and 17 are involved in Child Labor. We can only wonder how much it will be on the increase as The United Nations estimated Nigeria’s population on Worldometers as at May 10, 2019 to be over 200 million people.
Child Labor is one of the prominent challenges in Nigeria as it is eating deep into the system and limiting the chances of the supposed leaders of tomorrow. John F. Kennedy was therefore not wrong when he said that ‘the future promise of any nation can be directly measured by the present prospects of its youths’. For Nigerian youths that have experienced poverty and strife for survival from childhood, there is not so much prospects.
Sadly, child labor has in paved way for many topical issues in our society today, making newspaper and broadcast headlines. For the male child, who is more likely to be exposed to rigorous works that require physical strength, he is prone to all forms of injuries, toxic agents and hazardous conditions and in Nigeria, the male child is the one mainly involved in antisocial vices causing harm and nuisance to the society at large. For the female child who is the more vulnerable one, she is exposed to all forms of diseases, infections, assault, rape and even trafficking for sexual exploitations.
According to Quarterz Africa as at June 2018, Nigeria has the largest extreme poverty and is gradually becoming the World’s Poverty Capital. Poverty is the major cause of child labour as many homes cannot afford education for their children and sadly, we are battling with a government that has failed to provide proper and free education, making education a luxury.
It is quite simple to discuss the solutions to the problem of child labour. However, without taking actions, the cycle will continue. Instead of waiting for the Government to do something, you ,you, I and many others can join hands to gradually tackle this menace and return these children on the streets to their classrooms and help them experience childhood.
HAPPY CHILDREN’S DAY!