PHOTOS: Nigeria’s out-of-school children who are now scavengers, sachet water sellers

By Ademola Akinlabi

In July, Adamu Hussaini, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, acknowledged that the population of out-of-school children in Nigeria was an estimated 10.5 million.

This was in line with the United Nations’ proclamation that half of the world’s 22 million out-of-school children are from Nigeria.

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But the figure is generally thought to be an under-estimation of the crisis, given that more children and parents are embracing informal education due to poverty and unemployment, and given Nigeria’s poor record-keeping reputation.

Some out-of-school children are into petty trading to support their family, while others survive by scavenging through heaps of rubbish.

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This photo story shows some school dropouts who now engage in all sorts of menial jobs.

After completing her primary education, Promise is waiting for her mother to determine the next step. For now she helps her mother fry fish for sale.


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These boys could not continue their education due to lack of funds. To survive, they sell snacks and sachet water along Sango-Abeokuta Expressway.


Due to broken homes, many of these boys dropped out of school and left home to live on the streets. They survive by scavenging through rubbish dumps in search of scraps to sell.


Segun Adigun is eight years old, he never attended school but he is a mechanic apprentice at Jankara, Lagos.


This project, courtesy of the Wole Soyinka Foundation, was mentored by Gbile Osadipe. Ademola Akinlabi is Chairman of the Photojournalists Association of Nigeria (PJAN).



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