FORTY-THREE per cent of Nigerian children between five and eleven years of age are involved in child labour, according to the Federal Government.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment Kachollom Daju disclosed this on Monday, July 25, during a walk held to commemorate the 2023 World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL).
Daju described child labour as a grave concern, as it denies children of their rights to education, as well as mental and moral development.
The road walk took place in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), starting from the Federal Secretariat up to the headquarters of the National Human Rights Commission.
“These figures reflect the degree of urgency required by the various actors working on child labour to proffer solutions to the reduction and possible elimination of child labour in Nigeria and globally. The WDACL serves as a reminder that the fight against child labour requires sustained efforts and collective action.”
She added that the Federal Government is commitment to contributing to the global fight against child labour in its worst forms.
Stating that the Federal Government is committed to eradicating the menace, Daju noted that domesticating the Child Rights Act in all states across Nigeria is a step towards meeting the goal.
She quoted the 2016 – 2017 MICS Survey, which says 39 per cent of the children involved in child labour are working under hazardous conditions, including quarrying granite, artisanal mining, commercial sexual exploitation, armed conflict and human trafficking.
Several factors are responsible for child labour in the country including poverty, illiteracy and insecurity.
In Nigeria, about 20 million Nigerian children are out of school, according to a report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
In many cases, these children are forced to engage in menial jobs to augment family income, leaving them vulnerable to the risk of abuse.
Other times, they are recruited as child soldiers by terrorists plaguing many states in Northern Nigeria.
A report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 2022 stated that at least 8000 children have been recruited as soldiers by terrorists in Nigeria.
The ICIR reported that many adults who take advantage of such vulnerable children are hardly brought to justice.